Non-surgical treatments for spine conditions
Epidural spinal injection is a non-surgical treatment option utilized for relieving back pain. Spine degenerative conditions such as herniated disc, spinal stenosis and many others may induce back pain due to the compression of the associated spinal nerves. This pain or numbness may extend to the other parts of the body such as hips, buttocks, and legs. Doctors start with non-surgical methods to treat back pain and epidural spinal injection is one of these preferences. In cases where the patient finds no relief from non-surgical methods then finally surgery is recommended.
The facet joints are the tiny joints situated at the upper and lower part of each vertebra connecting one vertebra to the other. Each of the vertebrae has four facet joints which include a pair that connect to the vertebra above (superior facets) and another pair that connects to the vertebra below (inferior facets). They guide motion and provide stability. Pain may arise in these joints because of an injury to the back, spinal arthritis, or because of increased stress on the backbone. A minimally invasive treatment called facet injection offers symptomatic relief of the back pain caused by inflammation of the facet joints but is not a permanent solution for the condition.
Lumbar spine injections are utilized in the assessment and treatment of low back pain. These injection procedures are valuable in determining whether structures are the source for low back pain. Pain initiated by lumbar facet joints is characteristically experienced in the lower back, hip, buttock, and/or leg.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), also called rhizotomy or neurotomy, is a novel non-surgical technique of treating pain. This technique employs radiofrequency waves to produce heat and the heat produced damages the nerves transmitting pain signals to the brain. This procedure is performed to treat painful facet joints in the spine that usually cause chronic low back pain and neck pain.
Cervical/lumbar traction is a therapy that stretches the spine to relieve pressure on compressed nerves and stretch tight muscles, to treat back and neck pain. It may also be used for realigning the spine in cases of dislocation. Traction may be performed manually or mechanically (with the use of weights and pulleys).
Sacroiliac joints (SI joint) are joints in the lower back region, located where the sacrum and ilium bones conjoin. Even though these joints are small and have limited motion, they have an important role of connecting your spine to the pelvic bone and thus the lower part of your body. They perform important functions by absorbing the injurious shock forces of the upper portion of the body. Any inflammation or irritation in SI joints may cause pain in the lower back, abdomen, groin, buttocks or legs.
The piriformis muscle is present in the buttocks, connecting the sacrum to the outer surface of the hip. This muscle enables us to walk and run. The sciatic nerve is a thick, long nerve passing through or below the piriformis muscle. A spasm of the piriformis muscle can compress the sciatic nerve resulting in severe pain (sciatica). The pain is usually felt over the buttocks but may radiate to the back of the thigh and down the leg as well.
Surgical Treatment for Spine Conditions
MISS is the latest advanced technology available to perform spinal surgeries through small, less than one inch long, incisions. It involves the use of special surgical instruments, devices and advanced imaging techniques to visualize and perform the surgery through such small incisions. MISS is aimed at minimizing damage to the muscles and surrounding structures.
Robotic Assisted Spine Surgery is a minimally invasive spine surgery where the surgeon is assisted by a robotic system (Da Vinci surgical system) to perform the surgery. Robotic systems are becoming increasingly popular in the medical fraternity owing to the unique advantages including precision, safety and many other advantages. The da Vinci® robotic surgical system is one of the popular and widely employed robotic systems in the specialty of medicine and is used to perform various surgical procedures.
Spine tumor is the abnormal growths of uncontrolled tissues or cells in and around the spinal cord. Tumors can either be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Some of the commonly occurring benign spinal tumors are osteoma, osteoblastoma, hemangioma, and osteochondroma. Most commonly occurring malignant spinal tumors are chondrosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and multiple myeloma. Tumors that begin in the spine are called as primary spinal tumors. Tumors that spread to the spine from other parts such as the breast, prostate, lung, and other areas are called secondary spinal tumors.
Spinal fusion is the surgical technique of combining two or more vertebrae. Fusion of the vertebrae involves insertion of secondary bone tissue obtained either through auto graft (tissues from the same patient) or allograft (tissues from another person) to augment the bone healing process.
Spinal decompression is treatment to relieve pressure on one or many “pinched nerves” of the spinal column. It can be achieved either surgically or by non-surgical methods. It is used to treat conditions which cause chronic backache such as herniated disc, disc bulge, sciatica and spinal stenosis.
Spine osteotomy is a surgical procedure in which a section of the spinal bone is cut and removed to allow for correction of spinal alignment. Spine osteotomy is usually needed for correction of severe, rigid and fixed spinal deformity when non-surgical treatments do not relieve symptoms such as numbness, weakness, or pain due to nerve compression or when deformity is getting worse over time. A mild or flexible deformity is usually corrected through positioning and instrumentation.
The Spine or backbone provides stability to the upper part of the body. It helps to hold the body upright. It consists of several irregularly shaped bones, called vertebrae appearing in a straight line. The spine has two gentle curves when looked from the side and appears to be straight when viewed from the front. When these curves are exaggerated, pronounced problems can occur such as back pain, breathing difficulties and fatigue and the condition will be considered as deformity. Spine deformity can be defined as abnormality in the shape, curvature and flexibility of the spine.
Back and leg pain often have causes which either improve on their own or which the surgeon can correct. Sometimes, there is no easily correctable cause of the pain.
Among other things, scar tissue around the nerves or chronic inflammation of the nerves such as arachnoiditis may cause leg and back pain. When the neurosurgeon feels that open surgery to decompress the nerves is unlikely to help the pain, an operation to implant a spinal cord stimulator may be very beneficial for the patient.