The Options to Open Back Spine Surgery

patient-after-spine-surgeryThere are safe and effective alternatives to alleviating back pain other than enduring the risks and long recovery rates associated with traditional open back surgery. Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest, offers patients minimally invasive surgery and treatments to help you get back to the active life you led prior to your painful onset of symptoms.

Laser Spine Surgery Offers a Second Chance

Daniel Schmalzried lived a very physically active life. He is a US military veteran, and had toiled away in underground mining, ranch work, trucking, and logging jobs, all of which can wreak havoc on the spine over the years. A couple of years ago, Daniel found that he could no longer work at all due to intense back pain in addition to numbness and weakness in his left leg. His weakness had become so pervasive that he could barely lift a gallon of milk from the refrigerator. It turned out that he had degenerative disc disease that was causing two of his vertebrae to scrape against one another. He needed help, but the medical professionals he’d seen informed him that he was too old to have risky back surgery. He soon discovered they were referring to traditional open back surgery, not realizing the alternatives offered by minimally invasive techniques.

Dr. Kamson Offers a Solution

After Daniel met with Dr. Sol Kamson, he realized that, if he’d been given the choice of minimally invasive surgery from the beginning, he would have immediately gone for it and spared himself two years of pain.

The minimally invasive surgery needed to help this particular patient was a lumbar interbody fusion. This surgical procedure performed at the Spine Institute Northwest fuses together the two joints that are grinding against one another. This relieves the severe pain that was caused by the bone that was sitting on Daniel’s nerve. It also helped restore the strength in his left leg. The disc above this area was trimmed of extraneous matter or bone material and stem cells (regenerative therapy) were injected into the area to speed up healing.

The type of minimally invasive spine surgeries Dr. Kamson performs eliminates the need to cut through muscle, as traditional spinal surgery often requires. Recovery after this type of open back surgery also requires extensive post-surgical muscle strengthening, which can be painful and take a long time.

Contact Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, for more information about minimally invasive spine surgery and how certain procedures can help you have a second chance at the active life you want back. Call one of our patient advocates today at (208) 496-0630 to schedule an appointment.

Can a Torn Spinal Disc Be Fixed?

Torn spinal discs (also known as annular tears or herniated, bulging, ruptured, and slipped discs) affect millions of people worldwide. Your spinal discs can become torn due to an injury you sustain, but most often, discs are damaged because of degenerative disc disease, a condition associated with aging and normal wear and tear.
soccer sports injuries
Your intervertebral discs give your spine the cushioning support it needs so you can comfortably move and bend. If a disc or discs become damaged, the end result can cause you extremely painful symptoms. Here’s some important information from the Spine Institute Northwest about degenerative disc disease and how the latest forms of treatment provided by Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, can help alleviate your pain.

Intervertebral Discs: What Are They?

Spinal discs are situated between each of your vertebrae. They are composed of two layers of soft tissue. The outer layer is called the annulus fibrosus, and the softer, gelatinous inner layer is the nucleus pulposus. Think of those insole support pads for shoes. They contain a gel-like material that helps absorb some of the shock your feet endure as you walk or run. Your spinal discs work in a similar way as they let your spine withstand pressure and bear weight more comfortably.

If you’ve severely and suddenly injured your back or neck, you may need surgery right away to treat the issue and avoid future problems. But more chronic painful symptoms of degenerative disc disease can take years to surface, at which time the soft tissue breakdown can be extensive. At this point, you have a few different options for treatment.

Will Time Alone Heal the Damage?

Actually, an annular tear can sometimes heal on its own, but it’s difficult to know if self-healing will actually occur. The process by which a damaged disc heals over time is called resorption. When the inflammation of a torn disc attracts certain cells known as phagocytes, these new cells absorb into the body, extinguishing the herniated cells. The process occurs naturally for some people, while resorption doesn’t occur for others, unfortunately.

Conservative Treatments for Herniated Discs

You can relieve the pain associated with torn discs, at least for a while, using over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers. Other measures include cortisone injections, rest, physical therapy, low-impact exercises, and massage therapy. If pain persists or worsens, you may need an MRI or another imaging test so Dr. Kamson can evaluate the disc in question and perhaps offer more intensive solutions.

Other Treatments

You may have tried all of the above conservative treatments, are still in pain, but want to avoid any type of surgery. If so, you may want to consider regenerative treatments. These therapies often use stem cells from your own body to help heal torn discs using a minimally invasive technique. The cells are injected into the damaged disc. The injected material is sometimes combined with other natural substances to advance healing and create new, healthy cell growth.

If you’re interested in fixing your torn spinal disc issues or having any questions about intervertebral disc treatments, contact Dr. Sol Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, today to discover more. Call us at (208) 496-0630.

Tips on Post-Surgical Home Recovery After Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

42307279-nurse-taking-female-patients-blood-pressure-in-hospitalOne of the advantages of having minimally invasive spine surgery is the shorter recovery period you’ll need as opposed to more invasive types of procedures. Although a speedier recovery time is a big plus, patients will still need a window of time after surgery during which mobility will be decreased.

If you undergo one of the minimally invasive spine procedures, such as those regularly performed at the Spine Institute Northwest under the guidance of Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, you’ll want to ensure that your recovery time at home is comfortable and your quality of life is impacted as little as possible. As the date of your spine surgery nears, it’s a good idea to have some specific items at hand in your home to help you with certain tasks during your recovery.

After a minimally invasive spinal procedure, you will want to avoid twisting your back or reaching up over your head. To avoid these movements, be sure that any pajamas or clothing you wear have buttons in front for closure, so you won’t have to pull any clothing up over your head. Choose nightwear that is large enough to keep you from being confined from movement, yet not so large that the material will clump up beneath you. You’re also bound to have an itch in an area you shouldn’t be reaching for during your recovery. Buy an inexpensive backscratcher or use a long-handled, wooden spoon to scratch that itch.

Keep a cooler full of ice packs and beverages nearby your recovery area to avoid moving around too much the first few days post-surgery. Another handy item to have nearby is a grabber. This long-handled ‘claw’ that you squeeze to grab things just out of reach will help you retrieve the TV remote, snacks, a pack of tissues, or something you’ve dropped without too much exertion or bending. Don’t forget to put trash bags on your list of shopping items for your at-home recovery period. A plastic bag will come in handy if you’re having difficulty moving in and out of bed. If you lay down on the bag first, you can then slide off the bed more easily when you need to get up. Wear a slip-on shoe with a rubber sole, like Crocs, to help you get mobile and walk around without having to bend over and work with shoelaces.

Finally, think about your movements while taking a shower. Have a long-handled bath brush and shower gel ready to use so you can reach areas of your body easily and without stress or strain.

You can discuss these tips and obtain many other pieces of advice from Dr. Kamson when you go over the details of your minimally invasive procedure and period of recovery. Call Dr. Sol Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, today and make an appointment to discuss your specific needs.

Excellence in Pain Practice Award

dr. kamson

Sol Kamson MD is very proud that the Spine Institute Northwest has earned an Excellence in Pain Practice (EPP) Award from the World Institute of Pain. The achievement of this award provides Dr. Kamson and his colleagues with recognition of their dedication to treating patients with the highest quality of care and for attending continued educational and training programs and seminars in the field of interventional pain management.

The World Institute of Pain began distributing the EPP Award in 2010 to promote the highest models and standards of pain management practice around the globe. This organization was founded over 20 years ago by Phulchand Prithvi Raj, Ricardo Ruiz Lopez, and Gabor B. Racz, in order to help physicians and researchers work together to improve the quality of life of those suffering from chronic and acute pain.

Pain Treatment Center Credentials

Physicians, such as Solomon Kamson, and scientists who are members of the World Institute of Pain are able to share important information concerning research and clinical studies in order to help and learn from one another. Through the Institute, these medical professionals can attend international seminars and training sessions. Data and information is pooled from physicians around the world. This knowledge is then distributed to members, enabling them to learn more about the results of certain procedures, new treatments being developed, and the best practices in pain management techniques.

With the EPP Award, Dr. Sol Kamson and Spine Institute Northwest, have been singled out not only for the treatments they offer, but also for the practice as a whole. The organization reviews the ways in which patients are cared for by every member of the staff during a site visit.

“Gaining the cache of being able to display the World Institute of Pain’s red shield on our web site has inspired even greater confidence in our abilities from our many satisfied patients, while it also helps to reassure new patients that they will be receiving the quality of care they deserve.” Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, Director of the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, notes that the EPP Award is an honor to receive, as it points him and his team out to patients as being a top practice in the field of pain management.

Now that you are aware of the EPP Award bestowed upon Dr. Kamson, give us a call and schedule an appointment before you make the decision to undergo treatment for your back pain. You may send us your MRI or CT scan for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Kamson.

Stopping the Pain for Our Returning Troops!

Our troops are suffering significantly from chronic back pain once they have returned home. Although our veterans have had to tolerate the pain long enough to finish their tour, there is no need for continued suffering. Chronic pain has a way of infiltrating many aspects of their lives and Doctor Kamson would like to stop the pain.

Common back pain is usually a result of sitting too long or poor posture – civilians can remedy the pain by simple lifestyle changes. However, our troops suffer chronic pain caused from time on the battlefield. 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.

It’s unfortunate that returning troops may experience common problems caused from chronic back pain. 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.
We want our military to have easy access to medical help to stop back pain. However, this isn’t possible with the VA. 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 stop chronic back pain, don’t wait! 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.

Traveling for Treatment

The ability to relieve others from pain that they have been suffering from on a daily basis can be one of the greatest feelings in the world. When patients contact the Spine Institute Northwest after they have received a treatment to express how their day to day life and outlook has dramatically improved, that makes it all worthwhile. To be in a position to change the lives of others is what makes the entire staff anxious to get to work every morning. Although our travel to the facilities is not nearly as far as what most of our patients have to travel, they are just as anxious to get here and would travel around the world if it means they can once again live a pain free life. When it comes to patients who live with chronic neck and back pain, traveling isn’t the issue for them as much as finding a facility that can effectively treat them.

“I was one of the first patients that he had that we pushed through on L&I, and it worked. He did the surgery without any guarantee of payment. I fought L&I for three years to get the surgery I wanted instead of what they wanted me to get. I stumbled upon the type of surgery that worked for a man my age, and I was evaluated by Dr. Kamson. There was a German surgeon who did thousands of these surgeries; he sat in on the consultation.

They both agreed that the surgery L&I was suggesting would not work. All the while my ruptured disc was getting so bad I could hardly walk. L&I wouldn’t agree to approve what Dr. Kamson was recommending, so he said, ‘we’ll just do the surgery, back-bill, and hope they pay -– but you have to follow my instructions to a T or the treatment won’t work as it needs to.’

I did exactly as he recommended, for almost a year, three times a week traveling from Olympia. Now, I very seldom have pain when I walk, and at the worst all I have to do is go home and stretch for a while. He’s a great doctor, I have complete faith in him, and I’ve steered many friends and colleagues his direction as well.”
– Matthew Graham

Matthew’s story is just one of many success stories of those that have found the relief they were desperately needing at the Spine Institute Northwest. The entire staff understands that many patients have been living with chronic pain for several years and go above and beyond to do everything possible to see that your needs are met. With patients that come from all over the globe, they take pride in doing everything possible to make your trip as easy and stress-free as possible. Getting patients here as quickly as possible to effectively treat their chronic conditions is our number one concern. The amazing staff is extremely helpful in helping with making travel arrangements, hotel accommodations, transportation, places to eat, as well as things to do. Your only concern should be with getting better while the Spine Institute Northwest takes care of the rest.