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5 COMMON SPINAL CONDITIONS AND TREATMENT OPTIONS…

Back pain affects millions of people around the world. It is one of the most common reasons why a person cannot function well at work or school. It can affect anyone regardless of age or gender.

One of the leading causes of back pain is spinal issues or conditions. The spine is essential for a person to properly perform daily functions on different levels. It is connected to all vital parts of the body, so spinal issues can significantly impact day-to-day activities and one’s quality of life.

Types of Spinal Conditions

There are many types of spinal conditions. Some require spine surgery, while some need only regular exercise, physical therapy, lifestyle change, and certain medications. Generally, however, spinal conditions are categorized into:

  • Acute Injuries
  • Wear and Tear Conditions

An example of a spinal condition resulting from acute injuries is lumbar radiculopathy, which affects the nerve root. Pain and numbness are often felt on the legs and in the buttocks.

Another example is disk herniation or herniated disk, which can develop as a cause of injury or excessive strain.

Spinal stenosis, sciatica, and neurogenic claudication are classified as wear and tear spinal conditions (although the latter may also be caused by traumatic injury.)

Here is an infographic showing five of the most common spinal conditions and treatment options that you can choose from. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it illustrates the possible causes of the constant back and neck pain you’ve been feeling for some time now. You’ll know what to tell your orthopaedic specialist or physician when you visit them.

About the author

Dr. Mohamed M. Abdulhamid is a neurosurgeon and the Founding Director and CEO of Royal Spine Surgery in Phoenix, Arizona. He is certified in total cervical disc replacement, or artificial disc replacement, in minimally invasive Coflex® procedure, in minimally invasive discectomy and in intraoperative navigation and image-guided surgery. In addition to travelling for work, Dr. Abdulhamid enjoys travelling with his family.  He also enjoys photography and he uses his camera to capture the beautiful landscape surrounding him locally and while travelling.

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PROS AND CONS OF SPINAL INJECTIONS FOR PAIN?..

As I am sure my readers know I have had several different types of spinal injections from epidurals to facet joint injections and even a life-threatening episode with one particular injection. But what are the pros and the cons of these types of injections which have given you time-limited pain relief?

The facet joint injection provides important information for your doctor and can also give you pain relief. Why do I have to have an injection in the facet joint? The procedure is designed to prove if the facet joint is causing your pain by placing a temporary medication to reduce discomfort in the joint.

The pros are that it provides a direct management for joint pain and inflammation. It provides faster pain relief and relieves moderate to severe pain. Steroid injections also provide faster pain relief than oral forms of anti-inflammatory drugs. Joint injections allow the drug to be absorbed in the blood stream faster than oral medications. Making pain receptors less sensitive, in turn sending fewer pain signals through the nerves

There are no stitches or open wounds to deal with, and because of this, you have an extremely small risk of infection. Overall, facet joint injections are considered a very safe treatment.

You may get between three weeks and three months’ pain relief from a steroid joint injection, though this varies. You can have the injections every three months if you need them. Generally, it’s best not to have more than four steroid joint injections in a year into any one joint. This is because there’s a chance any more could damage your joint.

The waiting list on the NHS for any spinal injections is long but having them done privately is not cheap. It varies across the UK from £1,200 in the far north to £2,043 in the south.

The cons are that steroids have various side-effects. Age can also become a factor with facet joint injections. As you age, your facet joint becomes more damaged. This makes the injection more technically difficult because the joint is too small and maybe tighter. You may also grow small bones called osteophytes, which you do not normally see on an X-ray.

You could have an allergic reaction or cause bleeding although this is usually only a risk with patients who are on blood thinners.

Minor infections occur in less than 1% to 2% of all injections. Severe infections are rare, occurring in 0.1% to 0.01% of injections.

You could get discomfort at the point of the injection or worsening of pain symptoms. And while very rare, damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves can occur from direct trauma from the needle, or secondarily from infection, bleeding resulting in compression, or injection into an artery causing blockage.

Have you had any spinal injections and if so how long did the pain relief last? I would love to hear from anyone who has had this treatment either on the NHS or privately as I am trying to get as much information as possible to write a much bigger article on it.

For me personally I enjoy every second of my pain free time after my injections and would not hesitate accepting any being offered to me.

Source: Northampton Chiropractor, Spine Health BUPA Private Health

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IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF SLEEP YOU NEED…

Vitality Health says that going to sleep between 10 and 11pm is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease compared with earlier or later bedtimes according to a study published recently in the European Heart Journal – Digital Health.

The study also showed that poor sleep can result in poor cardiovascular health, particularly for women, and that circadian rhythm disruption could be an understudied risk factor in heart health.

One minute they are telling us that we need a full night’s sleep to function correctly and even that sleeping may help you to lose some weight! Now, researchers are careful to note however that oversleeping has been linked to a host of medical problems, including diabetes and heart disease.

So, how much sleep should we have? Well, the amount of sleep varies significantly over the course of our lifetime. It depends on your age and activity level as well as your general health and lifestyle habits.

They say that sometimes circumstances mean we need more sleep, for instance during times of stress or illness. However, the typically recommended amount of sleep for adults should be between seven and nine hours each night.

When we’re sleeping, our brains are actively working to process the information from the day into our long-term and short-term memory. Good sleep not only helps our bodies and minds to rest and repair, but it also allows us to perform better too.

Many Fibromyalgia and chronic pain sufferers say they feel lucky if they get 5 hours of sleep a night.

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle? Pain makes it difficult to sleep, but sleep deprivation means the body cannot repair itself – making the pain worse. Healthline points out that people with chronic pain don’t necessarily see improvements in sleep once their pain is resolved.

In fact, the pain often only continues to worsen until sleep is addressed. This may be related to the fact that some people with chronic pain may battle anxiety which in turn may cause stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol to flood their systems. Over time, anxiety creates overstimulation of the nervous system, which makes it difficult to sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation points out that sixty-five per cent of those with no pain reported good or exceptionally good sleep quality, while only 45 per cent of those with acute pain and 37 per cent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 per cent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 per cent of those without pain.

Those with acute or chronic pain are more likely to have sleep problems impact their daily lives. Among people who’ve had sleep difficulties in the past week, more than half of those with chronic pain say those difficulties interfered with their work. That drops to 23 per cent of those without pain. People with pain are also far more apt than others to report that lack of sleep interferes with their mood, activities, relationships, and enjoyment of life overall.

People with pain also feel less control over their sleep, worry more about lack of sleep affecting their health and exhibit greater sleep sensitivity. They’re more likely than others to say environmental factors make it more difficult for them to get a good night’s sleep. These factors include noise, light, temperature, and their mattresses alike, suggesting that taking greater care of the bedroom environment may be particularly helpful to pain sufferers.

While both chronic and acute pain is related to lost sleep, the survey indicates that chronic pain is an especially powerful problem. Indeed, one in four people with chronic pain, 23 per cent, say they’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder by a doctor, compared with just 6 per cent of all others.

Sleep station comment that It’s a never-ending battle and a vicious circle between sleep disturbance and pain. In some there may be an element of chicken and egg – is the pain-causing sleep problems or is the mediocre quality of your sleep making your pain feel worse? Pain can, for example, be the main reason that you wake in the night, and these interruptions during the night can lead you to get less sleep, and most important of all, less excellent quality restorative sleep. This sleep deprivation can lower your pain threshold and your tolerance for pain and thus can make your pain feel worse.

Source: Vitality Health, Healthline, The National Sleep Foundation Sleep Station Digital Health