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.

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.

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.