I am having back pain and trouble urinating.

Trouble urinating may be stress incontinence (urinary dribbling or wetting when you cough), urinary urgency (sudden urge to go to the bathroom and may wet yourself if you can not get there in time, this is commonly associated with pain), urinary incontinence (no or little control over urinating resulting in peeing your pants) and urinary retention (unable to start to urinate, bladder fills with urine and may cause abdominal discomfort).

Back pain and problems urinating can be a surgical emergency called cauda equina syndrome.  This may be associated is numbness in the perineum (butt and groin), leg weakness, numbness or pain (such as Sciatica), urinary retention (unable to pee), urinary incontinence ( unable to control your peeing causing you to wet your pants) and bowel incontinence (uncontrolled bowel movements).  If you develop these symptoms you should immediately go to the emergency room.    You may have herniated disk (or something else) pinching your nerves that innervate your bladder and may need emergency surgery to remove it. Good Luck!

What happens if scoliosis goes untreated?

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. This usually involves the thoracic and lumbar spine.  When the spine is viewed from behind the patient the spine may look “C” or “S” shaped.  It can also cause a hunch back called kyphosis.

Treatment of scoliosis depends on the age of the patient, the severity of the scoliosis and types of problems it is causing. Children are watched annually for scoliosis during their growth spurt. If the scoliosis is treated early with a brace sometimes future surgery can be prevented. If scoliosis becomes severe it can cause pain, numbness and weakness and affect the posture, walking, lungs, heart and gut function. People with significant scoliosis should be closely monitored by spine surgeon. Good Luck!

How can I ease upper back pain?

There are many causes of upper back pain.  The pain may originate from your bones, disks, muscles, joints, nerves and spinal cord, neck, shoulders, lungs and heart.  Most causes of upper back pain I see is from spine fractures, pulled muscles or arthritis.  Initially you may be treated with rest, anti-inflammatory medicine, muscle relaxant and  sometimes pain medicine. If the pain is severe your doctor may take you out of work.  If the pain does not improve or you have neurological problems (weakness, numbness, etc) then you would need a full workup which may include X-rays, MRI and sometimes blood tests.   Further treatment would depends on what is found.

Click Read More for information on treatment options.  Please contact Executive Spine Surgery for more information.  Good Luck!

What are the risks of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty?

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are common, safe and helpful procedures, but like any other procedure or medication there are many risks.  Some of the risks are related to fracture, person’s health, anesthesia and procedure.  Fortunately the risk of these procedures are generally low, but risks include death, stroke, heart attack, pneumonia, blood clots in lungs and legs, fat embolus, plastic spreading to the lungs, lung collapse, spinal cord or nerve injury causing pain, numbness, weakness, bowel and bladder incontinence or paralysis, infection, bleeding, but not limited to these complications. People with one fracture are at increased risk of future fractures.

For more information on vertebropasty and kyphoplasty please click on Kyphoplasty.  Good Luck!

I have a large disc protrusion compressing my L5 nerve and causing spinal stenosis. Do I need surgery?

Disc protrusion is when the disk slips out of it’s normal position in between the spinal vertebrae and extends into the spinal canal.   Other commonly used names are bulging disk, slipped disk or herniated disk, etc.  Spinal stenosis is tightness or loss of volume of the spinal canal.

Right L4-5 disk protrusion initially is treated with conservative treatment which may include rest, physical therapy, medications and steroid injections.  Surgery is considered when a patient fails conservative treatment and/or has severe pain, numbness, weakness or neurological dysfunction (such as urinary incontinence).

Today most disk surgery can be done by using extremely minimally invasive surgical techniques called endoscopic spine surgery or laser spine surgery.  This revolutionary same day surgery is done through a tiny tube the size of a pen which is placed into the spine under X-ray guidance.  The disk is found and visualized through the high definition video camera found inside the spine endoscope.   The disk is then removed with tiny little instruments taking pressure off of the nerve.  This usual provides quick relief of pain and suffering.  Often patients feel much better right after surgery.

For more information on sciatica and lumbar disk herniations click on the following link Sciatica.  Good Luck!

What is the difference between vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty?

Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty are very similar procedures.  Kyphoplasty is a slight variation of vertebroplasty.

In both vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty a large needle is placed into the broken vertebrae under x-ray guidance.  Next plastic is injected into the fractured vertebrae in vertebroplasty, but in Kyphoplasty a ballon is blown up.  The balloon may push the bone back into its original position (that is reduce the fracture).  The balloon is then removed and plastic is injected into the cavity.   Overall they are very similar procedures and have similar outcomes.  Please click on Kyphoplasty for more information.  Good Luck!


I pulled a back muscle and collapsed 2 discs. Is this the cause of Scheuemann’s Disease?

No this probably did not cause your Scheuremann’s disease.

Scheuremann’s disease is wedge shaped spinal vertebrae.  This is from uneven vertebrae growth during adolescence.  The back of the vertebral body grows faster then the front forming a wedge or triangle shape to the vertebrae.  When multiple vertebrae are affected these triangles cause an increase in the curvature of the back resulting in a hunchback or kyphosis. The cause of Scheuremann’s disease is not known. It does not progress after you stop growing.  It can cause severe back pain, rarely it can affect your internal organs and spinal cord.  Trauma or on-the-job injuries do not cause Schuermann’s disease.

Severe work injuries can cause multiple vertebral body compression fractures that maybe wrongly diagnosed as Schuermann’s disease. Work injury can also damage other spine structures like muscles, ligaments and joints causing pain unrelated to the compressed vertebrae (Schuermann’s disease). Independent on the the presence or absence of Schuermann’s disease the most important question is did you have back pain prior to the injury. If you did not then something was injured during the injury that is now causing your pain. For more information on Scheuremann’s disease or on endoscopic spine surgery please contact Executive Spine Surgery.  Good luck!