Restoring the ‘Quality of Life’ for Our Veterans

What kind of a life do our Veterans lead once they’ve come home? Unfortunately, life isn’t easy for our troops. After they are forced to tolerate long-term pain on the battle field, they experience complications and physical discomfort, which can diminish their quality of life once they have come home. Surprisingly, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as many as half of all returning veterans experience chronic pain lasting as long as six months.

Civilians have a lot of control when it comes to managing back pain. They can change the way they sit, change their posture — but back pain for the Veteran is a different story. Though there are certainly troops who have desk jobs, those whose assignments involve carrying lots of equipment or wearing heavy protective gear for long periods of time are prone to wear-and-tear injuries. Veterans may also experience back pain as a result of injury, which can complicate the treatment process.

Life is difficult enough for members of the military because they are more likely to experience chronic back pain due to battle. For anyone experiencing chronic pain, there is the risk of developing feelings of frustration, despair, and depression. This risk can be even greater for veterans, even those returning from non-combat missions. Back pain and back injuries can limit your ability to work. For those who have made serving their country their career, back pain can seriously inhibit successfully performing their duties.

Obtaining immediate medical attention for our troops who suffer chronic back pain doesn’t come easy. Beginning in 1998, the Veterans’ Administration has used a protocol for handling veterans’ pain issues known as the National Pain Management Strategy. However, the lengthy wait times and inefficiencies of the VA system have been well documented. Returning troops are faced with bureaucratic hurdles and frustrating lags, especially for seeing specialists. Though efforts are being made to overhaul the VA, chronic pain can make each day feel like an eternity.

If you would like to restore your quality of life by eliminating chronic back pain, don’t wait for a referral from the VA. Solomon Kamson, MD at the Spine Institute Northwest offers a comprehensive array of treatment options, and we make every effort to make sure you don’t need to wait to come see us.

Canadian Patients, American Doctors

When traveling throughout Canada for our free neck and back pain seminars, people always want to know why they should travel to the U.S. for treatment. As many of those in attendance have been to doctor after doctor with little or no results, it’s easy to understand their skepticism.

The biggest reason and what they have been looking for is that the Spine Institute Northwest offers effective treatments to put an end to their chronic back pain. With an excellent location and dedicated staff, the facilities are set up to get patients in as soon as possible to accurately diagnose and treat the issues they are suffering from. This is a big relief for them since wait times in Canada can be weeks or even months, only to be referred to another doctor and having to wait even longer just for a quick consultation where they don’t take the time to thoroughly listen to your complaints and concerns.

Prior to Dr. Kamson, in my opinion, I wasn’t getting the care –- the doctors weren’t listening to what my concerns and pain were. I call Dr. Kamson “my god” because it didn’t matter if it took 20 minutes to explain my condition, he always had that ear open. He almost had to convince L&I to run a series of tests that had never been brought up by any of my prior doctors. It’s almost as if my prior doctors had set me at a certain level of injury, but Dr. Kamson wanted to take a closer look. I had a series of injections that were never offered to me before Dr. Kamson. There is quite a lot of nerve damage in my back, which really affects my daily living. Dr. Kamson took all of it very seriously, because of my age, my job, all those factors. He was not going to allow me to return to my job of injury doing the same heavy lifting, forklift driving, and so on. I was most impressed by Dr. Kamson’s “bedside manner.” He’s more than just a doctor, he’s almost like a friend.
-Darla Jackson

Darla’s story is just one of many who was fed up with hearing the same thing from several doctors that seemed to have their minds made up and did not want to do any further diagnosis or other treatments. It’s important to understand what the patient is needing, and to take the time to discuss their exact issues and what steps can be taken to relieve their pain.

Patients that suffer from chronic back pain have already been through enough frustration and shouldn’t have to deal with all the stress just to have relief and get back to their normal life and activities. With the Spine Institute Northwest’s Concierge Service that is offered to all Canadian patients, all the stress and worries that are associated with traveling can be taken care of so you can concentrate on yourself and getting better. When working with and treating patients they should understand that they are more than just appointments in the computer, and that you care about the success of their treatment. As Darla put it, it’s more than just being a doctor, it’s about being a friend.

Canadian Patients Praise the Spine Institute Northwest

For many years now the Spine Institute Northwest has been proud to assist our neighbors to the north with relieving their neck and back pain. Over the years we have been able to serve more and more Canadian patients who are tired of living with chronic pain, and a diminished lifestyle. With a location just 160 km from the Canadian border, the Spine Institute Northwest is in a convenient position to serve all of our friends in Canada. With many minimally invasive procedures available, within hours of arriving you can be leaving the facility and heading back home.

For instance, one patient who lived with chronic pain that continued to worsen for over ten years due to a lumbar disc herniation, had tried everything possible to relieve her pain until she heard of the Spine Institute Northwest.

I consulted with Dr. Kamson who patiently listened to my concerns and complaints, reviewed my history, read the diagnostic reports, and listened some more. Following a complete and thorough investigation of my specific condition, he was able to pin-point the exact location and cause of the pain. Consequently, I underwent a 2-level minimally-invasive operation that consisted of a laminectomy and spinal decompression at the T12-L1 level and a laminectomy and facet fusion at the L5-S1 level to relieve pain symptoms and stabilize my back. He extracted bone cells from my hip and injected them into my spine to aid in regeneration at the fused site. The incision was about an inch long and was done in an out-patient setting whereby I was able to walk in and out after a couple of hours with little or no assistance. Today, I am three months post-operative and pain free due to Dr. Kamson’s diligence, perseverance and expertise. This is why I refer to him as “Dr. Miracle.” No other physician was able to relieve the pain as did Dr. Kamson. I highly recommend Dr. Kamson and his wonderful, professional staff to anyone who is struggling with chronic pain and wants relief from long-term suffering.
-Julie Schnabel

The Spine Institute Northwest takes pride in making your experience as convenient and stress-free as possible. From the very beginning you can easily upload your MRI or CT scan for a free evaluation by a surgeon. You will then be contacted to discuss the best way to proceed to relieve your pain. There is also a free Concierge Service Program that is offered to all Canadian patients to take care of all the headaches and worries that can come with traveling away from home. This can include making hotel accommodations, arranging transportation, air travel, finding places to eat, as well as fun and interesting activities to do and sites to see while you’re in town. The caring and helpful staff goes above and beyond to exceed all your expectations to make your trip and treatment as pleasant and carefree as possible. The whole process can easily be taken care of by calling our facilities or filling out a form online and the concierge service will contact you with the arrangements.

Treatment Options for Chronic Pain

When you live everyday with chronic back pain, throughout the day the pain gradually gets worse as the day drags on and causes a person to be miserable and unhappy. If this sounds like your life then you know that you can’t wait months to find relief. The goal of the Spine Institute Northwest has always been to quickly diagnose the problem and get it treated so you can have back a pain free life within a few days.

The Spine Institute Northwest offers a full range of effective treatments that are minimally invasive, and don’t require being stuck in a room for days. The benefits you get with these procedures are faster recovery time with much less post-operative pain, same day outpatient procedures, and the use of smaller incisions that causes less bleeding. Several of the main procedures that are offered include Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression, Facet Fixation and Lumbar Interbody Fusion, and Endoscopic Assisted Nerve Excision.

Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression is used to treat stenosis in the lumbar spine area, cervical regions, and thoracic area of the body. This procedure treats the region where the pain is generating, as well as weakness or numbness with the arms or legs, which is generally associated with back conditions. Targeted portions of the bulging disc, bone, or other fragments are selected and removed, which takes pressure of the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Operating time is generally 90 minutes for each level, with only an hour of recovery time after the procedure.

The Facet Fixation and Lumbar Interbody Fusion procedure is used when the facet joints in the intervertebral disc become worn and generates pain in the lower back. It can also cause numbness or weakness to the affected area. In this minimally invasive procedure the facet joints are fused together, which will prevent irritation to that area of the spine. Another possible option with this procedure is an Interbody implant, which allows more space so the spinal cord and nerves aren’t compressed.

An Endoscopic Assisted Nerve Excision is another common procedure due to severely worn or damaged facet joints, and the pain you experience can be in the; cervical, thoracic, sacral, or lumbar region of the spine. This technique is used to interrupt the pain signals from the nerve without having an impact on motor functioning. The nerves that are generating the pain are targeted and removed with special instruments like a radiofrequency probe or a laser. This interrupts the pain signals so it is no longer felt in that area. Each nerve generally takes about 30 minutes, and typically two to three nerves are removed at a time.

There are many other procedures offered at the Spine Institute Northwest to treat neck and back pain. If you live in constant pain and are tired of waiting to see a doctor only to receive temporary relief, then request a free MRI or CT scan review to begin taking the steps to a pain free life. Our dedicated staff is just a call or click away and is happy to help with any questions and arrangements.

Fix Your Pain

As so many Canadian patients have to spend much of their life in constant pain from back and neck issues, they are finding the relief they have desperately been seeking just across the U.S. border. As more and more of our Canadian patients make the trip to the Spine Institute Northwest, they are amazed at how quickly and effective the treatments are that are provided. Their only regret is not making it to the facilities sooner to be treated.

Take for instance one of our Canadian patients who suffered from lumbar disc herniation for over ten years. Over several years while being in pain she went through many tests, scans, and x-rays to find herniated discs at all the lumbar vertebrae, as well as the thoracic-lumbar, and the lumbar-sacral. Then she was also diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spine canal. On top of her back pain, she now had severe pain that would radiate down her left leg. This had a big effect on her quality of life since she was limited in performing easy, everyday tasks.

For several years, she went through treatments, therapies, and medication, but they only offered temporary relief, and the medication made her sick. She would also visit the chiropractor several times a week for adjustments, which only provided temporary relief, and didn’t address the problem. She was told that she would have either to live with the pain, or undergo traditional open back surgery, which she was against. Finally, she heard about the successful procedures being performed at the Spine Institute Northwest.

During a consultation her medical history, diagnostic report, x-rays, and scans were all reviewed, and her concerns and complaints were addressed. After a complete investigation of her condition, the exact cause of her pain had been located. She then received two minimally invasive procedures that consisted of a laminectomy and spinal decompression, as well as a laminectomy and facet fusion to relieve pain and help stabilize the spine. Bone cells were also extracted from the hip to help aid in regeneration of the fused area. After an inch-long incision and a couple hours at the Institute, her back pain of over ten years had been relieved and she walked out of the facilities and now has her pain free life back again.

The main goal of the Spine Institute Northwest has always been to provide the best care and medical services as possible. It begins with an accurate diagnosis and initiating the proper treatment to relieve pain. The main focus is always on preventing chronic disability so you can live the pain free life you deserve. If this sounds like you or somebody you know, relief can begin with a simple phone call, or by visiting www.fixmypain.ca. You are able to review the different procedures that are performed, and can request a free review of your MRI or CT scan. Throughout the year, there are also many free seminars all across Canada to have any questions answered, as well as a review of your scans.

Don’t Wait for Treatment

As we find ourselves back in Calgary for one of the many free back and neck pain seminars, the stories heard from those who attend have very similar complaints and issues. They all suffer from chronic pain that contributes to a diminished lifestyle, and they are tired of lengthy waits and ineffective treatments.

Although Canadians have a quality healthcare system, there are areas that need to be improved. The biggest complaints from patients are the long waiting periods, as well as appointments being repeatedly cancelled. Those who suffer from chronic pain aren’t at the top of the list like with life threatening conditions. This results in those who are in pain having to wait for weeks or months before finally getting into the office for a consultation or exam. For those who don’t receive proper treatment in a timely manner, conditions can often worsen and lead to even more pain and complications.

It has been widely acknowledged by the government that wait times are too long, and that they are taking necessary steps in order to reduce these wait times on some procedures. However, these steps will take some time to be implemented, and even longer for the effects to be noticed. This also doesn’t include all procedures or treatments, and operations like open heart surgery and other high risk operations will take precedence over the non-life-threatening operations. This means those who are living with chronic pain will still have a lengthy wait before seeing a doctor.

Many Canadian patients have had enough of living with pain and attend these free seminars that are held throughout Canada because they want to take their well being into their own hands. They have found that they can travel just across the U.S. border and receive much quicker treatment with amazing results. The Canadian government does offer coverage for procedures that are outside of the country, but they have to be pre-approved and they often get denied. One of the great benefits of the minimally invasive procedures that are offered at the Spine Institute Northwest is the affordability of the treatments. There are fast, affordable, and convenient procedures available that don’t require overnight stays which can greatly reduce costs.

Studies show that close to 70% of Canadians would rather travel outside of their local area for medical tests, treatments, and other procedures. Considering how long it takes to get in to the doctor’s office, and how close the Spine Institute Northwest is to the border, it’s not hard to see why so many Canadians have made the life changing decision to find relief at our facilities. If you were not able to attend the recent seminar in Calgary, there will be another one soon, as well as others that are scheduled throughout the country. You can also contact the facilities online and request a free review of your MRI or CT scan. These are reviewed by professionals, and you will be contacted with treatment options and what the next step will be to get started on a pain free life.