Tips For Avoiding Back Injuries at A Desk Job

main stretching backSitting at a desk all day while on the job may not seem like a risk for acquiring a back injury. The truth is that it’s not just those who work at physically demanding jobs who end up with bulging discs and spinal stenosis. Even typing on a computer for hours by its sedentary nature can put you at risk for back troubles. Here are a few tips for avoiding back pain if you sit most of the day at a desk.

Learn Proper Sitting Posture: If your back, ears, shoulders, and hips aren’t properly aligned, you may experience back strain. Sit with these body parts evenly lined up and be sure you keep your feet flat on the floor and not crossed over one another. You can either sit back in your chair this way or move forward to the chair’s edge; as long as you stay aligned and don’t slouch.

Move Around: It’s important not to just stay in your chair for hours at a time. Get up every 30 minutes. Get a cup of coffee, visit the restroom, or just walk in a circle around the office. The important thing is to change it up every so often and prevent slumping in your chair.

Look Over Your Workspace: Make sure your desk chair is at the right height so you can use your keyboard without hunching over your shoulders. The computer monitor should be at eye level and right in front of you so you don’t have to turn your neck. The same is true of the distance of the monitor from your body. If it’s too far away, you may be stretching your neck to see it, which is not good. Move everything you use regularly on your desk to within comfortable reaching distance so you can maintain your posture. You’ll want to adjust your chair, the computer monitor, the telephone, and whatever else you need nearby to do your job.

Have The Correct Equipment: If you know your back isn’t feeling comfortable in the chair you have, you may need more back support. Perhaps your feet aren’t properly aligned and you need a small footstool. If your monitor is too low for your eye level, it may need to be raised. Whatever your situation is, make you get the right equipment to lessen your risk for back injuries. Speak with someone in your human resources department to see if the items you need are already available. If not, ask for help in obtaining what you need to do your job well and cut down on doctor and insurance costs in the long run.

Suffering from back and neck pain can occur, even at a desk job. If you are suffering from chronic pain, call Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest today to schedule your consultation. Dr. Kamson will be able to accurately diagnose your issues and provide you with alternative solutions that are minimally invasive in nature. Contact the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, at 206-496-0630 for more information.

Are Epidural Steroid Injections Right For You?

If you suffer from lumbar spinal stenosis, you are probably familiar with the pain that radiates down your legs. This pain can make it difficult to walk and even harder to just stand still. Stenosis is what happens when an enlarged facet joint or a bone spur compresses a spinal nerve or nerves. The pressure on the nerve sends pain signals to the leg or the part of your body that this particular nerve operates.
man with lower back pain
Some patients with spinal stenosis who visit us at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, are able to deal with their pain using conservative treatments such as exercise, behavior modifications, massage, and other techniques. Other people, though, end up requiring a stronger type of intervention so they can get on with their lives without constant pain interfering.

Lumbar spinal stenosis causes pain on the lower portion of the back. It can also cause leg cramps and pain when standing for long periods of time. Certain bending movements or sitting down may decrease your pain, but not for long.

Epidural Steroid Injections

Although these types of injections are minimally invasive, they are considered to be a conservative therapy for managing stenosis pain. A physician may inject a corticosteroid, which is an anti-inflammatory medication, into your disc area along with a local anesthetic. This combination injection can reduce pain and inflammation at the area where the nerves are being compressed. This solution may just be short-term for some patients, perhaps just a few weeks in time.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2014 found no significant difference in self-reported pain relief between patients getting this injection combining steroids with pain relievers and others who were just injected with a pain medication alone. An epidural injection can be used to help diagnose issues in addition to relieving pain in the short-term. A physician like Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest, will administer the epidural steroid injection guided by fluoroscopy based on your MRI imaging. If the patient’s pain is relieved, even if for less than a month, the prognosis may be good if minimally invasive surgery is chosen to relieve the nerve pressure.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with spinal stenosis and lumbar pain, you may wish to find out whether an epidural injection is right for you, or if a minimally invasive surgical procedure, such as an endoscopically guided spinal decompression, is a good option. Contact Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute today to make an appointment for your consultation by calling one of our patient advocates at (208) 496-0630.

Treating Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, patchy, raised areas of skin inflammation accompanied by scaling. About a quarter of people who suffer from psoriasis also develop associated joint inflammation, leading to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Phil-Mickelson-PsAGolf champion Phil Mickelson suffers from PsA. He discovered his ailment while he was preparing for an important tournament and his joints started to ache as though he had seriously injured his wrist, finger, and ankle. At 39 years old, Mickelson assumed it was part and parcel of having been an athlete, enduring many years of training and playing. When the pain got so bad that he couldn’t walk, he made an appointment to see a rheumatologist at the Mayo Clinic. That is when he discovered he had PsA. Although Psoriatic Arthritis cannot be cured, there are effective treatments to ease symptoms. Phil Mickelson was prescribed a drug called Enbrel (Etanercept) to relieve his pain from this chronic disease.

Although a strong drug like Enbrel may work for Mickelson, whose symptoms came upon him very suddenly and fiercely, this is not always the first line of treatment for most patients with PsA. There are many potentially serious side effects and risks associated with this drug; one of these decreases the body’s immune response to infection. Though suffering the painful symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis is not easy to bear, there are alternative options for many people looking to get back to their golf game or simply to move around the way they used to.

For instance, different types of regenerative medicine offered by Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest, can help lessen arthritic joint pain. Injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a way to attract the stem cells needed to form new tissue and initiate healing. Regenerative treatments such as PRP use the cells extracted from your own blood. Your blood sample is centrifuged to concentrate the platelets, and it is then injected into the area in need of help. New, healthy tissue can take hold within a few weeks, when improvement in movement can be noticed.

Dr. Kamson may suggest another kind of regenerative therapy to incite healing and lessen the pain associated with PsA. Stem cell therapy uses cells that are taken directly from your own bone marrow or fat. The stem cells are then injected into the sites that need assistance. Dr. Sol Kamson presented a lecture concerning stem cell therapies for chronic pain at the 2016 World Stem Cell Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida. He discussed the different types of regenerative therapies offered at the Spine Institute Northwest, including PRP and MariStem A-Cell injections.

If you suffer from Psoriatic Arthritis and would like to get your life back on track, call the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, to consult with Dr. Kamson today.

How a Microdisectomy Can Get You Up to Speed Again

golf back painAfter professional golfer Tiger Woods underwent a minimally invasive microdisectomy in 2014 for a pinched nerve near his spinal cord, he was back on the golf course a few months later to play in the Quicken Loans National in Bethesda, Maryland.

Tiger Woods had been in constant agony prior to undergoing this surgery, one that is often performed by Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest. Woods could no longer perform normal, everyday activities, leading him to get advice from other athletes, such as Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys, who had successfully undergone an endoscopically-assisted procedure for a herniated disc.

If you are suffering from numbness, weakness, and/or pain in your back or leg, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive microdisectomy. A pinched nerve is also commonly referred to as a herniated disc. When you have a herniated disc, as Tiger Woods did, your pain may begin in the spine and then radiate down one or both of your legs. You can also experience a decrease of feeling in your leg, have tingling sensations, or feel weakness in your muscles. After getting up from a prone position, your pain may become worsened.

Dr. Kamson may advise patients who are experiencing this type of pain from a herniated disc to undergo a minimally invasive procedure called a microdisectomy. This procedure is often performed when your pain is stemming from nerve damage in the lumbar spine. The microdisectomy takes the pressure off the nerves in this area to relieve your pain.

During a microdisectomy, Dr. Sol Kamson will use an endoscope guided by a needle and Laser and Radiofrequency (RF) technology to repair the bulging disc from inside your body with just a small incision necessary to insert the scope. Tiny amounts of soft tissue and bone that are compressing the nerve and causing pain are extracted during the procedure. The entire surgery takes about 90 minutes for each vertebrae level being worked on. Although most patients opt for local anesthesia for this minimally invasive procedure, general anesthesia is needed for cervical decompression surgery.

For active patients who participate in sports regularly and are dealing with spinal and other sports-related issues, the Sports Medicine Clinic at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, also offers patients innovative treatment options. Contact Dr. Kamson today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how a microdisectomy can get you back in the game.

The Facts about Degenerative Disc Disease

senior coupleAs your body ages, you may begin to experience problems with your back that can be traced to the beginnings of degenerative disc disease. With time and normal daily use, the inter-vertebral discs in your spine start to deteriorate. This deterioration can end up causing you pain, weakness, and numbness.

Although it’s called degenerative disc disease, this condition is not actually a disease in the way we normally would think. The changes that take place in your spinal discs as you age are considered normal wear and tear. Your inter-vertebral discs work to absorb shock for your spine, letting you more easily bend, flex, and twist without pain. These discs contain fluid in their centers that help with this shock absorption, keeping stress and bumps from harming your spine. As you get older, however, some of that helpful fluid that provides cushioning is lost.

The annulus is the outer layer of each of your spinal discs. It’s composed of a strong ligament in order to hold your vertebrae in place. Your annulus can be damaged if too much pressure or an injury occurs affecting your spine. The loss of water within your discs also puts stress on the annulus, causing some vertebrae to shift closer to one another. This compression of your discs causes facet joints to move.

The resulting disc pain can be felt right in the area where your damaged disc exists. Sometimes, however, you’ll feel pain in other parts of your body due to the nerves that extend from your spine to your arm, leg, shoulder, or other areas. Degenerative disc disease can cause extreme pain that may lead to different levels of disability due to people avoiding making movements that they know will cause them pain. With intervention from an experienced spinal physician such as Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, of the Spine Institute Northwest, you can discover ways to overcome your pain with a variety of treatments, procedures, or therapies.

Dr. Sol Kamson helps patients who are experiencing painful symptoms of degenerative disc disease by ensuring they receive an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate pain management plan. Dr. Kamson has years of experience diagnosing and treating cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine conditions. Some of the ways in which he aids patients suffering from degenerative disc disease may include regenerative medicine using stem cell therapy and/or a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Contact Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, today for your consultation concerning degenerative disc disease.

Find Relief for Chronic Pain with a Spinal Pain Pump

Oral medicines for back pain relief sometimes either don’t work sufficiently, have undesirable side effects, or take too long to begin working. The spinal pain pump delivers long-term targeted relief to your spinal cord to more effectively manage your symptoms and get you back on track to enjoying life once again.pain pump patientWhen Andrea Snyder was successfully operated on for bone cancer, she subsequently suffered from acute, chronic pain in her leg, the area from which the cancer had been removed. Her attempts at treating the pain were unsuccessful. Her last resort was a prescription for long-term use of a narcotic pain reliever, which still did not alleviate her agony.

After seven years of physical and mental anguish, Andrea found Dr. Sol Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest. Dr. Kamson suggested a different course of treatment for Andrea: a spinal pain pump. Andrea agreed to try it and today she is back at work, back to spending time with her family, and no longer needs to take oral narcotics.

A spinal pain pump can provide you with effective pain relief and enable you to once again participate in the usual activities of daily life. You will need less oral medications, which should lessen your chances of experiencing unwanted side effects.

When you meet with Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, he will help determine whether you are a candidate for a spinal pain pump. If Dr. Kamson finds that you have not responded to other treatments or have experienced severe side effects from alternative therapies, he may suggest a pain pump to reduce your symptoms. The pump the doctor will insert is a device that delivers medication to constantly eliminate or minimize breakthrough pain and spasms.

Dr. Kamson performs the procedure in two stages. First he will insert a temporary catheter to see if the medication relieves your symptoms and to preview any possible side effects. If all goes well with Stage One, then Dr. Kamson will be prepared to position the permanent device. During the procedure, a needle is inserted through the skin and deeper tissues, which are numbed beforehand to avoid most of any discomfort that may be felt. You can also be given IV sedation and pain medications during the procedure. The tubing for the pump is placed at the lower back, with the pump positioned on the side of your back. The entire procedure takes about two hours to complete, after which you will recover for a short period of time and go home.

The medication in the spinal pain pump lasts from one to six months. It is refilled in the office as needed, and takes a few moments to do so. The pump’s batteries can last for seven years or so. After that time, a new pump can be fitted.

For more information about Medtronic’s spinal pain pump, contact our office at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, where you may schedule a consultation with Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD.

Get Relief from Back Pain and Sciatica – Part III

Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, understands that persistent back pain has a huge negative impact on your quality of life. He takes the time to help you choose the best minimally invasive treatment for pain relief. Sol Kamson is highly skilled at performing the most modern treatment procedures now available to relieve pain without resorting to invasive surgery.

The procedures that have been discussed for relieving various types of back pain include endoscopic decompression, facet fixation, interbody fusion, radio frequency neurotomy, and endoscopic nerve excision. Dr. Kamson can also treat your chronic back pain using a pain pump or spinal cord stimulators.

Pain Pump Implants

Some people can effectively treat their back pain with oral medications, but these often have undesirable side effects. Medications may also need to be increased in dosage in order to achieve higher levels of pain relief as your body becomes used to certain types of drugs.

A pain pump delivers medicine straight to the pain’s source. This delivery method requires a lesser medication dosage, as the drug will not have to pass throughout your entire body, but rather it will be delivered directly to the spinal fluid for quick, strong pain relief.

Solomon Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest will surgically implant a pain pump beneath the skin of your abdomen. From there, a tiny catheter runs the medicine from the pump to your spinal column. This minimally invasive treatment is especially suitable for those who suffer from chronic, severe back pain when other treatment modalities have not worked well enough or the side effects of oral medications are too severe.
A pain pump is installed in two steps. First, the doctor inserts a temporary catheter to determine its effectiveness on relieving your pain. If the first step is successful, Dr. Kamson will then schedule the surgery to insert a pain pump. This outpatient procedure takes about two hours to perform. Every few months, the doctor will refill the pump, which only takes a few moments and requires no surgery.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants

Electrical signals delivered to the spinal nerves can relieve back pain, though inserting a spinal cord stimulator is an invasive procedure. For certain patients, however, this technique can work wonders as an analgesic. When other avenues of pain relief have failed to work, spinal cord stimulators may be the answer to solving chronic back pain issues. Dr. Kamson can place a tiny stimulator beneath the skin of your lower back or buttocks.  There is a thin wire attached which travels from the stimulator to the area of pain. When the device is turned on, patients may feel a tingling when the electrical current stimulates the nerves. Before Dr. Kamson inserts a spinal cord stimulator, he will test your body’s response to the low electrical current to ensure the effect is not uncomfortable.

If you’d like to get  more information, please schedule an appointment with one of our patient advocates by contacting the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, today.

Get Relief from Back Pain and Sciatica – Part II

If you suffer from back pain and/or sciatica, you’ll be happy to know that Sol Kamson, MD, at the Spine Institute Northwest, is always on the lookout for the most up-to-date ways to offer patients relief. Dr. Kamson is a skilled surgeon who utilizes minimally invasive surgical procedures to relieve your discomfort and have you back to performing your normal everyday routines in a short period of time. Aside from procedures such as endoscopic decompression, interbody fusion and facet fixation, Solomon Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest, offers other treatment modalities that can help you feel better without having to undergo invasive surgery.

Ease Nerve Pain with Radio Frequency Neurotomy

This minimally invasive procedure works to deaden the nerve that is causing your pain. A radio frequency neurotomy can provide you with pain relief for months, and some patients report having no painful symptoms for a year or even longer.

Using a fluoroscopy, a kind of X-ray showing live images as he works, Dr. Kamson can guide radio frequency needles to the area from which pain is originating. When the needles are in the exact spots they needs to be, Dr. Kamson then applies thermal energy. In this way, the radio waves interrupt the nerve impulses that tell the brain to feel pain.

This is a quick procedure that can be completed in less than an hour. A radio frequency neurotomy is done in the outpatient surgical center, with a short recovery period before you are then sent home. Some patients of Sol Kamson will need a second treatment after six months or up to a year later, while others experience relief for longer than a year.

After Dr. Kamson performs this procedure, you will likely feel soreness at the insertion site of the needle and heat energy infusion. Patients are advised to rest for the next 24-48 hours, after which they may go back to their normal routines in most cases.

Relief Using Endoscopic Nerve Excision

Dr. Kamson also performs endoscopic nerve excision, which is similar to radio frequency neurotomy, with the difference being the use of an endoscope to help in removing the nerve rather than just deadening it. The main cause of your pain, such as a bulging disc, will not be removed, but the nerve that is causing you to feel painful symptoms will be excised in order to halt discomfort.

The soreness and recovery time period for undergoing endoscopic nerve excision is just a few day’s rest longer than what you would need following a radio frequency neurotomy.

These two procedures may be very helping in relieving the pain associated with a facet disease. Call Solomon Kamson MD at Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, to schedule your appointment for a consultation. There is no need to live with chronic pain, as Dr. Kamson can provide you with many alternative treatments so you can live an active life once again.

Spine Institute Northwest’s YouTube Channel: How We Helped Patients

Dr. Solomon Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest invites you to listen to patient testimonials and discover more about minimally invasive surgical techniques that can help relieve your persistent back pain. It’s time to get back your life and stop living in pain. The relief you seek is close at hand, without months of lying prone during post-surgical recovery.

Tune in to SpineInstituteNW on YouTube to hear about our actual patients’ experiences and satisfaction after undergoing a number of different treatment options with Dr. Sol Kamson, a Spine Institute Northwest physician.

Real Patients Tell You Their Stories

Once you meet with Sol Kamson, you will understand that you have chosen the right path for finding a solution to your chronic pain without having to endure invasive open-back surgery. Before or even after meeting with Dr. Kamson, though, take a look at the many YouTube videos our patients have made to share their stories and the success they’ve found with the help of Solomon Kamson MD PhD.

One recent patient, Anita, is a 44-year-old dental assistant who has endured neck and arm pain for the last 15 years. After trying weekly massages, acupuncture, and meeting with a surgeon who recommended she undergo three fusion surgeries, Anita decided she did not want to go this aggressive type of treatment. Nor did she want to continue with treatments that weren’t helping her pain in the long run. Instead, she met with Sol Kamson, who recommended decompression with stem cell therapies to help her get her life back on track.

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Work-Related Back Pain in Heavy Equipment Operators and Delivery Drivers

Dr. Solomon Kamson of Spine Institute Northwest (SINW) in Bothell, Washington frequently treats patients who have suffered back injuries from performing work that taxes the body, especially the lower back. These workers, which include delivery drivers and heavy equipment operators, are exposed to more risk factors that may lead to back pain and musculoskeletal disorders such as extended hours sitting in awkward positions, exposure to vibration, and being in non-natural positions for hours at a time. Work-related injuries (such as back disorders) are seen as more common in the construction industry for these exact reasons. The National Institute for Occupational Safety has conducted studies to assess the impact of risk factors for workers operating heavy equipment. Traditional open back surgery, while effective at treating injuries, would mean extremely complicated procedures requiring extended recovery times. Using state-of-the-art minimally invasive techniques, the Spine Institute Northwest can significantly reduce patient downtime after their procedures. Minimally invasive back surgery requires only very small incisions and can be performed in outpatient settings, not requiring extended hospital stays.

Read these testimonials of five different cases where minimally invasive surgery helped them get their lives back when traditional back treatments could not.


Heavy Equipment Operator Penny Schwegel Gets Relief From Sciatic Pain

Penny, who operates the largest excavator for a mining firm in Alaska, believes her sciatica, which had been giving her trouble for nearly a decade, was made worse by the constant vibration from sitting in the machine for more than 12 hours at a time.

Cortisone shots were effective at managing the pain at first, but over time their efficacy wore off. A lumbar fusion procedure at SINW in December 2016 finally gave her the relief she was looking for.

Truck Driver Braun Hudson’s Battle With Paralyzing Back Pain

Braun, a truck driver from Washington who worked 6-days a week doing deliveries, finally felt the effects of his job on his body one day in 2015 when he found that he could not move his legs at all.

Being very skeptical of the merits of continuing pain medications just to manage his pain and traditional open back surgery, he opted for treatment at the SINW instead where Doctor Kamson recognized the gravity of his situation immediately.

“Dr. Kamson was surprised how I was even walking,” Braun recalls. After a lumbar decompression, the pressure on the nerves of his spine was relieved which completely addressed the pain.

Daniel Schamlzried: Herniated Disc Fixed

Years of working tough jobs including logging ,ranching, labor work, mining and truck driving took a heavy toll on Daniel’s back.  Told by doctors that open back surgery was not even a option for him at his age, he did some research on laser spine surgery instead. Diagnosed at SINW with degenerated disc that was causing his pain, a spinal fusion was performed on Daniel’s back.

Against the odds and against the outcomes predicted by other physicians, Daniel was able to find lasting pain relief for his back problems thanks to minimally invasive surgery.

Darrel Lewis – Sciatic Nerve Problem

Repetitive motions from his driving and delivery job such as lifting, pulling, and just getting off and on the truck, coupled with sciatica gradually made Darrel’s pain worse and worse. It got to a certain point where Darrel knew he had to do something, as the pain was affecting his relationship with his family and his ability to be effective at work.

This prompted Darrel to reach out to Spine Institute Northwest where he underwent a minimally invasive procedure for his back. Much to his surprise, the procedure only required a very small incision.

Chris Catron – Years of Intensive Labor Wrecked My Back

Doing heavy labor work while young and supporting a family ate away at Chris’ quality of life. Like many of the other patients at Spine Institute, Chris Catron ignored his back pain until it was too late. And as with other patients, he tried to address the pain through painkillers and physical therapy. His search for a permanent solution led him to Spine Institute Northwest and minimally invasive surgery where Dr. Kamson was able to fix his back through minimally invasive surgery.

Mark Tidball: Two Decades of Pain

Mark had been dealing with pain for almost 20 years prior to his procedure at SINW. His back pain he attributes to a job he held long ago that required some heavy lifting. Having witnessed the good work that Dr. Kamson had performed on his wife, Mark set up an appointment to have his own back looked at.

The source of Mark’s problems turned out to be a collapse of the discs in his lower back – essentially his vertebrae were grinding against each other (bone on bone). A lumbar decompression procedure at SINW addressed his back pain. Of the outcome of his procedure Mark says, “My pain is pretty much non-existent now.”