Non Surgical Spine Care

Conditions

At ShimSpine we feel knowledge is power. The more you know about your spinal condition, the more likely you are to make good healthcare decisions. We have explained the conditions, the symptoms and the likely treatments available.

Non Surgical Spine Care

Greater than 98% of spine pain episodes can and should be treated NON-OPERATIVELY.

In any emergent neck or back pain episode, a physician should determine if your pain is caused by a serious condition. A careful neurologic exam will determine if you have any pinched nerves that need immediate surgical attention or if there are any deficits caused by spinal cord compression. These symptoms can include weakness, pain, loss of bowel or bladder function or even paralysis and can be caused by disc herniation, fractures, trauma or stenosis.

Once the physician determines immediate surgery is not necessary a patient can, and should, get better with time and conservative measures.
At Shim Spine, we are strong believers in conservative care. If these treatments are provided by well trained, ethical practitioners, they should be effective and help our patients avoid surgery.

MEDICATIONS:

medicationsIn our Practice, Non-Surgical Spine Care starts with determining the severity of pain. We know each patient has a different pain tolerance. If you have been on chronic narcotic use for a long time, it will be difficult to get any immediate pain relief as you likely no longer respond to normal pain medications. In this instance, we would refer you back to your Pain Management Specialist to manage your medication needs. In the state of Florida, pain management clinics are highly regulated, and there are required drug testing requirements that must be monitored. If you do not have any chronic medication needs, we will assess your medication needs. Depending on your medical history, medications offered include a combination of NSAIDS, Medrol, Tramadol, Muscle Relaxers and mild narcotics. For most patients, the need for the heavier narcotic medications is only for short durations.

EXERCISE:

exerciseFor many of our patients, the time and expense of Physical Therapy may not fit into their budget. In addition, various research studies have shown that stretching and remaining active decreases the episode of back and neck pain. Within our website, we have several pages dedicated to gentle stretching activities for neck and back pain. As we often tell patients, you can do these in bed in the morning. We recommend doing these stretches twice a day.

PHYSICAL THERAPY:physical therapy

For certain patients, the pain and stiffness can be overwhelming. The guidance of a Physical Therapist, as well as some gentle tissue massage, ultrasound and electrical stimulation may be necessary to help patients overcome the pain and the fear associated with stretching and exercise. We usually recommend patients go to therapy, with a goal of transitioning to their own home exercise and stretching program within 4-6 weeks.

LOCAL CORTISONE INJECTIONS:

LOCAL CORTISONE INJECTIONSFor some patients, there can be localized areas of tightness, or muscle tenderness that are amenable to local cortisone injections. Usually, the areas are to the neck, trapezius muscles, and the lower back near the sacroiliac areas. These local cortisone injections have a local effect on the areas of tenderness, then have a systemic effect where the cortisone (which is a form of a steroid), will have a total body anti-inflammation effect. There are potential side effects to these injections, so your Physician should counsel you on these effects.

EPIDURAL STEROID INJECTIONS AND FACET INJECTIONS:

INJECTIONSDepending on the longevity of your complaints, your physician may order diagnostic testing including MRI’s or CT scans of your spine. If the tests reveal disc herniations, or arthritis to certain spine areas, your physician may determine that these findings may be the cause of your pain. Depending on the nature of the findings, and presentation, these deeper injections may be offered to treat compressed nerves or arthritis to the spine.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES:stop smoking

We must face the reality that some of the spine pain are secondary to our genetics, and aging. We cannot choose our parents, and we cannot chose not to age. Still, we can take lifestyle steps to improve our lives. Proper diet, and weight management are essential when dealing with a spine problem. Activity modification, including substitution of certain activities may be helpful. Stay active, but consider a lower impact activity. STOP SMOKING, PERIOD. Psychologic Stressors definitely make any pain worse. Examine your relationships, and your commitments, and remove the removable life stressors.

MEDICAL COMANAGEMENT:MEDICAL COMANAGEMENT

Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, gout, or rheumatoid disease, can exacerbate spine pain. Certain medications for cholesterol, cardiac management, etc. can have Spine Pain side effects. Make sure you manage these medical conditions, and discuss potential muscle pain side effects with your physician.

FIND A SPINE SPECIALIST YOU TRUST:

shim spineWhen anyone is in severe pain, there will always be a concern that some serious condition is being missed. Insecurity of the diagnosis leads to more angst, therefore more pain, and likely much more unnecessary diagnostic testing. There is the well-known black box theory, whereby all patients with severe back pain are put in a black box for three months, and by the end 98% are all better, no matter what you did. That tells you that patients can spend thousands of dollars on “new improved” treatments or surgery, or spend nothing, and there is an excellent chance they will feel better in 3 months, either way.

The most important thing with all these treatments is to trust your physician. This takes time and when you are having pain, it is difficult not to “go for the quick fix”. Some of these treatments (exercise, injections) increase pain before they actually help so you need to trust the person who is over-seeing your care. If the pain does not improve, despite these non-surgical Spine Care treatments, there are other options that can be explored.

Disclosure Statement

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 

The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
Please note all articles, blogs and Q&A’s on this site are general information and are not to be used as medical advice for individuals. No specific diagnosis or treatment should be made based on this information. Only a physician can provide you with advice specific to your situation. Please followup with your physician if you would like to discuss your individual condition.

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