Degenerative Disk Disease Surgery

Degenerative Disk Disease SurgeryMost of us have suffered from lower back pain at one time or another. Lower back pain is often caused by degenerative disk disease. Degenerative disk disease usually affects adults age 30 to 60, and it occurs naturally as part of the aging process.

What Is Degenerative Disk Disease?

Degenerative disk disease is a condition wherein a vertebral disk is damaged. The damaged disk can cause chronic lower back pain and/or leg pain (sciatica) in the lumbar spine. A damaged vertebral disk can also cause chronic neck and/or arm pain in the cervical spine. Along with pain, a damaged or degenerated disk can cause numbness and weakness. Pain caused by a damaged disk can become chronic and last for years. The pain could also be periodic, coming and going but never really resolving. There are also people with degenerative disk disease who experience no pain whatsoever. For those who do experience pain, that pain can range from very mild to extremely severe.

What Causes Degenerative Disk Disease?

A disk can be damaged by an injury that involves twisting of the lower back. More often, it occurs naturally as part of the aging process. Given enough time, everyone experiences disk degeneration to one degree or another. Over time, disks wear out. As a result of injury or degeneration, the inner and/or outer areas of a disk tear. The tearing exposes nerves in the spine and irritates them, sometimes causing pain. Injured disks can herniate and pinch spinal nerves, thus causing the sharp pain in the legs known as sciatica. A degenerated disk can also cause instability in the surrounding vertebrae because it can no longer hold that vertebral segment together properly.

How Is Degenerative Disk Disease Treated?

Disks have no blood supply and few nerve endings. The lack of a blood supply prevents a disk from healing itself. In spite of the name, this condition is not necessarily degenerative, and it is not even technically a disease. Rather, the name applies to the progressive deterioration of the disk itself. Pain levels generally do not get worse over time. In fact, the pain can actually decrease over time. Dr. Spivak will initially treat pain associated with degenerative disk disease by prescribing physical therapy and/or chiropractic treatments. Other noninvasive treatments he may suggest include weight loss for patients who are overweight, stem cell therapy, and/or injections of steroids and local anesthetics.

Surgical Treatments For Degenerative Disk Disease

When the noninvasive treatments mentioned above are ineffective and pain is severe, Dr. Spivak may want to explore surgical options with you. A number of innovative surgical treatments for degenerative disk disease are available today. Two surgical interventions used to treat degenerative disk disease are endoscopic laser discectomy and endoscopic fusion. Dr. Spivak will discuss all surgical options with you and help you to decide whether a surgical intervention for degenerative disk disease would be right for you.

As a board-certified neurosurgeon and the president of Executive Spine Surgery in Hackettstown, NJ, Dr. Carl Spivak is internationally recognized for his commitment to minimally invasive spinal surgery and state-of-the-art endoscopic spinal techniques.

Spinal Nerve Block Injections

Spinal pain is often caused by an inflammatory reaction in the body that produces swelling and damage to the spine, joints, disks, bones or ligaments. This reaction can be triggered by conditions such as a herniated disc, sciatica or spinal stenosis. Sciatica is a type of spinal pain where a ruptured disk pinches the sciatic nerve and triggers an inflammatory reaction that causes leg pain. The initial treatment for spinal pain is to reduce inflammation with steroid, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications taken orally. Although these medicines can be very helpful under certain conditions, their diffuse and widespread effects in the body when taken by mouth are not concentrated enough to effectively relieve spinal pain.

What Are Spinal Nerve Block Injections?

At Executive Spine Surgery in Hackettstown, NJ, Dr. Carl Spivak treats spine pain with nerve block injections. These injections can effectively reduce spine pain without surgery. Spinal pain injections are performed with the help of x-ray guidance so that Dr. Spivak can deliver precise doses of steroidal, anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications in high concentrations directly AROUND (REMOVE into) the nerves or INTO trigger points where the inflammation exists.

Injecting these medications into an inflamed nerve in a highly concentrated form can reduce inflammation and swelling, relieve pain and flush irritants from the body. The relief that patients typically experience as a result of spinal nerve block injections in Hackettstown can last for one year or more. In the meantime, the body may be able to heal the nerve damage enough to eliminate discomfort.

What’s Involved In Trigger Point Injection Procedures In Hackettstown?

Trigger point injections are a noninvasive treatment for spinal discomfort. Injections are performed on an outpatient basis, so the risks involved in spine surgery are avoided. The treatment itself takes only 20 to 30 minutes. After the nerve block injection procedure is complete, the patient rests for 45 minutes while under observation.

How Long Do The Results Of Nerve Block Injections Last?

Just one trigger point injection can reduce or eliminate pain, swelling and inflammation so effectively that spine surgery is no longer necessary. Many patients require three injections to obtain optimal relief, whereas other patients experience great relief after only one or two treatments. Patients can receive up to three spinal nerve block injections two or three weeks apart over a six-month period. Just one spinal injection can deliver significant relief within a day or two after treatment. Spinal nerve block injections are even more effective when paired with physical therapy. Patients who combine these two treatments often go on to enjoy an active and pain-free life.

Are There Any Side Effects Associated With Spinal Pain Injections?

Many patients experience a mild tenderness at the injection site after a spinal pain injection. Dr. Spivak will consult with you about any possible side effects prior to giving you an injection.

Why Choose Executive Spine Surgery?

Dr. Carl Spivak takes a conservative approach to spine surgery and prefers minimally invasive treatments whenever possible. As the President of Executive Spine Surgery and a board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Spivak is well known for his innovative use of state-of-the-art endoscopic spinal techniques and other cutting-edge technologies.