Posted on May 20, 2017
Lower back pain is one of the most common afflictions in our society. Almost every person will have at least one episode of low back pain at some time in his or her life. The pain can vary from severe and long term to mild and short-lived. It will resolve within a few weeks for most people.
The low back (lumbar spine) is made up of five bones (vertebrae). The lumbar discs are between these bones in the front of the spine. They function as shock absorbers and allow for motion of the lumbar spine. Behind the discs is the spinal canal.
The spinal nerves run through this area and exit at each level of the spine. They are enclosed within the meninges, often referred to as the dural sac. The dural sac allows for the spinal nerves to travel through this area and stay within the spinal fluid. The lamina and the facet joints make up the back of the spinal canal. The lamina is a relatively flat area of bone that covers most of the back of the spinal canal. The facet (also called zygoapophyseal or Z) joints are more to the side in back, and also allow for motion of the lumbar spine. They connect each vertebra to the one above and below it. Sticking backward from the lamina at each level of the spine is the spinous process. These are the bones that can be felt when you touch your back. The discs and nerves are too deep to be felt. The spinous processes function as an attachment point for a number of muscles. Many muscle groups surround the spine. They function to move and support the spine.
Learning “First Aid” for Chronic Pain
What are the common causes of lower back pain?
Orthopedics Doctors have many ideas about what causes low back pain, but no explanation applies to everyone. It may be related to damage to or aging of the disc, muscular problems, arthritis of the spine, problems with tendons or ligaments in and around the spine or malpositioning of vertebrae. Low back pain is sometimes caused by:
- Excessive stress to the back, such as lifting something heavy.
- Minimal movement, such as bending or reaching for something.
Occasionally, it happens with no cause.
How to diagnosis lower back pain?
See your doctor to diagnose low back pain. Tell him or her your complete medical history. The doctor will examine you physically. Often the physical exam is completely normal except for pain with motion. The doctor checks for:
- Evidence of nerve problems. The doctor evaluates strength, sensation and reflexes. He or she may ask you to move your spine to see how limited the motion is.
- Another problem, not related to the spine that could cause back pain is poor blood circulation. Tell the doctor what motions or positions hurt, and what helps relieve the pain.
Can Yoga Prevent Back Pain?
Laminectomy is a surgical procedure that creates space around the spinal canal by removing the back part of the vertebra which is also called as lamina. People who suffer from arthritis in spine usually suffer from this problem. The overgrowth of bone asserts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves causing back pain.
Laminectomy is also called as the decompression surgery. The laminectomy procedure enlarges the space thus relieving pressure that alleviates pain. Surgeons usually prescribe this surgical treatments when the common conservative treatments such as medication, physical therapy etc. stop responding to the problem. In case of such worse situations laminectomy is performed.
Why Laminectomy is Necessary?
The overgrowth of lamina or in some cases of herniated disc it narrows the space of the spinal cord and starts building the pressure on spinal cord and nerves. This asserting pressure radiates back pain, pain in limbs, muscle weakness and numbness. The surgeon would generally recommend undergoing the procedure of laminectomy to release the pressure to reduce down the pain in case if:
- The patient is feeling difficulty in walking or standing due to pain or numbness in the limbs.
- The patient is experiencing the bladder control.
- The traditional treatment such as medication and physical therapy had failed to overcome the symptoms.
- The patient is suffering from the herniated disc and in order to reach to the damaged disc a part of the lamina is removed.
The Risks Involved in Laminectomy
Although laminectomy is safe to accomplish but, in some cases some complications might appear that may include:
- Nerve injury
- Formation of Blood Clot
- Spinal Fluid Leakage
The Laminectomy Procedure
You would be given thorough instructions before surgeons would finally perform the laminectomy. You would be advised avoiding intake of food and drinks certain hours before the surgery. If there is specific medication required they would also inform you about that.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia hence you would remain unconscious during the surgery. A team of surgeons and anesthetist would monitor for all vital functions of your body. Blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and blood oxygen are monitored very closely.
Once you are unconscious the surgeon makes an incision at the affected area on the back. Muscles etc. are moved away to reach the spine and with use of proper instruments the lamina is removed. If laminectomy is performed in order to treat the herniated disc then surgeon will also remove the disc after removing the lamina.
If it is required to bring the spinal curvature into proper shape as a result of vertebrae slippage the surgeon may undergo the process of stabilization of the spine using spinal fusion. In this process the surgeons connects two or more vertebrae using implants such as metallic rods and screws. After the surgery the incision is closed using staples or sutures and after successful surgery the patient is transferred to the recovery room.
Precautions After Laminectomy
After you attain consciousness the doctors will ask to move your limbs in order to check for the level of complications if there exists any. You will be kept under supervision and medication so to relieve you from the pain.
Depending upon the level of complication or your medical health you will be required to stay in the hospital. Usually patients after the normal surgical procedure are required to stay for one day in the hospital. The doctor will advise you the medication to continue and the physical therapy to adapt after the laminectomy have been performed. This will help you gain flexibility and strength.
If the spinal fusion has also been performed then the recovery may take longer in such cases. It might stretch to a period of six months to start your normal work schedule. During the recovery you would be advised to limit your activities related to mobilization, lifting weight, and bending etc. for several months.
Improvements could be seen over time and symptoms may lessen after laminectomy. But these benefits might come to halt as the spine might undergo changes due to aging and the bone would continue growing due to arthritis. The chronic pain may buildup as the spinal arthritis may develop again showing the symptoms over some time.
Originally published at www.mewarhospitals.com on November 5, 2015.
Symptoms & Treatment of Spinal Stenosis
Functional Medicine is a very specific method and analysis, which incorporates the actual art and science of medicine. At Camarillo Functional Health, Dr. Michael Veselak focuses on treating chronic patients by examining their case from a functional perspective. This means, he will examine each case through labs, medical history, bloodwork, etc. to find the root cause of each problem. As a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Board Certified in Integrative Medicine, Dr. Veselak has found that successful treatment is the result of finding the source of the problem, and not covering the symptoms with medications. With all chronic pain patients there is an underlying component that must be addressed if the patient is ever going to respond to conservative care and live a life without medications.
Spinal Stenosis is caused from a narrowing of the spinal canal or lateral recesses which impinges upon the exiting nerve roots. What causes changes in these openings? A lot of things! One major cause, is the the process of aging. As joints and ligaments undergo wear and tear, they can shift partially into these spaces. In fact, spinal stenosis is most common in people in their 50’s and beyond. Spinal stenosis can also be inherited or acquired at birth. In rare cases, synovial cysts, which develop as a result of degeneration in the facet joint in the lumbar spine, have been linked to spinal stenosis, or at least mimic many of the symptoms of spinal stenosis.
At Camarillo Functional Health, Dr. Michael Veselak has been treating cases of spinal stenosis for over 30 years. As a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Board Certified in Integrative Medicine, Dr. Michael Veselak manages spinal stenosis using a Functional Medicine Perspective. Throughout his experience, Dr. Veselak has found that successful treatment is the result of finding the source of the problem, and not masking the symptoms with heavy medications. In many cases, patients have come to our office seeking an alternative to invasive surgery. With the use of state-of-the-art therapies, such as Cervical Traction, Lumbar Traction and spinal decompression thousand oaks, along with his advanced medical knowledge, Dr. Michael Veselak has been able to help many of our spinal stenosis patients avoid surgery, reduce their pain medications, and return to the activities they once enjoyed.
Functional Medicine is a 21st century approach to evaluating and managing patients suffering from chronic conditions. It is based upon identifying the underlying cause of the disease process or the chronic pain. Rather than treating the symptoms, functional medicine thousand oaks incorporates a whole body analysis, with emphasis on dietary and lifestyle changes. Through careful analysis of genetic influences, environmental factors such as toxic exposure and dietary habits, we can begin to identify the complex web of chronic disease and illness. Modern medicine is great in the management of the acute condition; however, it falls short in the management and prevention of chronic disease. It focuses too much on the magic bullet technique, where one pill fixes the condition for all patients. Unfortunately, this often results in undesirable side effects, leaving patients looking for other courses of treatment.
Functional Medicine is a very specific method and analysis, which incorporates the actual art and science of medicine. At Camarillo Functional Health, Dr. Michael Veselak focuses on treating chronic patients by examining their case from a functional perspective. This means, he will examine each case through labs, medical history, bloodwork, etc. to find the root cause of each problem. Dr. Veselak interprets blood work in a functional range, tightening up the typical lab ranges so he can better address patterns of dysfunction leading to the chronic disease process. He will assess each patient based on family history, environmental exposures and past medical conditions. Often times, with chronic complex cases, it is necessary to utilize special labs to properly identify the true cause of the chronic condition. These specialized tests will assess genetic factors, heavy metal toxicity, viral or bacterial exposure, Lyme’s disease, SIBO, Parasites, Nutrition, Amino Acid and Neurotransmitter deficiencies, Pyroluria and Gut Permeability. In doing so, Dr. Veselak will gain a deeper understanding of how the body is functioning, where imbalances may take place, and a clear direction as to how to resolve the core issue of the chronic condition.