Brain and Spine Care
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Experiencing back pain?
You are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, lower-back pain is one of the most common complaints among Americans, second to headaches. In addition, back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old.
“Most adults suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Fortunately, most causes of back pain are self-limiting and will not require surgery,” says Dr. Richard Gorman, a neurosurgeon with Kettering Health.
When back pain can’t be self-treated
Common causes of back pain include the normal wear and tear of aging, poor posture, improper lifting mechanics, stressful living, loss of strength and flexibility, and excessive weight. Thankfully, conservative treatments like rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, and ice or heat are highly effective in treating back pain caused by these factors.
“If the pain persists for more than three months, then it may be time to seek medical attention,” advised Dr. Gorman.
Other red flags that signal need for urgent medical evaluation is trauma; history of cancer; bowel or bladder problems; numbness and tingling in the extremities; weakness; and gait imbalance. Some conditions that most often need surgery are spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis.
Major advances in spine surgery
Historically, spine surgery was perceived as the one thing that no one wanted to have. For older patients, spine surgery often wasn’t even an option.
“Patients often remained fairly immobilized for several weeks to months during the recovery,” said Dr. Gorman. “They would become frustrated with the slow recovery or apparent lack of improvement they experienced after surgery.”
However, thanks to recent advances in spinal surgery, those suffering from back pain have the option for minimally invasive spine surgery without having to travel outside of the Dayton area to get it.
Minimally invasive spine surgery
“Minimally invasive spine surgery has dramatically changed what spine surgery can offer patients with back problems,” said Dr. Gorman. “It depends on the patient. But many patients now can be treated through a less-than-one-inch incision and without a hospital stay.
Minimally invasive surgery also gives older and sicker patients more options since it less stressful on the body.
Among the many minimally invasive procedures now available to Kettering Health patients are:
- Lumbar laminectomies and microdiscectomies, which can be done through a small incision as an outpatient procedure
- Oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF), a new technique for lumbar spine fusion aimed at a faster return to work and normal function
- Cervical disc replacement/arthroplasty, an alternative to cervical fusion, maintains normal motion and preserves adjacent discs
The many advantages of minimally invasive surgical procedures include:
- Less downtime
- Shorter hospital stays
- Less bleeding
- Less stress on the body
- Less infection
How to know if you’re a candidate
“If patients can tolerate anesthesia safely, then minimally invasive spine surgery may be an option,” said Dr. Gorman.
“If someone is unsure, I recommend scheduling a consultation with a spine surgeon to see if they may be a good candidate. Even then, we outline non-surgical options (when appropriate) and move forward with surgery only if absolutely necessary.”
Learn more about minimally invasive spinal procedures offered at Kettering Health.Brain and Spin Care
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