minimally invasive spine surgery

Are You a Candidate for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Every year, 460,000 patients undergo spinal fusion surgery. That’s a lot of people! Plus, this statistic doesn’t even cover all the different kinds of spinal surgery.

So, if you’re one of the many thousands of people considering back surgery, we suggest doing your research. You should always investigate the possibility of minimally invasive spine surgery.

In light of this, we thought we’d help you out by detailing the crux of what you need to know about this procedure.

Let’s dive on in.

What’s Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Traditional open spinal surgery requires the surgeon to make at least a five-inch incision. Then, any muscle’s pulled away so the surgeon/(s) can get to the spinal bones. Naturally, this causes damage to any surrounding tissue.

In contrast to this, there are several minimally invasive techniques a surgeon could use.

Rest assured, all these methods have one thing in common. Each technique requires the doctor to use a smaller incision. (In comparison to open spinal surgery).

Hence, far less tissue damage occurs.

Let’s Break This Procedure Down

Here’s a simplified overview of what this procedure entails.

Firstly, the surgeon will numb the area by using some form of anesthesia. Next, the doctor will take a continual x-ray of the spine. This allows them to monitor the spine’s condition both before and during the procedure.

Then, the surgeon will make an incision via a device named an obturator. This tool works by pushing the soft tissue away.

The surgeon can then do whatever spinal operation is necessary via this small incision. For example, removing a broken bone, inserting a medical device, repairing damaged tissue, etc. Once the procedure’s over, the surgeon removes the obturator and closes up the incision.

Evidently, this operation is far less traumatic in comparison to traditional spinal surgery.

Typically, this surgery is appropriate for procedures like lumbar decompression and spinal fusion. Spinal decompression aims to relieve any pressure put on the spinal nerves. The surgeon achieves this by removing either sections of bone or a herniated disk.

Spinal fusion focuses on correcting problems concerning the spinal vertebrae. The surgeon will fuse together any painful vertebrae with the intention of these bones healing to form one singular solid bone.

Why You Should Opt for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

As the title of the procedure suggests, this operation’s far less invasive than traditional open-style spinal surgery.

Therefore you could benefit from any of the following:

  • Less tissue damage (hence not as much bruising, swelling)
  • Not as much blood loss
  • You won’t need as much anesthesia.
  • Quicker recovery time
  • Less scarring

Clearly, this procedure trumps open-style spinal surgery on a lot of levels. So, if you can opt for this method- we recommend doing so.

Are You a Candidate for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

So are you wondering whether you might be a potential candidate for this kind of surgery?

If you’re unsure, then we’ve put together a few questions to help you figure out whether this might be an option for you.

If you find yourself nodding to any of the below questions, minimally invasive spine surgery may well be the solution for you:

  • Do you suffer from any of the following? Spinal stenosis, a bulging or herniated disc, sciatica or any other chronic spinal condition.
  • Do you find it difficult to: sleep, exercise or stand for either long periods of time, or just as you go about your daily life?
  • Even though you’ve tried treatments such as: chiropractic care, physiotherapy, yoga, pilates or pain medication. Are you still in a lot of pain?
  • Have you noticed that even though you’ve had open spine surgery, you’re still in a lot of pain?

If any of those questions resonated with your situation, you may well be a candidate for this procedure!

However, although this operation has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, specific conditions still require traditional open spinal surgery. For example, high-degree scoliosis, tumors, and some infections.

How Long Does It Take to Recover?

Depending on the severity of your surgery, you’ll typically be discharged the same day.

Also, patients tend to get back to their normal lives in between one and six weeks. This may mean you’ll need to seek assistance from a friend or family member during the immediate aftermath of your surgery.

Be prepared to feel mild discomfort until you’ve made a complete recovery.

Hence, why you’ll probably need to take pain relief drugs in addition to attending physiotherapy sessions. This is standard aftercare for this kind of procedure.

What Are the Risks?

As you probably already know, every surgery involves a degree of risk.

However, the risks linked with minimally invasive spine surgery is a great deal less than any open spinal surgery.

However here’s a list of some of the risks associated with this operation:

  • Standard risks of infection (As with any surgery).
  • Unpredicted bleeding
  • Blood clotting
  • Anaesthesia failure
  • Nerve damage

However, you can minimize all of these risks by ensuring you opt for a skilled doctor with an excellent track record.

So, make sure you spend some time conducting a bit of research and find a highly qualified and reputable surgeon. Also, you can reduce some of these risks by listening and fully taking on board all the aftercare instructions given by your doctor.

We always recommend following their advice to the letter.

Did You Find This Blog Post Useful?

If you’ve found yourself asking questions while reading this article, please feel free to reach out and contact us. Once you’ve filled out the contact form, one of our team of professionals will get back to you with more information.

Also, if you enjoyed this article we’re confident you’ll love our other blog posts. Please feel free to check them out!

how to deal with a pinched nerve

How To Deal With a Pinched Nerve

As you get older, it is inevitable that your body will begin to change. Your muscles, joints, and bones may not be as lithe and flexible as they once were.

As you get older, it is also easier to injure yourself. And unlike in your younger days, you may find that it takes longer and longer for your body to heal from those injuries.

One common injury people experience as they get older is a pinched nerve. Nerves exist throughout our entire body. Every once in a while, one of those nerves can become pinched. A pinched nerve is both painful and uncomfortable.

Read on for information on how to deal with a pinched nerve until you can get the medical help you need.

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve is when there is damage to a nerve or a group of nerves. There can be many causes for it, such as when a disc, bone, or muscle places increased pressure on a nerve.

Below are some of the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve:

Pins and Needles

A pinched nerve can lead to tingly sensations that feel like “pins and needles”. These feelings can sometimes lead to a feeling of numbness or a burning sensation and usually radiate from the source of the pinched nerve.

Radiating Pain

One of the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve is pain that radiates from the source. Usually, you will feel a concentrated pain from the source, and then feel the pain start to radiate in other directions from that source.

Muscle Weakness

Muscle weakness is also a common symptom of a pinched nerve. If the pinched nerve is in your neck or shoulders, it may affect your grip. Many people have reported that their arm or hand becomes stiff.

How to Deal With a Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve can be painful and uncomfortable. How to deal with a pinched nerve? There are many things that you can do that will help alleviate your symptoms and also help with preventing it from happening again.


Adjusting your posture can relieve a lot of pain caused by a pinched nerve. Proper posture is crucial for taking stress off of delicate joints. Sitting or standing with incorrect posture for long periods of time may damage the spine and muscles, leading to a pinched nerve.

You need to find the most comfortable position for yourself, whether you are standing or sitting. Using cushions, adjustable chairs, and neck rests when sitting can also be a great idea to allow the nerve to heal.

Ergonomic Workstation

An ergonomic workstation is a workstation that is designed for efficiency and comfort. Things like your chair, the height of your desk, and monitor all contribute to your workstation.

Ergonomic workstations have been gaining popularity rapidly because of various health benefits. For those who spend most of their day in an office, there is a lot of time spent at a workstation.

If you are dealing with pinched nerves, you could try making changes to your workstation. For example, using an ergonomic mouse and keyboard may help reduce pressure in the hands and wrists. Raising your computer monitor to eye level may help reduce neck pain.

Standing workstations have also become popular in the workplace as they can help keep the spine moving and flexible. Mobility and standing throughout the day can be crucial to preventing and treating a pinched nerve.

Sleep and Rest

Sleep and rest are one of the best ways on how to deal with a pinched nerve. Sleep is essential for healing a pinched nerve. The body repairs itself during sleep, so making sure you are getting as much rest as possible will ensure a faster healing process.

If you have the luxury to do so, take a couple days off work so that you can rest properly. Ideally, you should rest until all of your symptoms have gone away.

Overusing a pinched nerve can lead to even more severe nerve damage. If you have a pinched nerve, try to stay away from movements that irritate the nerve. Also, try to sleep in a position that relieves pressure on the pinched nerve.

Massage and Physical Therapy

Getting a massage or seeing a physical therapist may also help reduce physical pain and stress. Applying gentle pressure around the pinched nerve may help relieve tension. Massages can also be very effective in helping tense muscles relax.


Gentle stretching can provide great relief for a pinched nerve. It is important to listen to your body and make sure you are not stretching too deeply, which may make your symptoms worse.

Yoga is a great way to relax and stretch. Stretching out the affected area can help relieve tension and pressure. If you experience any pain or discomfort, you should stop immediately to avoid damaging the nerve any further.

Apply Heat or Ice

Applying heat or ice to the pinched nerve can also be helpful in alleviating any symptoms. Heat relaxes tense muscles and also increases blood flow. Heating pads in various sizes can be found at your local pharmacy or drugstore.

Ice can reduce swelling and inflammation. This can also be very beneficial for a pinched nerve. Many doctors will recommend alternating between heat and ice. The combination of hot and cold increases the circulation of fresh blood to the area, which helps relieve pain and also speeds up the healing process.

Over-the-counter Pain Relievers

If your symptoms are too painful or uncomfortable to go about your daily routine, then you may want to try an over-the-counter pain reliever. There are many anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen or aspirin, that can be found at any local pharmacy. You should always check with your doctor before taking any new medications.


Antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce stress and supply minerals that can help your body recover. Making sure you are eating antioxidant-rich foods can help prevent you from getting a pinched nerve in the future.

When to See a Doctor

While a pinched nerve may go away on its own, it is important that anyone that continues to feel pain after regular treatments or for more than a few days should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Here are a few symptoms that require medical attention as soon as possible:

  • affecting your bowel or bladder
  • inability to grip objects
  • causing a whole limb to be weak or give out

Your doctor may prescribe a stronger anti-inflammatory medication, suggest additional testing, or have you see a physical therapist. Pinched nerves can also be easily treated with a minimally invasive procedure called an endoscopic discectomy.

Ready to Feel Better from a Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve can affect your daily schedule and routine quite a bit. It may seem overwhelming to figure out how to deal with a pinched nerve.

However, there are many things you can do to help alleviate your symptoms and hopefully speed up the healing process. Making sure you are listening to your body and getting the rest you need will ensure that you will be back to your normal self in no time.

Check us out for more information if you have a pinched nerve or back pain.

lumbar facet arthritis

9 Ways Lumbar Facet Arthritis Can Be Treated

As many as 80% of Americans will experience lumbar facet arthritis in their lifetime. For some, it’s a temporary event relieved by simple lifestyle changes or NSAIDs. For others, this low back pain is chronic, nagging and distracting. It interferes with daily life.

Are you suffering from lumbar pain? There are more promising treatment options than you may realize. Your doctor will help you understand which is best for you.

Let’s explore just some of the many options.

What Is Lumbar Facet Arthritis?

Your facet joints reside between the vertebrae (bones) in your back. Like other joints, facets help you move side to side and back to front and around within a normal range of motion.

The wear and tear of daily activities or an injury can cause these joints to deteriorate and become inflamed. Bone spurs can develop, furthering the problem.

This inflammation can become chronic, lasting more than 3 months. For some, it becomes a lifetime of pain without treatment.

This leads to debilitating back pain known as spinal osteoarthritis or lumbar facet arthritis.

Now let’s talk solutions starting with the least invasive and working up toward surgical procedures.

1. Lifestyle Changes

The least invasive — but often the most difficult treatment — requires you to make a conscious decision to change certain habits. These include:

  • Improving your posture
  • Regular low-impact exercise
  • Stretches and/or beginner’s yoga
  • Reducing damaging activities
  • Eating more veggies, nuts, seeds and fish
  • Taking work/driving breaks

Alternating heat and cold packs during an episode can also help.

Making several small but impactful changes can help your body heal itself. And it can improve the effectiveness of other treatments we’ll be discussing.

2. Home Exercise

Your doctor may put you on a home exercise program. You would learn a set of activities. These will help strengthen certain muscles, lubricate joints and reduce inflammation.

Even if you get plenty of exercise from hobbies, sports or work, these targeted activities are very effective in some people.

3. Physical Therapy

If a home exercise program is not alleviating the pain, your doctor may write you an order for physical therapy.

Physical therapists have undergone extensive training. They have tools and techniques at their disposal to further reduce the effects of lumbar facet arthritis.

They will work with a patient, “listening” to the patient’s body and evaluating it. They can then develop a more custom training program. This program will be performed during sessions with the therapist.

4. Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Your doctor may recommend over the counter painkillers called NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These include ibuprofen, commonly known as Advil and naproxen, commonly known as Aleve.

A doctor may also prescribe muscle relaxants if you’re having spasms. Oral steroids are also an option.

As with any medications, long-term usage can have undesired side effects.

Some of the common side effects of NSAIDs include:

  • Stomach upset & ulcer
  • Liver/Kidney problems
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Hearing loss
  • Uncontrolled bleeding

Because of this, your doctor may recommend limiting or alternating the use of various medications over the long-term.

5. Facet Joint Injections

Also called nerve blocks or facet blocks, these are injections of an anesthetic into the nerves that connect to the joint. These nerves send a pain signal to the brain. By blocking this signal, pain is reduced.

A person can then feel more comfortable as they work to strengthen muscles around the spine. Ideally, over time the injections would become less necessary.

6. Injected Steroids

Some doctors will also use injectable steroids. The results are often very short-lived. But in some patients, these can reduce swelling and inflammation. In turn, the pain is greatly reduced.

7. Facet Rhizotomy

If you’ve tried more conservative treatments, your doctor may recommend this surgical procedure. This may better relieve the symptoms of lumbar facet arthritis.

While under anesthetic, a surgeon will carefully and purposefully destroy certain nerves that lead to the facet joint. Once destroyed, nerves do not heal or re-generate.

The pain signals to the brain are, therefore, permanently disrupted.

First, the doctor will use a diagnostic tool to locate and target a nerve. Then a larger, hollow needle is inserted into the back. A slender probe can then be guided through the inside of the needle. A fluoroscope further directs the probe to a precise location.

Once the probe has arrived, it burns the nerve so that it can no longer transmit signals.

8. Radiofrequency Ablation

A temporary but effective short-term treatment is radiofrequency ablation. It involves the passing of a targeted electric current into the nerve that is connected to the facet joint. This pulse disrupts the signals to the brain.

A nerve treated in this way may remain disrupted for anywhere from 6 months to a couple years.

9. Posterior Lumbar Fusion

Lumbar facet arthritis, for the most part, is movement related. Each time to move, you irritate the joint that is already damaged.

As the name suggests, a lumbar fusion involves fusing your vertebrae together so that your back moves less. Less movement means less irritation and pain.

For this procedure, a doctor will graft small pieces of bone around your vertebrae. This bone acts as a permanent brace. Rods and screws are often placed around the graft because it takes time for a bone graft to fuse and heal.

Having your back fused may sound like a procedure that will leave you walking like Frankenstein’s Monster. But keep in mind that you have many vertebrae.

You will have some loss of range of motion after the procedure. How much depends on the level of fusion you receive. But you will retain most of your movement. And some movement may even become easier because the trouble area has been addressed.

Lumbar Facet Arthritis Treatment Options

These are your most common options for treating lumbar facet arthritis. When you see a doctor, they will evaluate your unique situation and may recommend other treatments.

Are you dealing with lumbar pain? Schedule an appointment. Find out what treatment options may be right for you.

spine pain management

8 Treatments for Spine Pain Management

Can you no longer live with your back pain? Spinal pain is severe. When you start feeling back pain, this could be a symptom of something more severe occurring in your spine.

And if you don’t treat the pain, it can result in bad side effects.

For most spinal pain sufferers, finding relief is almost impossible without surgery.

Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate spinal pain and distress. While spinal surgery is always an option, there are modern medicines and treatments to try before undergoing surgery.

Start today and become pain-free. Here are 8 effective treatments for spine pain management.

1. Exercise

Exercise helps us more than just keeping excess weight off.

When you exercise, you’re exerting motion. This helps restore our motion back to normal while increasing strength and flexibility. For your spine, exercise helps disc nutrition and musculoskeletal health.

If you have severe back pain, try different exercises for spine pain management.

These include aerobic exercises (running, cardio machines), swimming, and yoga.

You can also use resistance bands to increase flexibility and strength in your back muscles.

Exercise doesn’t require an expensive gym membership. There are plenty of back exercises and stretches you can do at home.

2. Massage

A massage is rubbing and kneading on your ligaments, joints, and muscles. Certain massage techniques are used primarily for relaxation, but there are massage techniques perfect for spine pain management.

Spinal pain is very complex and requires special techniques to relieve the pain and improve your spine. These techniques require a massage therapist with a specialty in treating back and spinal pain.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a pleasurable experience — these types of massages can be painful because they’re working with damaged muscles and ligaments.

To truly receive the benefits of massage therapy, multiple sessions are often required.

3. Meditation

Are you stressed out? Stress is a leading factor of pain — specifically, back pain.

This helps pain feel worse, but also makes you notice pain more. Meditation is an effective stress management tool. You’ll learn multiple relaxation techniques that improve your back pain.

When you feel pain, your nerve cells communicate with your brain cells. Your brain processes the information given by the nerves, which causes you to feel pain.

But meditation helps soothe these brain patterns so you don’t feel pain as intensely.

In short, your brain is the source of feeling pain. When you relax your brain, you relax your body.

4. Hot and Cold Packs

You probably see hot and cold packs advertised. These products actually have legitimacy, and the secret comes from temperature.

Both heat and cold therapy have pain management benefits, but for different purposes.

Heat is better for reoccurring and constant pain. Warmth relaxes the muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons.

Cold is better for swelling and inflammation. The cold helps narrow blood vessels, which decreases blood flow to the source of pain.

For long-term back problems, apply a heat patch or take regular hot baths. But if you sustain a recent back injury, use an ice pack. You can also wrap up ice cubes, frozen vegetables, or use a cold cloth.

5. Electrotherapy

Have you tried the previous methods with no luck? You may think surgery is your only option.

But before going under the knife, try electrotherapy. Electrotherapy helps stimulate the nerves. When low-voltage electrical currents meet with your nerves, they help reduce back pain.

Electrotherapy also helps improve circulation, repair tissues, strengthen muscles, and repair your bones. This is why electrotherapy patients experience most benefits if they suffer from severe back pain or back and spinal injuries.

There are positives and negatives to electrotherapy. Research and weigh out your options before going through with this method.

6. Pain Medication

If you see a doctor for spine pain management, they will often suggest some sort of pain medication.

They may suggest an over-the-counter pain management medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If your pain is severe or your pain is related to a post-op procedure, they can recommend prescription painkillers.

Specific medications may be prescribed, such as muscle relaxers and prescriptions specific to neuropathic pain. You may also be prescribed antidepressants to handle your brain’s pain processing.

If you’re wary about taking prescription pharmaceuticals, you have other options.

Natural painkillers, such as CBD, also help target pain and inflammation associated with spinal pain.

7. Injections

There are multiple different injections one can use to alleviate back pain.

These are administered by a health professional for spine pain management. Popular options include steroids and anesthesia that’s injected into the muscles surrounding your spine.

These injections may also be used to discover the source of pain. For example, certain injections, such as Epidural, treated nerve damages such as a pinched nerve.

Using these type of injections helps health professionals uncover the root of your pain.

8. Surgery

If all else fails, surgery is always an option. If you qualify for spinal surgery, there are many different procedure options. But there are two common procedures: lumbar decompression and lumbar fusion.

Lumbar decompression relieves spinal pain by targeting your nerves. The surgeon removed a small portion of your bone from the nerve. This relieves any nerve pressure.

You’ll usually receive this treatment if you have a lumbar herniated disc or lumbar spinal stenosis.

You’ll receive lumbar fusion if your pain is in the lower part of your spine. This procedure uses a bone graft to stop any motion occurring at a painful vertebral segment.

Lumbar fusion is recommended for patients with severe diseases, such as lumbar degenerative disc disease.

Time to Seek Spine Pain Management

Spinal pain is always difficult. Sometimes, your back aches as you age.

But other times, spinal pain is an indication of something more serious. When you start experiencing back pain, you need to find ways to repair your back or else your condition will worsen.

Fortunately, there are always ways you can keep your spinal pain under control.

Try these pain relief tips and get your life back to normal.

Do you have spinal pain and think you need surgery? Schedule a consultation.

back and spine specialist

7 Signs It’s Time to See a Doctor For Back Pain

“My back hurts.”

Probably a phrase we have either heard or spoken many times. In fact, back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide.

If you or a loved one are suffering from back pain, you are not alone.

Backs and spines are complicated. It can get confusing when talking about the different muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones.

Then add anatomies such as ruptured discs and sciatic nerve damage and it’s downright confusing.

Is your back pain affecting your everyday life? If so, it may be time to see a back and spine specialist. Here are 7 signs it’s time to schedule an appointment.

Back and Spine Specialist Checklist

There are a million different reasons why your back hurts, from serious accidents to something insignificant as picking up a penny off the sidewalk.

So, how do you know if your back pain is more than just a result of a bad mattress or bad posture?

1. Pain that lasts longer than 4 to 6 weeks.

Two-thirds of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life. It’s common to have minor aches and pain, but if the pain is constant you may need to call your doctor.

Most back pain will get better within 6 weeks with a self-care regiment that includes rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories.

If your pain doesn’t get better or it continues to get worse, it’s an indication that there is something serious going on that could need more advanced treatment.

2. Pain that follows an accident.

If your back pain is due to an accident such as a fall or a car accident, it is best to see a back and spine specialist away.

Even a small accident, such as being rear-ended in a car, can have lifelong effects on your neck and spine.

Even if the pain isn’t terrible, you should be seen by a specialist to make sure it is not a serious injury.

3. Pain is Worse at Night

Are you able to do your daily activities, but have a hard time sleeping?

Most back pain gets better when you rest. If you feel fine during the day, but your pain returns night after night, that could be a sign of something serious such as a sprain or disc degeneration.

If going to bed makes you cringe because of your back pain, or you are woken up from a deep sleep because of sudden pain, call your doctor.

4. Tingling Sensation

Ever have your hand or foot fall asleep? The tingling or numbness from back pain can feel similar. It can happen in any part of the body, but it is usually felt down the legs.

If you feel tingling or numbness, it may be a sign of nerve damage. This is more serious than the normal back aches you may get from bending and lifting.

If you feel tingling, numbness, or any shooting pain, contact a back and spine specialist to prevent any long-term nerve damage.

5. Fever Along With Back Pain.

A fever of 101 degrees or more is a sign of an infection somewhere in the body. If you have a fever accompanying your back pain, tell your doctor.

This could be a sign of some sort of infection in the spine that can come from a weakened immune system.

If there is an infection somewhere along the spine, it can usually be treated with antibiotics prescribed under physicians care.

6. Rapid Weight Loss

Most adults keep a steady weight. So, if you suddenly lose weight rapidly — such as 5 pounds in a week, for a few weeks in a row — contact your doctor.

If you have back pain and are experiencing a sudden loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting, don’t hesitate to see a specialist.

These could be signs of something serious, such as a tumor growing around the spine.

7.Loss of Bowel or Bladder Control

Tell your doctor if you having trouble controlling your bowels or bladder. This can be a sign of a rare but serious condition called cauda equine syndrome.

This condition is caused by a herniated disc or trauma to the spine that causes the nerve roots in the end of the spine to become paralyzed.

Along with the loss of bowel and bladder control, let a back and spine specialist know if you have any feeling loss in your pelvis.

Other Areas of Concern

Other considerations that need to be addressed when deciding to call a specialist:

  • If the back pain is persistent in a child or teenager. Most back pain doesn’t occur until about the age of 35. If your child is complaining of back pain, it’s best to get it checked out.
  • Constant back pain for an individual who has been treated for cancer. If you have had cancer, or are currently being treated for cancer and you get new back pain, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Anyone who may have a weakened bone condition such as osteoporosis or osteopenia. These conditions can cause a weak spine and cause back pain.
  • If you are taking steroids for any reason. Back pain can be a side effect of taking steroids.
  • Any individual who has a weakened immune system. Having a weakened immune system means the risk of infection is higher. If you have HIVs or Heart Disease, you may have a weakened immune system.
  • Any obvious deformity of the spine such as scoliosis. There are certain procedures that can be done by a back and spine specialist.
  • If there is blood in the urine, along with one-sided back pain. This could be a sign of a possible kidney infection.

Finding Relief

Are you finding that you have to give up your favorite activities because of the relentless pain every time you move? Back pain that interrupts your life can be frustrating.

We are here you help you. When talking about back pain and different treatments, it can be scary and intimidating. We will provide the best care and the best course of action for your specific injury.

If you have any of these seven symptoms, stop relying on Google to find answers, and give us a call so we can help you find relief.

best spine surgeon

7 Tips on Finding the Best Spine Surgeon

Are you in search of the best spine surgeon for an upcoming procedure?

Having spinal surgery is a serious medical decision. As you get ready for it, you may be feeling intimidated, overwhelmed, and nervous.

That’s why it’s so important to find an amazing spine surgeon who understands your needs and can help you feel comfortable and informed before the big day.

Read on to learn more about how you can find the best surgeon for your needs, no matter your condition.

1. Be Picky

This is the most important tip to follow when it comes to seeking out the ideal spine surgeon. It can be easy to settle on a lot of other decisions in your life, such as a cell phone carrier, an Internet provider, or even what neighborhood to live in.

When it comes to medical practitioners, particularly those who are caring for your spinal health, stick to your list of requirements. Do in-depth research and don’t compromise on your standards.

Be bold in the questions you ask potential surgeons. Take notes, make comparisons, and build your own understanding of your upcoming surgery.

To ensure you find the best spine surgeon, begin by writing down a list of priorities. You may want a doctor who cares for you and your comfort, one with a lot of experience, or one who has been in the local community for quite some time.

2. Ask Family Members and Friends for Referrals

One of the best places to start when it comes to finding the best spine surgeon is your own personal network. Even if your family members haven’t had any experience with spinal surgery, you may be surprised at whom they know.

Talk to your friends too. Ask if they have any recommendations for spinal practitioners.

A lot of people have experience going to a chiropractor, or at least, a physical therapist. They may have a few names for you.

You may also want to consult local business owners in the medical field. Oftentimes, the best spine surgeon will be anchored in a local community and a part of many locals’ lives.

Build a list of referrals, including ones from your current practitioners, and work from there.

3. Investigate Online Reviews and Testimonials

You may be surprised that we’re recommending this, particularly given the fact that a spine surgeon operates in the medical field. But online reviews and testimonials still apply. Industries of all kinds are encouraging them in order to gather more clients.

Go through your list of referrals. Check for any online reviews or testimonials. While a lot of people may not be forthcoming about sharing medical details online, you’ll at least be able to assess ratings, comments, and more.

Look for surgeons who got the greatest amount of positive testimonials. Pay attention to what reviewers cite when they give a high ranking. Search for doctors who prioritize customer experience in particular.

4. Inspect Certifications and Credentials

At this point, you’ve likely got a few names on your list. Now it’s time to assess your potential surgeon’s certifications and credentials. If this information is not readily available online, ask about it during a consultation.

The best spine surgeon will be board certified or eligible to conduct spinal surgeries. This certificate (or certificates) is often displayed in his office.

Your spinal surgeon should also be part of a prominent spinal organization.

Lastly, ask your surgeon about fellowship training he may have had. This means that he will have had at least one year of focused study on spinal surgery in addition to all of his other requirements for certification.

While it’s not necessary for your surgeon to be fellowship trained, it’s essential if you’re opting for a more complex spine surgery like spinal fusion.

Also, research how much the surgeon focuses on spinal conditions in his practice. You’ll ideally want someone who prioritizes spinal conditions. Over half of his clientele should be spinal patients.

5. Have a Consultation

You may have to have a consultation to ask more about the surgeon’s credentials. But you’ll also want to meet with your potential surgeon to see if your personalities match.

This is a crucial step in finding the best spine surgeon. You want someone who understands your needs and is willing to listen to your concerns throughout the entire process.

Use your consultation to gauge the surgeon’s personality and general response to your questions. If anything doesn’t feel right, it’s time to move on to another candidate.

6. Ask to Talk to Other Patients

This may not be possible with most surgeons simply because prior patients have to give their consent to a physician before he can pass along any information.

But if it is possible, it’s definitely worth talking to the surgeon’s previous patients. This will give you the most specific evidence about your his experience, personality, and more.

7. Gather Knowledge

Most importantly, you’re going to want a surgeon who keeps you informed.

During a consultation or even after you’ve chosen a spinal surgeon, ask as many questions as you can so that you know exactly what to expect.

There should never be a part of your surgery process that is unclear, intimidating, or foggy. Gather knowledge from your surgeon to confirm their expertise and also ensure that your surgery is as painless as possible.

Finding the Best Spine Surgeon

Spinal surgery is a big deal, and it’s essential to find a surgeon who can make you feel comfortable and informed. As you’re searching for a doctor, make use of friends’ and family members’ referrals.

Also, investigate online reviews and testimonials. Make sure you gather all the details on your surgeon’s credentials and expertise.

Book a consultation so you can gauge his surgeon’s personality and fit. Prioritize your own knowledge of the process before choosing.

At Executive Spine Surgery, we pride ourselves on minimally invasive surgery and fantastic patient care. Find out today if you are a candidate for surgery!

Back Pain and Depression

Back Pain and Depression: Is there a Link?

Emotions are an integral part of assessing and treating chronic pain. But most people don’t think about that.

There is a strong link between back pain and depression.

People struggling with chronic back pain are likely to get depressed. Those who are depressed have worse pain and a harder time recovering from that pain.

The funny thing is, most people with back pain don’t even realize they’re depressed. They think the reason they’re feeling so hopeless and irritable is their physical pain.

So let’s take a look at how back pain and depression build off each other and make matters worse.

What Is Depression?

Many people think of depression as just a “mental illness.” Yet, this condition can negatively affect the way you act and cause physical problems.

Depression leaves a person feeling constantly sad or blue.

In most cases, it makes someone lose all interest they had in previous hobbies or activities. People with depression slowly become less able to function normally.

The effects of depression can be debilitating. Sufferers can find themselves stuck with serious, chronic back pain, even if there’s no obvious, physical reason for it.

But these feelings of sadness are more than just feeling down for a while. Symptoms of serious depression will occur every day for at least two weeks, and even longer than that.

There are many different symptoms of depression, such as:

  • A lasting mood of depression, sadness, and hopelessness
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Changes in sleeping pattern
  • Loss of interest in usual hobbies
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

What Is Chronic Pain?

Acute pain happens when you get an injury, such as breaking your wrist, and leaves when that injury has healed. Chronic pain, on the other hand, doesn’t go away even after the injury is gone.

Minor cases of chronic pain will last three to six months. Sometimes, chronic pain can last for years without the right treatment.

This constant pain leaves a person feeling physically and mentally frustrated and exhausted.

The Vicious Merry Go Round

Back pain and depression are linked in a circle of sorts.

A person with chronic back pain is likely to develop some measure of depression, and the depression will actually make the pain worse.

Similarly, a person who is already depressed can develop back pain, and that pain can result in deeper depression.

Back Pain Causes Depression

Chronic pain can be a debilitating illness to live with, which brings on depressive symptoms.

For example, back pain may make it difficult to fall asleep at night. This can make a person irritable and exhausted during the day.

A person with back pain will also be unable to get around how they used to. The pain will make them slow and careful, meaning they’re unable to work. This includes both work outside the house and normal household chores like cleaning and cooking.

This forces them to spend a lot of their time indoors away from other people, which makes them isolated.

On top of not being able to partake in enjoyable activities, a person may also feel added financial stress. This usually happens if they are unable to continue working or care for the family.

This frustration can lead to thoughts of failure.

Pain medication can also keep a person in a kind of dull or dazed mind. Added with the pain, this makes it difficult to remember things and think clearly.

How Does That Equal Depression?

Notice how each of these circumstances result in a symptom of depression. Because a person feels these symptoms every day, along with hopelessness and sadness, they often get depressed.

As the pain and depression grow, the person goes through something called physical and mental deconditioning.

Basically, the person feels less and less control over his own life. This makes him feel controlled by the pain, which results in stronger depression.

Depression Causes Back Pain

People who struggle with depression as a result of back pain have what is known as reactive depression. The depression reacts to the physical pain, which can happen in those who have no previous history of depression.

On the other hand, people who have a history of depression are more likely to experience chronic back pain.

Depression actually makes back pain worse and keeps it from going away. Even if there is a way to fix the problem, people with depression are unable to heal.

Depression and Spine Surgery

Depression also affects spine surgery outcomes.

If a person struggling with back pain and depression undergoes spine surgery, they may continue to display symptoms after the procedure. This extends the healing time and makes it harder for the patient to recover.

One of the best things to do for a person battling back pain and depression is to postpone the spine surgery until their depression goes away. This will provide the best surgical results in the future.

Treating Back Pain and Depression

Unfortunately, the diagnosis of depression in relation to back pain is often missed because doctors are usually looking for something physical. But doctors cannot effectively treat chronic back pain if they do not treat the depression as well.

The two require a specialized treatment approach because they come as a package.

But Remember…

Most people who have reactive depression don’t even realize they are depressed. They focus all their energy on their physical pain, thinking they will get out of their “funk” when the physical pain is gone.

If you’ve been struggling with back pain and haven’t seen any results from treatment, you might suffer from some form of depression.

It may not be major depression, but it could be minor to moderate depression. Next time you’re at the doctor, ask them about your mental health instead of just the pain you feel.

If you need help dealing with chronic back pain and depression, check out some of our treatment plans. We’ll get you fixed up.

How to Relieve Lower Back Pain

10 Tips for Relieving Lower Back Pain

Did you know that lower back pain represents the second leading cause of disability in the United States?

Do you struggle with this frustrating medical issue? If so, discover how to relieve lower back pain with these following tips.

Let’s get into it.

1. Change Your Mattress

You spend a third of your life asleep. You need this experience to be as comfortable as possible!

Recent studies suggest that people with lower back pain sleep better on medium-firm mattresses instead of firm mattresses.

There’s no one-size-fits-all rule for this, but if you find your mattress sagging or you’re having trouble sleeping, it may be time to upgrade your bed.

2. Get a Massage

Want to know how to relieve lower back pain and take care of yourself mentally at the same time?

It’s as simple as scheduling routine back massages. In fact, up to 75% of participants report back pain relief after just three months of routine treatment.

Not only do massages feel incredibly relaxing, but they can also help with posture pain, improved immunity, and better sleep. What more can you want?

3. Take Medication

Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Motrin, Advil, or Aleve can help relieve some of the pain.

It’s always best to consult with your doctor before undergoing a medication regimen if you’re trying to learn how to relieve lower back pain.

4. Ice It

If you’re wondering how to relieve lower back pain, especially after an injury, look no further than your freezer.

Using ice within 24-48 hours after an injury can significantly reduce inflammation. After 48 hours, you can switch to heat.

Use ice for about 20 minutes at a single time to yield the best results. Position yourself in a comfortable position and place the ice bag directly over the injured area.

5. Exercise

It may seem counterintuitive, but if you want to know how to relieve lower back pain in a natural way, you need to get moving.

Our bodies and spines are meant to move, so keep up with your daily activities as often as you can. Do your chores. Walk the dog. Tend the garden.

If you have the energy, aerobic and strength exercises can also help. Just be careful to avoid overdoing it.

6. Mind Your Posture

If you’re slumping around, it’s a lot harder for your back to properly support your weight and frame.

It’s critical to be mindful of your posture, especially when lifting heavy objects or sitting for long periods of time.

When lifting, avoid bending from the waist. Instead, bend and straighten from your knees.

At work, it’s important to also mind your posture. This means using an appropriate, comfortable desk chair that supports your lower back and allows you to keep your feet planted on the floor without hunching or slouching.

7. Stretch Regularly

Do you sit for long periods of time? Watch a lot of TV or spend a lot of time in sedentary positions? Maybe you’ve heard that infamous mantra that sitting is the new smoking.

Whether that’s true or not, research does show that getting up every half hour or so to engage in light stretching or moving around is good for the body.

It’s also good for your spine, back, and legs. Get in the habit of setting the alarm every thirty minutes to stand up and move around. Do some light yoga stretches if it feels good.

Your body (and your back pain) will thank you.

8. Wear the Right Shoes

Your back pain and footwear are undoubtedly connected. That means that poor support for your feet can wreak havoc on your back.

Flip flops, though comfortable to wear, can compound back pain. That’s because they don’t have proper arch support. Over time, people may change the way they walk to adapt to flip-flops. This can lead to foot and back pain.

With that said, flats, while cute, aren’t very optimal for relieving back pain, either. They also provide little to no support.

Finally, high heels, while undoubtedly classy and stylish, can completely throw off the back’s alignment. They can exacerbate strain and stress on the back because they alter your center of gravity.

When women wear high heels, they naturally lean forward. This change in posture forces the body to decrease the forward back curve, which can result in poor spine alignment.

Want to know how to relieve lower back pain with the right shoes? Look for shoes that include the following:

  • Provide extra arch support
  • Provide motion control (like running shoes)
  • Allow for the middle part of the foot to hit the ground
  • Use materials like graphite or plastic

Nothing working? It never hurts to consult with a podiatrist to determine the optimal shoes.

9. Lose Weight

Having a healthy body weight is good for many physical and mental reasons, and your back is just one of them.

Carrying extra pounds can put excess weight on your body. Being overweight can also put extra pressure on your intervertebral disks. This can increase your risk of injury and weaken your overall body.

Do yourself a favor and take care of yourself physically. This means eating a well-rounded, nutritious diet with plenty of veggies, fruits, and protein. It also means getting adequate exercise and sleep.

10. Find the Right Professional

If you’ve tried everything under the sun for relieving your back pain, and nothing seems to be getting better, it’s time to seek medical assistance.

You can start with your primary care physician to discuss your concerns and symptoms. You can also reach out directly to a neurosurgeon or spinal specialist, especially if you’ve had chronic pain and already tried conventional methods.

Be open and honest with your doctor about your feelings and symptoms. Remember, he is there to listen and help you find relief and secure treatment.

Final Thoughts on How to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Living with back pain can feel bothersome and frustrating, but help and treatment are available.

Let the experts at Executive Spine Surgery help you. Check out our minimally invasive, non-surgical pain management procedures today. Let’s get your health back on track.

spinal decompression

Everything You Need to Know About Spinal Decompression Therapy


It serves a purpose.

It’s an internal warning device triggering avoidance reactions. This can prevent further serious injury. It is also a signal that something is wrong with a particular part of your body and that you need to get it checked out.

But when it persists, when pain continues even after the initial cause is fixed, it becomes problematic.

This is called chronic pain. And for many people who suffer chronic back pain, it is not pleasant to live with.

A relatively new set of therapies is advancing in the [ ] of pain associated with conditions involving the spine. It’s called spinal decompression therapy, and it’s revolutionizing how doctors treat back pain.

If you’re suffering from back pain, keep reading. This may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.


Why is Back Pain So Common?

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) says that pain in the lower back is the number one cause of disability worldwide. In fact, the ACA estimates that at any given time, 31 million Americans experience lower back pain.

According to the American Spinal Decompression Association (ASDA), some of the most common causes of back pain include:

  1. Disc herniation
  2. Bulging discs
  3. Back injuries involving muscle, joint, or ligament strains
  4. Severe and prolonged muscle contractions and spasms
  5. Degenerative disc disease
  6. Vertebral misalignment
  7. Displacement or slippage of vertebrae called Spondylolisthesis
  8. Spinal arthritis often referred to as osteoarthritis
  9. Spinal stenosis: nerve pressure due to narrowing of the spinal canal
  10. Complications due to osteoporosis, such as vertebral fractures
  11. Spinal curvatures from inherited conditions such as scoliosis.

Lately, more pain sufferers are turning to spinal decompression therapy for relief. This procedure is performed two ways: surgically and nonsurgically.

Wondering if it’s right for you? Here we break both down into simple terms to help you decide.

Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression

A safe, nonsurgical option using relatively new technology.

Symptoms Treated

The nonsurgical approach to spinal decompression treats neck and low back pain issues. Some of the more common uses include:

  • relieving spinal nerve pressure caused by herniated discs
  • pain relief for persistent pain due to degenerative disc disease
  • treatment for people diagnosed with posterior facet syndrome (wearing of the spinal joints)
  • back, neck, or sciatica pain — pain, weakness, or tingling sensations extending down the legs

Procedures Used

The treatment uses FDA approved equipment and involves gentle manipulation of the spine. A motorized traction table, similar to those used by chiropractors and osteopaths, performs the movements.

A padded harness, attached to the lower part of the table, is strapped to a patient’s hips. The upper portion of the table stays fixed while the lower part pulls the harness, gently stretching the spine.

The decompression device is computer controlled. The doctor programs and guides the device. The machine applies the necessary forces in a precise and gradual series of stretches and decompressions.

A typical session averages 30-45 minutes. The recommended course of therapy for full effect is 20 to 30 sessions over a 4 to 6 week period.

Expected Outcome

As the word decompression implies, this treatment helps release pressure from the disks of the spine. The gel-like cushions are able to retract.

The result is twofold:

  1. Herniated or bulging discs no longer put pressure on spinal cord nerves, which is often a major cause of back pain.
  2. Discs that are no longer compressed can rehydrate, reoxygenate, and pull in nutrient-rich fluids. This strengthens and allows healing of the discs.

Many patients experience relief after just a few sessions. But to achieve the full benefit the entire course of treatment is important to complete.

Researchers agree that more studies and data are needed to evaluate the overall safety and effectiveness of nonsurgical spinal decompression. But the future of this revolutionary therapy is promising.

As with any treatment of this nature, there are certain conditions where the therapy is not recommended. This includes women who are pregnant, patients with fractures or tumors in the spine, people with spinal implants or advanced osteoporosis.

Surgical Spinal Decompression

Depending on the cause of back pain, a surgical procedure may be the only option to relieve spinal pressure. It often becomes necessary when other alternative measures don’t work.

Symptoms Treated

Surgery may help relieve symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the arms, legs or back from spinal cord pressure
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities
  • Sciatica
  • Sacroiliac joint disorders
  • Compressed or pinched nerve roots
  • Bulging or ruptured discs
  • Discogenic back pain due to radial tears in the annulus (tough outer layer of discs)
  • Osteophytes or bone spurs
  • Pain and discomfort associated with degenerative disc disease.

These symptoms develop from a wide variety of causes. These include, but are not limited to, injury, poor posture, degenerative conditions, and aging.

Procedures Used

There are several common surgeries used for spinal decompression. These include:


Involves the removal of a portion of a herniated or ruptured disc to relieve nerve pressure


A section of the bony arch of a vertebra is removed, increasing the spinal canal diameter. This procedure is typically performed on patients with spinal stenosis.


Also called laser spine surgery. This procedure removes bone spurs, disk herniations, or synovial cysts causing pinched nerves.

Osteophyte Removal

Extraction of excess bone growth or bone spurs. Both commonly develop when the spine becomes weakened due to degenerative disease or aging.


A complex operation resulting in the complete removal of damaged discs as well as the bony vertebrae. The removed portions are often replaced with bone grafts, held together with titanium plates and screws.

Expected Outcome

Many of the above surgeries can be performed as minimally invasive procedures. In that case, recovery time is quicker than it is with surgery. Patients are often released the same day.

As with nonsurgical methods, the overall outcome of many of these procedures has shown to be effective for:

  • pain relief
  • increased mobility
  • return to normal function and abilities.

Ready for Relief?

If you’re tired of living with constant pain, it might be time to see if you’re a candidate for spinal decompression therapy.

We’ve created a simple checklist to help you decide. Simply read and answer the questions. If you answer “yes” to any of the statements, we offer a courtesy MRI review to help you decide your next steps.

Freedom from pain may be just a click away.