Learn About Spondylolisthesis Treatment Options

Spondylolisthesis treatment optionsWhen one of your spine’s bones moves out of place and slides onto the vertebra lying beneath it, spondylolisthesis is the result. This usually occurs in the lower back (lumbar) area and can lead to nerve roots or your spinal cord becoming squeezed, resulting in pain, numbness and/or weakness in your back and legs.

Spondylolisthesis is a word that is sometimes confused with other spine conditions, such as spondylosis, spondylitis, and spondylolysis. Though these conditions are all very different, the one thing they have in common is the derivation of their names; the term spondylos comes from the Greek word for “spine.” The word “spondylolisthesis” is a blend of the word spondylos, meaning spine, with the word listhesis, which means “to slide.”

Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis

You can have spondylolisthesis and not be aware that you do, as this condition has very few, in fact sometimes no, crystal clear symptoms. You may note some pain in your lower back, but this can be misconstrued as a simple muscle strain as the pain increases with your movements. Another symptom some people experience is pain in the buttocks or legs. Pain radiating down the legs causing weakness, tingling, or numbness can occur if the vertebra is sitting on a nerve root. Often those symptoms can extend to your feet, which can lead to difficulty when walking. Rarely, spondylolisthesis can lead to bladder incontinence or loss of bowel control. If these unusual symptoms occur, you should visit a health care professional immediately.

Causes of Spondylolisthesis

The bones of your spine are normally kept in alignment by the small joints that hold your vertebrae together as your spine is still flexible enough to bend and twist. When one of these tiny joints becomes damaged, spondylolisthesis may occur. Some people are born with a congenital case of spondylolisthesis due to an innate, defective joint.

The most common cause of spondylolisthesis, however, is due to spinal wear and tear. When discs become worn out over the years, joints degenerate and vertebrae can slip out of place. Osteoarthritis can cause stress fractures that damage the joints, too, as well as infection. These causes make spondylolisthesis occur more commonly in older people, though this condition is not restricted to those who are advanced in age. Anyone at any age can develop spondylolisthesis due to an acute injury or some type of trauma. Sports injuries and damage from overuse can even cause spondylolisthesis to develop in children and teenagers due to stress fractures.

Treatments for Spondylolisthesis

At the Spine Institute Northwest, we can diagnose this condition using imaging tools, such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. These testing devices can help determine if you have a fracture in a vertebra or whether a bone has slipped out of place. If Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, diagnoses spondylolisthesis, his treatment protocols will depend upon what caused the condition and how severe it is.

When the pain you suffer from spondylolisthesis is somewhat minor, Dr. Kamson may recommend managing your condition using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, together with ceasing the activity that may have caused the condition to develop. Although resting may seem like a good idea, it’s very important to keep moving when you have spondylolisthesis. Dr. Sol Kamson recommends core-strengthening programs to develop the stomach and back muscles that help support the spine. It’s critical that you consult a physician and work with a physical therapist if you are diagnosed with spondylolisthesis.

If your pain is very severe, if conservative measures have not worked to relieve pain, if vertebrae continue to slip, or if nerve damage has occurred, then surgery may be indicated. At the Spine Institute Northwest, we perform minimally invasive procedures, such as vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, to strengthen fractured vertebra. Decompression and laminectomy procedures can also help by removing bone material that is resting on a nerve.

Contact Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, today at (208) 496-0630 to arrange a free evaluation of your condition by uploading your imaging results to our office.

Living without Pain at Long Last!

dwayne-burnellChronic back and leg pain can be intolerable, with some patients suffering hopelessly for years. The thought of having invasive spine surgery is scary, and some sufferers, like author and wealth strategist Dwayne Burnell, can seek out treatment for years with little success.

When Dwayne finally consulted with Sol Kamson back in 2003, he was thoroughly impressed with the surgeon’s thorough, thoughtful approach to his issues. Dwayne had explored practically every avenue to find the answer to his painful symptoms, from chiropractors to orthopedic surgeons to pharmaceuticals. The most frustrating part of Dwayne’s journey was receiving conflicting advice from different professionals and no core diagnosis as to the root of his painful symptoms. Finally, Dwayne had found what he’d been seeking: a correct diagnosis for his pain, along with a minimally invasive lumbar fusion procedure to relieve his pain and get to the root of his problem.

A minimally invasive lumbar fusion procedure involves a facet screw system that helps stabilize the spine. With a small incision, Dr. Kamson, MD, uses fluoroscopic guidance to insert a dilator between the muscles to avoid irritating nerves and muscles of the spine. The offending disc or bone material is then removed, and a PEEK spacer cage is filled with bone graft to let the spine fuse. Tiny rods and screws are put in to ensure the fusion site remains solid. This type of lumbar fusion keeps cutting and disruption of back muscles to an absolute minimum.

The advantages of undergoing a minimally invasive lumbar fusion procedure as opposed to traditional open fusion surgeries include a less painful procedure, a higher rate of success, and quicker recovery times.

Patients like Dwayne Burnell, who is an avid outdoorsman, are thrilled that they are still completely free of pain, a full ten years after surgery. Contact Solomon Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, if you are seeking an answer to your issues with spine or leg pain. Minimally invasive procedures can be your ticket to a pain-free life, letting you spend more time doing the things you love once again.

Medical Care Tips You Should Know: Part II

emergency-roomThis is a second set of eye-opening tips that can help you take control of your own care and steer you in finding the relief you need when it comes to back pain and sciatica. Dr. Sol Kamson has assisted us in putting together these important pieces of advice that doctors know about, but patients often are not aware of when it comes to choosing the right surgeon in your area.

Tip # 11: Take Your Time to Decide About Surgery

There’s usually no reason to rush into making a decision when it comes to back surgery. This is an important health choice, so weigh all of your options before committing to a surgeon or a specific procedure.

Tip #12: Communicate Any Leg Pain Post-Surgery

Although Sol Kamson will inform you about possible post-surgical complications, it’s important to understand that leg pain after surgery can be a signal of a blood clot. Do not hesitate to inform Dr. Kamson or your physician about leg pain after any back surgery.

Tip #13: Your Surgeon Loves to Be Thanked

After you’ve had a successful surgical procedure to relieve back pain, your life will likely improve to a tremendous degree. Surgeons work very hard to better the quality of life for their patients. Convey your gratitude for this life-changing help with a heartfelt ‘thank you’ in words or, better yet, in a handwritten note.

Tip #14: Physicians Are Very Busy People

Though it may sometimes seem as though doctors do not care about their patients because they rush in and out of examining rooms, this could not be further from the truth. Schedules become hectic, with many patients to see, yet you are just as important as anyone else. Keep in mind that your doctor really does care about you, though the rapid pace in the office may not always convey that impression.

Tip #15: Lawsuits Are Real Concerns for Doctors

In this litigious society, physicians do worry about being sued by patients. They sometimes refuse to perform certain procedures or recommend other avenues in order to protect themselves from legal action.

Tip #16: Complete Recovery Means Getting Enough Rest

You may feel much better and more fit after surgery, yet your spine surgeon informs you that you need to rest and recover for a certain period of time. Heed the advice of surgeons like Dr. Kamson and take the time you need to heal by not doing more than you should too soon.

Tip #17: Ask The Right Questions Before Surgery

Prior to saying ‘yes’ to a recommended procedure, be sure to question your doctor as to what is damaged in your body and why you need a certain repair. Perhaps you’ll discover that there are other options and surgery is not the only treatment available.

Tip #18: Being Overweight Can Be Challenging

Your doctor may find it difficult to find veins for IVs in obese patients. If you’re severely overweight, other complications can present themselves, such as slower healing and infections. Speak with Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest about the complications that may exist should your weight present a problem.

Tip #19: Nurses Are a Great Resource

Come to your medical appointments with a list of questions, but save the most important ones for the doctor. Ask the nurse about your more minor concerns and let your physician focus on the essential answers you need.

Tip #20: Listen Carefully

Doctors will tell you how to manage your post-surgical care or ways to prepare for a procedure. It’s important to listen carefully and perhaps take notes so that all goes well for you. Dr. Kamson is concerned that patients listen and follow instructions for the best possible outcome before, during, and after spinal procedures or treatments.

These ten additional tips for your medical care should give you an insight into what doctors really want patients to know. Stay tuned for the third in this series of medical secrets from Solomon Kamson MD, PhD and the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA.

Why Look Outside Canada

Although Canada has an excellent healthcare system, there are many areas that could use some improvement. The most common complaint is the wait time to be able to get into the doctor is extremely long. The average wait time from referral to seeing the doctor can be up to 20 weeks. On top of that, due to the system being so backed up, many appointments get rescheduled, resulting in an even longer wait time. For those who have to live in severe pain day after day, this is just unacceptable. This long wait can sometimes cause conditions to worsen, which can result in even more issues. Unfortunately, having a longer wait time can lead to patients suffering from even more pain and a diminished quality of life.

A study from the Fraser Institute has reported that the wait time for those who need surgery in Canada is the worst it has been in the past 18 years. This equals over 104% longer wait times from 1993, and is the highest it’s been since this institute began measuring wait times in Canada. The government recognizes there is a problem and is spending billions of dollars to reduce the amount of time people have to wait, as well as improving the quality of care. However, this mainly deals with more critical procedures, and those who are at a higher risk. For someone who is in severe pain and needs something like a hip replacement, they end up being put on a waiting list. This could last from 1-3 years as the pain gets more severe and leads to other issues.

Many Canadians have now taken healthcare into their own hands, and are seeking treatment outside of Canada. A recent study has found that 69% of Canadians would rather travel outside their local area for procedures, medical tests, and treatments. For years now the Spine Institute Northwest has been treating Canadian patients who have been living with chronic pain. There are many benefits that the Spine Institute Northwest has to offer like much shorter waiting periods, quicker access to a better quality of care, a wide range of treatment and minimally invasive procedures, a flat payment structure that has discounted rates for those who pay in cash, and a great concierge service just for Canadian patients.

Coming to our facilities is not a hard decision to make when you consider all that it has to offer, and how close it is to the Canadian border. With a caring and courteous staff to help you with your every need, the only thing you have to worry about is making it here. The concierge service that is offered to Canadian patients will even make getting here nothing to worry about. This service will help you with finding and booking a hotel that’s close to the facilities, help with renting a car or getting a taxi, or anything else that could come up with your trip. Living with chronic pain is enough of a burden, this service was set up to help make your trip and treatment as stress-free as possible.

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 Miss Work (or Play!) Due to Back Pain

Every year, more people miss work and lose out on wages due to neck and back pain than any other health-related issue. The Spine Institute Northwest has been putting on free seminars all throughout Canada, and many of those who suffer from neck and back pain every day have found the relief they’ve been looking for just across the border.

With Canada’s backed-up healthcare system, those who suffer from chronic pain should not have to wait weeks or months just to be seen by a doctor. In many cases, your visit will only result in temporary relief, and within weeks you will find yourself in pain again and waiting for another appointment. The goal of the Spine Institute Northwest is to quickly diagnose the issues that are causing you pain and to treat the problem so you can get back to living a normal and pain-free life.

With direct access to a qualified team of physicians, you can quickly receive the answers that you deserve. You can even submit your MRI or CT scan for a free assessment. An experienced physician will review it and help you begin planning the next step towards your treatment.

The convenient concierge services that are offered to Canadian patients give you less to worry about, so the only thing you have to think about is what you’re going to do with a new pain-free life. This free service will handle every aspect of your trip and provide any help for you while you’re here. The dedicated staff will take care of transportation, air travel, hotel accommodations and places to eat and will help you discover all the activities and attractions that are available in this beautiful part of Washington. Dealing with all this yourself can often be a pain. Since you put up with enough of that in your life, let our knowledgeable and courteous staff handle all of your arrangements.

While you’re here, hopefully you will be able to take the time to experience everything this area has to offer. The beautiful city of Bothell, where the Spine Institute Northwest is located, has a small-town atmosphere with big-city life. It is full of excellent shopping and many different activities to do. With just a short drive into the city, you can enjoy the amazing attractions that Seattle has. You can tour the many amazing museums and take in some of the greatest art and exhibits from all over the world. There are also hundreds of restaurants where you can taste some great food that is unique to the area as well as tasty dishes that are popular all over the world.

By relaxing and taking the time to enjoy the area and attractions, you can have a lot of fun as you begin your new pain-free life. For any help with directions or finding stuff to do, the concierge service and helpful staff members are always willing to assist to make sure your visit is as pleasant as possible.

Save the Dates!

If you were unable to attend any of the previous Back and Neck Pain seminars in Canada from the Spine Institute Northwest, then you’re in luck. The dates have been set for the next free seminars in Calgary and Vancouver. The first seminar will be held in Vancouver on Friday July 19th, 4 p.m. at the Delta Burnaby Hotel & Conference Centre. The other scheduled seminar will take place in Calgary on August 10th, 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Macleod Trail South.

These seminars are a great way for people who suffer from chronic back and neck pain to become better educated and informed on the many different alternatives to surgery that the Spine Institute Northwest has to offer. As the Canadian healthcare system continues to back up, to many residents have to live with chronic pain, diminishing their overall quality of life. These waiting periods can often go on for months, only to receive temporary relief or medications that only mask the pain. There are several minimally invasive surgical procedures to finally treat the cause of your pain.

For years our Canadian friends have been finding pain relief and living with the benefits of alternative treatments. The term minimally invasive is used because the procedures are not as traumatic as traditional surgical methods, where often recovering from the surgery itself is the worst part. By going through an incision of about two centimeters, special instruments are used to perform the procedure. One of the benefits of minimally invasive surgery is that operation times are fairly quick and usually average around an hour and a half and the patient is generally released within an hour from the operation. Because of the procedure you will experience a much quicker recovery time, and have less side effects. This type of surgery is more affordable not only due to the procedure, but because there is no overnight stays in the hospital, and with a quicker recovery time you are able to get back to work sooner and not miss out on much needed pay.

There are three primary types of minimally invasive spine surgery that are performed at the Spine Institute Northwest. These are Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression, Lumbar Interbody Fusion and Facet Fixation, and Endoscopic Assisted Nerve Excision. The Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression procedure is typically used to repair herniated discs. This is accomplished with the use of a laser and radio frequency. With this and other procedures there is minimal damage to the muscles and tissues, which contributes to a quicker recovery time. The Lumbar Interbody Fusion and Facet Fixation is used to repair degenerated discs in the spine. This is generally related to osteoarthritis, and the pain can affect many other places. This procedure is similar to fixing a broken bone, as it joins the affected vertebrae together. The Minimally Invasive Nerve Excision is also known as nerve ablation. This procedure removes the nerves that are responsible for generating the pain in your back.

As you can see there are many alternatives to traditional open-back surgeries. There is much more information on these procedures and other treatments that you can learn about, and have all your questions answered at an upcoming seminar. Everyone who attends is encouraged to bring their MRI or CT scan for a free review. Hope to see you there.