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.

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 pumpĀ 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.