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    Pain Management Options for the Back and Neck

    Last updated 4 years ago

    If you are suffering from back or neck pain, you want relief right away. This makes pain management a critical component of recovery from whatever condition may be causing your spine discomfort. Be sure to discuss your options for pain management with your neurosurgeon. Learn more about some of the more common pain relief options below:

    Epidural Steroid Injections

    If you are experiencing pain in your lower back or neck, you may be suffering from inflamed joints in your spine, muscle strain, or nerve root irritation. Your neurosurgeon may recommend epidural steroid injections to both decrease inflammation and relieve pain.

    Facet Joint & Medial Branch Blocks

    If you are suffering from pain in your neck and mid or low back, your doctor may attribute symptoms to the facet nerves of specific facet joints. Your doctor may also recommend a medial branch nerve block to deliver steroids and anesthetic medications to the medial nerves initiating those pain signals.

    Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Injections

    Has your surgeon determined that your lower back pain originates from the space that connects your spine to your pelvis? If so, a numbing anesthetic may be injected into your sacroiliac joint to alleviate your symptoms.

    Intrathecal Morphine Pump

    If your back and leg pain is the result of a chronic condition that cannot be addressed at its source, your surgeon may consider implanting an intrathecal morphine pump. This pump delivers morphine directly into the spinal fluid, permitting a much lower dose than if the pain medication were to be taken orally.

    Spinal Cord Stimulators

    A second option to address chronic pain is the implantation of a spinal cord stimulator. This tool sends electrical impulses to the parts of your spinal cord causing your pain and blocks the brain's ability to sense pain in these areas—all without medication.

    If you are experiencing back or neck pain, make an appointment with Houston’s premiere neurosurgeon, Dr. Gary Kraus. Call Kraus Back and Neck Institute at (888) 816-8954 to schedule a consultation today. 

    Diagnosing and Treating Herniated Discs

    Last updated 4 years ago

    The human spine is comprised of bones that are stacked and separated by shock absorbers called discs. Each disc contains a soft, gel-like center surrounded by a firm outer layer. When this outer layer is torn or cracks, the soft gel may protrude to exert pressure upon the spinal cord—a condition neurosurgeons refer to as a herniated disc. Here is how spine specialists diagnose and treat this painful condition:

    Diagnosis

    There are many causes of herniated discs (i.e. trauma, heavy labor, etc.), but some patients may not be aware of the injury until they start to experience back pain. Patients usually report a numb or tingling sensation. A licensed neurosurgeon’s first step is to obtain a patient’s complete medical history and to conduct a physical examination. The diagnosis of a herniated disc must then be confirmed by imaging technology, such as an MRI, or if necessary, by a myelogram followed by a CT scan of the spine. If additional information about nerve functioning is necessary, an EMG or nerve conduction study might be needed.

    Treatment

    The first line of treatment for a herniated disc is a nonsurgical, conservative approach that allows approximately 50% of patients to return to their normal daily activities within four to six weeks. This noninvasive approach may require patients to avoid strenuous activity, including bending, twisting, or lifting. Your neurosurgeon may also recommend physical therapy techniques or a variety of anti-inflammatory medications. For more serious conditions, surgical intervention may be necessary to successfully treat severe pain. Fortunately, the prognosis for a herniated disc in the lumbar or cervical spine is generally very good and most patients respond well to conservative care. Even for patients who require surgery, the end result is no more back pain.

    If you are experiencing back pain that you think could be attributed to a herniated disc, call Houston’s premiere neurosurgeon, Dr. Gary Kraus of Kraus Back and Neck Institute at (888) 816-8954 to schedule a consultation today. Dr. Gary Kraus, is a leading Houston neurosurgeon specializing in spine health, surgery, and non-surgical spine treatments. 

    How Physical Therapy Can Help Back Pain

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Back pain is the most commonly diagnosed musculoskeletal problem in the United States today. Unfortunately, pain alone can be difficult for doctors to treat. As you will learn in this video, a physical therapy plan that focuses on treating the underlying medical issues that cause pain can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life.

    Although diagnoses vary, back pain is most commonly caused by herniated discs. To address a patient’s pain, physical therapists focus on reducing muscle spasms and muscular weakness while improving tendon tightness and posture. When a patient’s movement and flexibility increases, his or her pain decreases.

    If you are considering physical therapy to alleviate your back pain, consult your spine specialist for treatment. Visit the Houston office of Dr. Gary Kraus, MD or call Kraus Back & Neck Institute at (888) 816-8954 to learn more about your options for non-surgical pain relief.

     

    Finding Relief from Back Pain: Resources for Further Reading

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Even though it is common, back pain can be debilitating. If you experience back or neck pain, schedule an appointment with your spine specialist as soon as possible for an evaluation, diagnosis and treatment options. Seeking medical attention early on can prevent a condition from worsening and help you find relief sooner. To learn more about the spine and how to keep it healthy, read through the resources below and contact Kraus Back and Neck Institute today.

    • The literal backbone of your body, your spine is the source of movement. This guide to spine anatomy and function reviews the many parts that make up the spine and how they work together to keep you mobile.
    • You’ve heard about the dangers of obesity to your heart health, but did you know that being overweight can also affect your spine? Learn more about the relationship between back pain and obesity in this WebMD article.
    • What is fibromyalgia? The disorder and its symptoms of widespread pain in the body can be hard to understand for patients and doctors alike. Learn more about fibromyalgia, its symptoms and risk factors from the Mayo Clinic.

    To learn more about maintaining a healthy spine, make an appointment with Kraus Back and Neck Institute today. The founder of KBNI, Dr. Gary Kraus is a leading Houston neurosurgeon specializing in spine health, spine surgery, and non-surgical spine treatments. Please visit us online or call us today at (888) 816-8954 to schedule a consultation.

    What Is Fibromyalgia?

    Last updated 4 years ago

    To many, fibromyalgia can seem like a mysterious condition—doctors do not yet know its causes, and symptoms can be difficult to explain to those who do not have it. Characterized by soft tissue tenderness and musculoskeletal pain throughout the body, the disorder can end up affecting every aspect of a patient’s life, physical, emotional and mental.

    In the video below, learn more about fibromyalgia and how it can impact your life and the performance of everyday activities. If you recognize these symptoms, make an appointment with your spine specialist. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, your physician can help you manage the disorder and ease your symptoms with the help of medications, lifestyle changes and other stress-relieving activities.

    For an evaluation of and treatment options for your fibromyalgia, make an appointment with Kraus Back and Neck Institute today. The founder of KBNI, Dr. Gary Kraus is a leading Houston neurosurgeon specializing in spine health, spine surgery, and non-surgical spine treatments. Please visit us online or call us today at (888) 816-8954 to schedule a consultation.

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