Spine and Back Pain Treatment Options
At Mischer Spine Center, specialists in spine neurosurgery, interventional pain management and physical medicine and rehabilitation treat acute and chronic pain arising from trauma, nerve damage and degenerative conditions. The multidisciplinary team works in close collaboration with other specialists to help people regain control of their lives.
Treatment options include:
Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
Cervical discectomy and fusion is a procedure most commonly performed to relieve pain associated with a cervical herniated disc. It can also be used to treat cervical degenerative disc disease, severe arthritis, and bone spurs associated with cervical spinal stenosis. Symptoms of these conditions include severe arm, neck and shoulder pain, as well as numbness and tingling.
During the procedure, the surgeon removes the disc to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord. A bone graft taken from the pelvis is fused to the vertebrae on either side of the removed disc to fill the space.
Cervical laminectomy is used to treat spinal stenosis, which occurs when the spinal cord becomes compressed and sometimes painful bone spurs develop. The most common symptoms of spinal stenosis include back pain, leg pain when walking, and/or problems with fine motor skills in the hands.
During a cervical laminectomy, the surgeon will remove a small section of the roof of the spinal cord to give the spine more room and alleviate pain.
Cervical corpectomy is used to treat progressive spinal stenosis, which creates painful pressure on the spinal cord. The procedure involves the surgical removal of the damaged vertebrae and disc as well as any bone spurs.
The space is then filled with a bone graft from either the pelvis or leg, and replaced fused to provide stability with the connecting vertebrae.
Cervical laminoforaminotomy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that is most commonly used to treat radiculopathy, or arm pain, that is caused by herniated discs or bone spurs that are compressing the nerve root in the neck.
Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy include pain that originates in the arm and runs into the hands. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a very small incision at the back of the neck and removes the herniated disc or other source of pressure on the nerve.
Spinal fusion is a procedure where the surgeon uses metal plates, screws and rods to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in the spine to eliminate movement between them. It is used as a treatment option for some cases of herniated disc, spondylolisthesis, deformities of the spine, or for broken vertebrae.
Artificial Disc Replacement
Artificial disc replacement offers an alternative to spinal fusion, and is a surgical technique used to improve mobility and relieve chronic lower back pain in patients. During the procedure, the damaged disc is removed and replaced with an artificial version that includes plastic spacers, alleviating the need for bone grafts.
Arthrodesis is a procedure in which the surgeon fuses two vertebrae in the spine by placing a bone graft as a bridge, thus eliminating the joint. The treatment is designed to immobilize the offending joints that cause severe spinal pain due to arthritis.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical technique that is most commonly used to treat fractures caused by osteoporosis or vertebrae damaged by cancer. During this procedure, the surgeon uses a balloon-like device to create a space in the damaged vertebrae, then injects a substance similar to cement within the space to create stability and restore the vertebrae.
Vertebroplasty is much like kyphoplasty in that it is a minimally invasive procedure performed to stabilize damaged vertebra and relieve pain. It is most commonly used to treat spinal fractures caused by chemotherapy, osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) or trauma, and is typically more successful at relieving pain and restoring motion if performed within two months of the fracture.
The Mischer Neuroscience Institute features a new spinal radiosurgery program, which can replace standard radiation treatment for tumors involving the spine and spinal cord. Treatment can be completed in one session, usually in a half-day, in an outpatient setting.
Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion
The innovative Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) procedure allows surgeons to reduce nerve exposure by approaching the spine from the side, with only a single incision in the back. With this technique, surgeons remove damaged vertebral bone, allowing access to remove the disc and replace it with a spacer and bone graft material.
Radiofrequency ablation, also known as neurotomy when applied to the neck, back and spine, is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to disrupt specifically-targeted nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. This procedure is used to help manage pain in the facet joint and sacroiliac joint caused by injury or degenerative diseases, like arthritis, when optimal outcomes are not achieved through physical therapy or medication.
Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial
Spinal cord stimulator implants use mild electrical stimulation sent from an implanted generator to block nerves in the spine from sending pain signals to the brain. This procedure is expected to grow, given advancements made in spinal cord stimulation (SCS) technology; an increase in the number of patients who suffer from chronic back pain; the ability of the device to be removed; and its ability to help reduce the need for opioid painkillers.
Injections for Back and Neck Pain
Also known as blocks for impeding nerves from sending pain signals to the brain, injections are usually outpatient procedures. While the patient is lying face down, a local anesthetic is applied to the injection site. Advanced imaging technology may be used to help guide the physician, depending on the type of injection.