Category Archives: Articles on Spine

Spine Surgery

Nonsurgical Treatments for Spine Conditions

Living with spine conditions can be challenging, but there are numerous nonsurgical treatment options available to alleviate pain and improve quality of life. Exploring conservative treatments before considering spine surgery is often recommended. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into various nonsurgical treatments for spine conditions and when it may be beneficial to consult […]

Living with spine conditions can be challenging, but there are numerous nonsurgical treatment options available to alleviate pain and improve quality of life. Exploring conservative treatments before considering spine surgery is often recommended. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into various nonsurgical treatments for spine conditions and when it may be beneficial to consult a spine surgeon.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often the first line of defense for treating spine conditions. A physical therapist will create a customized treatment plan that may include exercises, techniques like heat/cold therapy, massage, and manual manipulation to help reduce pain and inflammation. Examples of physical therapy exercises include:

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises for the back and core muscles
  • Posture correction exercises
  • Low-impact aerobic exercises like walking or swimming

Medications

Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help manage pain associated with spine conditions. Examples include:

  • NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce inflammation
  • Acetaminophen to relieve pain
  • Muscle relaxants or nerve pain medications in some cases

Epidural Steroid Injections

Epidural steroid injections are a common treatment for spine conditions that involve inflammation or irritation of the spinal nerves. The injection is administered into the epidural space around the spinal cord and can help reduce pain and inflammation. Examples of conditions that may benefit from epidural steroid injections include:

  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease

Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal decompression therapy uses motorized traction to gently stretch the spine, taking pressure off the spinal discs and promoting the movement of oxygen, water, and nutrient-rich fluids into the discs. Examples of conditions that may benefit from spinal decompression therapy include:

  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Sciatica

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. Examples of spine conditions that may benefit from acupuncture include:

  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches related to neck tension

Lifestyle Modifications

Making lifestyle changes can also help manage spine conditions. Examples include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce strain on the spine
  • Practicing good posture to alleviate pressure on the spine
  • Engaging in regular exercise, such as low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or yoga, to strengthen the muscles that support the spine

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors related to pain. Examples of how CBT can help manage spine conditions include:

  • Developing coping strategies for chronic pain
  • Setting achievable goals for pain management
  • Improving overall quality of life

Assistive Devices and Orthotics

Assistive devices and orthotics can help manage spine conditions by providing support and stability for the spine or correcting alignment issues. Examples include:

  • Bracing for the back or neck
  • Orthotic inserts for the shoes
  • Customized devices fitted by a healthcare professional

In conclusion, nonsurgical treatments offer a range of effective options for managing spine conditions and improving quality of life. By exploring these conservative approaches and working closely with healthcare providers, many individuals can find relief without the need for surgery. However, in cases where nonsurgical interventions are not sufficient, consulting a spine surgeon for further evaluation and treatment options is crucial for optimal spine health.

Southern California Brain and Spine

A leading spine surgery practice in Los Angeles. Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe, a board-certified neurosurgeon, founded Los Angeles’ top spine surgery practice. The patients know her for her expertise, experience, utilization of a minimally invasive approach, provision of personalized care, incorporation of state-of-the-art technology, and demonstration of a compassionate attitude.

Dr. Ranasinghe specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, which involves using small incisions and advanced technology to reduce trauma, blood loss, and recovery time. Minimally invasive spine surgery is less painful, has fewer complications, and allows for a faster return to normal activities.

Contact us today!

If you are experiencing back pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness, don’t wait any longer. Contact socalbrainspine.com today with the best spine surgeon. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe and take the first step towards a pain-free life.

Orthopedic Spine Care vs. Non-Surgical Approaches: Making Informed Decisions in Spine Surgery

When it comes to spine care, individuals are often faced with the decision between orthopedic spine care and non-surgical approaches. Understanding the differences, benefits, and considerations of each option is crucial for making informed decisions about spine surgery. In this blog post, we will explore the key aspects of orthopedic spine care and non-surgical approaches, […]

When it comes to spine care, individuals are often faced with the decision between orthopedic spine care and non-surgical approaches. Understanding the differences, benefits, and considerations of each option is crucial for making informed decisions about spine surgery. In this blog post, we will explore the key aspects of orthopedic spine care and non-surgical approaches, helping individuals navigate their choices effectively.

Orthopedic Spine Care: What to Expect

Orthopedic spine care involves the evaluation and treatment of spinal conditions by orthopedic specialists who focus on musculoskeletal issues. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Expert Evaluation: Orthopedic spine specialists conduct thorough evaluations to diagnose spinal conditions accurately and recommend appropriate treatment options.
  • Surgical Expertise: Orthopedic surgeons are trained in surgical interventions for spinal disorders, offering expertise in procedures like spinal fusion, laminectomy, and disc replacement.
  • Comprehensive Care: Orthopedic spine care often provides a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating physical therapy, pain management, and rehabilitation services to optimize patient outcomes.

Non-Surgical Approaches to Spine Care

Non-surgical approaches to spine care focus on conservative treatments aimed at managing spinal conditions without the need for surgery. Here are some common non-surgical interventions:

  • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises and manual techniques can help improve spinal mobility, strengthen supporting muscles, and alleviate pain associated with spinal disorders.
  • Pain Management: Non-surgical treatments like epidural injections, nerve blocks, and medications can effectively manage pain and inflammation in the spine, offering relief to patients.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Lifestyle changes such as weight management, ergonomic adjustments, and activity modifications play a crucial role in managing spinal conditions and promoting spine health.

Making Informed Decisions in Spine Surgery

When considering orthopedic spine care vs. non-surgical approaches, it is essential to weigh the benefits, risks, and individual needs of each patient. Factors to consider include:

  • Severity of Condition: The severity of the spinal condition, symptoms, and impact on daily life will influence the choice between surgical and non-surgical treatments.
  • Patient Preferences: Understanding patient preferences, lifestyle, and goals is essential in tailoring a treatment plan that aligns with their needs and expectations.
  • Consultation with Specialists: Seeking guidance from orthopedic spine surgeons and non-surgical spine specialists can provide valuable insights and recommendations for the most suitable treatment approach.

By empowering individuals with knowledge about orthopedic spine care and non-surgical options, they can make informed decisions about their spine health, ensuring the best possible outcomes in their journey towards recovery and improved quality of life.

Exercise to prevent spine injury

Preventing Spine Injuries: Ergonomic Practices and Exercises

Maintaining a healthy spine is crucial for overall well-being and quality of life. Spine injuries can be debilitating, leading to chronic pain, reduced mobility, and a significant impact on daily activities. However, many spine injuries are preventable through a combination of ergonomic practices and targeted exercises. In this blog post, we’ll explore effective strategies to […]

Maintaining a healthy spine is crucial for overall well-being and quality of life. Spine injuries can be debilitating, leading to chronic pain, reduced mobility, and a significant impact on daily activities. However, many spine injuries are preventable through a combination of ergonomic practices and targeted exercises. In this blog post, we’ll explore effective strategies to help you maintain a healthy spine and reduce the risk of injury.

Ergonomic Practices for Spine Health

Ergonomics is the science of designing workstations and environments to fit the user’s needs, reducing strain and promoting proper posture. Here are some key ergonomic tips to help prevent spine injuries:

  1. Adjust your chair: Sit back in the chair and position your thighs horizontal to your knees at hip level. Rest your feet comfortably on the floor or on a footrest.
  2. Maintain proper posture: Keep your back in a neutral position, with your shoulders relaxed and your head balanced on top of your spine.
  3. Use ergonomic aids: Utilize lumbar support cushions, footrests, and document holders to maintain proper alignment and reduce strain on your back.
  4. Take regular breaks: Avoid prolonged sitting or standing by taking short breaks every hour to stretch and move around.

Exercises for Spine Injury Prevention

Exercises that target core strength, flexibility, and stability are essential for preventing spine injuries. Here are some effective exercises to incorporate into your routine:

  1. Bridge: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abs and raise your hips off the floor until your waist lines up with your knees and shoulders.
  2. Bird-Dog Crunch: Start on your hands and knees. Extend your right arm and left leg, keeping them parallel to the floor. Engage your core and bring your elbow and knee together under your body.
  3. Good Morning: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Keep your back in a neutral position, and without bending the knees, slowly lower your torso toward the floor until your back is parallel to the ground. Hold for 3 seconds, then slowly push through your feet to return to the starting position.
  4. Stretches: Perform slow, gentle stretches that target the muscles supporting your spine, such as the hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower back4. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Remember, it’s essential to consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have a history of spine injuries or underlying conditions. By incorporating ergonomic practices and targeted exercises into your daily routine, you can significantly reduce your risk of spine injuries and maintain a healthy, pain-free back for years to come.

Spine surgery

Recovery Tips After Spine Surgery

Recovering from spine surgery can be a challenging process, but with the right mindset and approach, you can achieve a successful and speedy recovery. Here are some essential tips to help you on your journey: Prioritize Rest and Sleep after Spine Surgery Getting ample rest is crucial for your body to heal after spine surgery. […]

Recovering from spine surgery can be a challenging process, but with the right mindset and approach, you can achieve a successful and speedy recovery. Here are some essential tips to help you on your journey:

Prioritize Rest and Sleep after Spine Surgery

Getting ample rest is crucial for your body to heal after spine surgery. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and take short naps during the day if needed. Use extra pillows for comfort and consider a heating pad to reduce stiffness and soreness.

Prioritize Rest and Sleep after spine surgery

Manage Pain and Discomfort

Take your prescribed pain medication as directed by your surgeon to alleviate discomfort. If the pain persists despite medication, contact your surgeon’s office for advice and potential adjustments. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, as they can negatively impact your healing progress.

Manage Pain and Discomfort after spine surgery

Engage in Gentle Physical Activity

Once your surgeon gives you the green light, start taking short walks several times a day. Avoid strenuous physical activities and heavy lifting until your surgeon advises otherwise. Consult with a physical therapist to develop a safe and effective exercise plan tailored to your specific needs.

Engage in Gentle Physical Activity after spine surgery

Maintain Proper Posture and Breathing

Pay attention to your posture, as maintaining good alignment can reduce stress on your spine. Deep breathing exercises can improve lung function and aid overall recovery.

Maintain Proper Posture and Breathing after spine surgery

Attend Follow-up Appointments

Make sure to attend all follow-up visits with your surgeon as scheduled. These appointments allow your healthcare team to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your recovery plan.

Attend Follow-up Appointments after spine surgery

Enlist Help from Loved Ones

Having a loved one present to assist with errands and daily tasks can be incredibly helpful during the initial stages of recovery. Consider using assistive devices like grab bars, shower chairs, and reachers to make daily activities easier and safer.

Enlist Help from Loved Ones

Focus on Nutrition and Hydration after Spine Surgery

Proper nutrition and hydration are essential for healing. Eat a balanced diet rich in nutrients and stay well-hydrated. Avoid processed foods and focus on whole, nutrient-dense options.

Focus on Nutrition and Hydration

Remember, every patient’s recovery timeline may vary, so it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare team regularly. With patience, dedication, and the right approach, you can regain strength and enjoy a more active, pain-free life after spine surgery.

Recover with Southern California Brain and Spine

A leading spine surgery practice in Los Angeles. Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe, a board-certified neurosurgeon, founded Los Angeles’ top spine surgery practice. The patients know her for her expertise, experience, utilization of a minimally invasive approach, provision of personalized care, incorporation of state-of-the-art technology, and demonstration of a compassionate attitude.

Dr. Ranasinghe specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, which involves using small incisions and advanced technology to reduce trauma, blood loss, and recovery time. Minimally invasive spine surgery is less painful, has fewer complications, and allows for a faster return to normal activities.

Contact us today!

If you are experiencing back pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness, don’t wait any longer. Contact socalbrainspine.com today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe and take the first step towards a pain-free life.

Spine Surgery Procedure and Recovery

Spine Surgery A medical procedure that involves operating on the spine to alleviate pain, correct deformities, or stabilize the spine. Spine surgery can be minimally invasive or traditional, depending on the severity and complexity of the condition. We will discuss how spine surgeons perform spine surgery, the recovery process, and why socalbrainspine.com is the best […]

Spine Surgery

A medical procedure that involves operating on the spine to alleviate pain, correct deformities, or stabilize the spine. Spine surgery can be minimally invasive or traditional, depending on the severity and complexity of the condition.

We will discuss how spine surgeons perform spine surgery, the recovery process, and why socalbrainspine.com is the best choice for your spine surgery needs.

Spine Surgery Procedure

Spine surgery is a complex medical procedure that requires a high level of skill, expertise, and experience. The procedure involves making an incision in the spine, exposing the affected area, and then performing the necessary repairs or fusion.

The procedure can be performed using traditional open surgery or minimally invasive surgery. Below is a broad step-by-step process for spinal surgery typically involves the following steps:

  1. Consultation: The patient will have an initial consultation with a neurosurgeon or spine specialist to discuss their symptoms, medical history, and diagnostic test results. The surgeon will explain the potential benefits and risks of surgery and answer any questions the patient may have.
  2. Preoperative testing: Before the surgery, the patient will undergo various tests, including blood tests, imaging studies, and other diagnostic tests, to ensure they are healthy enough for surgery and to help the surgeon plan the procedure.
  3. Preparation: Prior to surgery, patients must follow specific instructions, including fasting, stopping certain medications, and arranging transportation.
  4. Anesthesia: The medical team will administer anesthesia to ensure the patient is comfortable and pain-free during the surgery.
  5. Incision: Depending on the spinal issue location, the surgeon will make an incision in the patient’s back or neck.
  6. Bone removal: The surgeon will remove any damaged or diseased bone or tissue in the spine.
  7. Fusion: The surgeon will fuse the vertebrae together using bone grafts, screws, rods, or other devices to stabilize the spine.
  8. Closure: The surgeon will close the incision using sutures or staples.
  9. Recovery: The hospital will monitor the patient post-surgery, providing pain medication and treatments for recovery.
  10. Rehabilitation: After surgery, the patient will undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation to restore spine strength and mobility.

It is important to note that the specific steps involved in spinal surgery may vary depending on the type of procedure being performed and the individual patient’s needs. Patients should consult with their surgeon to discuss the specific details of their procedure.

Recovery

The recovery process after spine surgery can vary depending on the type of surgery performed and the individual patient’s health. Generally, patients can expect to spend a few days in the hospital for observation and pain management.

After discharge, patients will need to follow a strict rehabilitation program that includes physical therapy, medication, and rest. The rehabilitation program aims to help patients actively regain strength, mobility, and function in the affected area.

Southern California Brain and Spine

A leading spine surgery practice in Los Angeles. Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe, a board-certified neurosurgeon, founded Los Angeles’ top spine surgery practice. The patients know her for her expertise, experience, utilization of a minimally invasive approach, provision of personalized care, incorporation of state-of-the-art technology, and demonstration of a compassionate attitude.

Dr. Ranasinghe specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, which involves using small incisions and advanced technology to reduce trauma, blood loss, and recovery time. Minimally invasive spine surgery is less painful, has fewer complications, and allows for a faster return to normal activities.

Contact us today!

If you are experiencing back pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness, don’t wait any longer. Contact socalbrainspine.com today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe and take the first step towards a pain-free life.

Cervical-Radiculopathy-compressed

Cervical Radiculopathy Surgery

Imagine waking up every day with a sharp pain shooting down your arm, making even the simplest tasks unbearable. This is what many individuals suffering from cervical radiculopathy go through everyday. Compression of nerve roots in the neck causes this condition.. Often in such cases, conservative treatments like therapies, massage, and pain-killers don’t do any […]

Imagine waking up every day with a sharp pain shooting down your arm, making even the simplest tasks unbearable. This is what many individuals suffering from cervical radiculopathy go through everyday.
Compression of nerve roots in the neck causes this condition.. Often in such cases, conservative treatments like therapies, massage, and pain-killers don’t do any good and surgery is the only treatment that promises long-term relief. If you find yourself in this situation, this article will provide a comprehensive view of Cervical Radiculopathy, its symptoms, causes, and when Cervical Radiculopathy surgery is performed. It will help you understand your situation better and make an informed decision.

See a Spine Surgeon in Los Angeles: If you have been diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy and looking for treatment or you want to see a doctor for diagnosis, you can schedule an appointment with Moksha Ranasinghe, MD at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery.

Cervical Radiculopathy

A human model showing symptoms of Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical refers to the upper portion of the spinal column that makes up your neck and Radiculopathy means injury or damage to nerve roots in the area where they leave the spine. Pinching or compressing nerves in the neck causes cervical radiculopathy. It can cause patients to experience severe pain, numbness and weakness in the arms and hands.

Symptoms

The symptoms of cervical radiculopathy can vary in severity and frequency, but mostly include:

  • Persistent neck pain
  • Radiating arm pain that extends down the arm
  • Tingling or numbness in the arm or hand
  • Weakness in the arm or hand causing difficulty in performing routine tasks.

Causes

Cervical radiculopathy is caused due to a pinched nerve in the neck and the nerve can be entrapped due to several factors including: 

  • Spinal stenosis 
  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative changes in the cervical spine
  • Spinal cord injury

Cervical Radiculopathy Surgery

Doctors go for surgery when there is no possibility of improvement with conservative methods such as physical therapy, pain management, and activity modification. Doctors immediately put patients with severe and progressive symptoms on surgical treatments.

General Procedure for Cervical Radiculopathy Surgery

The general procedure for cervical radiculopathy surgery typically involves making a small incision in the front or back of the neck, depending on the type of surgery being performed. During the procedure, the surgeon will access the cervical spine to remove or decompress the affected nerve root, or to replace a damaged disc. Nowadays, doctors also use minimally invasive methods with endoscopic or microscopic instruments to treat Cervical Radiculopathy. Minimally invasive spine surgery is less painful and also has a shorter recovery period. 

There are several surgical options for treating cervical radiculopathy, however, the purpose of all procedures is common i.e., to remove the compression from the pinched nerve.

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) 

It is a two-fold procedure in which a cervical disc is first removed that was compressing the nerve results in a gap in the vertebrae. In the second phase, surgeons fuse together the adjacent vertebrae to provide stability to the spine. As the name suggests, they perform this procedure by making an incision in the front of the neck.

Cervical Laminectomy


During this procedure, surgeons remove a portion of the bone and ligament in the back of the neck to increase the size of the spinal canal and relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots, as opposed to cutting a part of the vertebra in discectomy. Surgeons typically perform this procedure using minimally invasive techniques as an outpatient procedure.

Cervical Laminoforaminotomy


Surgeons remove a portion of the bone and ligament from the side of the cervical vertebrae in this surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve roots. Typically, they perform this procedure as an outpatient procedure using minimally invasive techniques.

Cervical disc replacement


Surgeons perform this procedure by removing a damaged cervical disc and replacing it with an artificial disc to restore normal spinal motion and relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Typically, they conduct this procedure as an outpatient procedure using minimally invasive techniques.

Recovery after Cervical Radiculopathy Surgery

After the procedure, the patient is taken to a recovery room where doctors monitor him for any signs of complications. The recovery period will depend on the type of procedure performed, but most individuals can return to their normal activities and resume work and exercise within several weeks to a few months after the surgery.

Conservative Treatments for Cervical Radiculopathy

Conservative treatments are the non-invasive/non-surgical methods recommended by the doctor to treat neck pain. These treatments are the first choice when a patient comes with a complaint of pain in the cervical spine. Only individuals whose problems can be improved without surgery are subjected to these procedures.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles in the neck and upper back to alleviate pain and improve the range of motion. A physical therapist can also teach you exercises to help relieve pressure on the cervical nerves.

Pain Management

Pain management techniques such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heat or cold therapy, and epidural injections can help reduce pain and improve function.

Activity Modification

Limiting activities that put a strain on the neck, such as repetitive neck movements or heavy lifting, can help reduce symptoms of cervical radiculopathy.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care can help improve spinal alignment and relieve pressure on the cervical nerves. Manipulation, traction, and massage can also help alleviate pain and improve the range of motion.

FAQs

Q. How successful is Cervical Radiculopathy surgery?

According to John et al, 80-90% of cervical radiculopathy surgeries successfully provide patients with pain relief.

Q: Are there any risks or complications associated with cervical radiculopathy surgery?

As with any other surgical procedure, Cervical Radiculopathy also has some risks associated with it. For example, surgical wound infection, nerve injury, excessive bleeding, etc.

Q. How long does it take to completely recover after the surgery?

The recovery period varies from case to case depending upon the factors like the patient’s age, the physical condition of the patient, and the type of surgery performed. Having said that, you can expect a full recovery in a time period of 4 to 12 months.

spine bone, neurosurgeon in los angeles

Spinal Cord Stimulator Treatment in Los Angeles

According to an estimate, roughly 20-40% of back surgeries in the US fail to relieve the patient of pain. Failed Back Syndrome is a condition where, for some reason, surgery could not treat the cause of the back pain. Now if you are someone who is facing a similar situation and you don’t want to […]

According to an estimate, roughly 20-40% of back surgeries in the US fail to relieve the patient of pain. Failed Back Syndrome is a condition where, for some reason, surgery could not treat the cause of the back pain. Now if you are someone who is facing a similar situation and you don’t want to go through the painful surgical procedure again, Spinal Cord Stimulation would be an effective treatment for you.

Book an appointment now with a spine surgeon in Los Angeles for Spinal Cord Stimulation treatment. You can call us at 213-369-4583 or fill out the contact form.

What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) or dorsal column stimulator (DCS) is an implantable device that sends electrical signals to the spinal cord for the treatment of certain pain conditions. In simple terms, doctors use a spinal cord stimulator to treat chronic pain. They implant it in the body, usually in the lower back, and it sends electrical signals to the spinal cord. These signals interfere with the pain signals sent to the brain, which can help reduce the perception of pain. Spinal cord stimulators often treat chronic pain conditions like failed back syndrome, neuropathic pain, and chronic regional pain syndrome. They can be an effective treatment option for people who have not found relief from other pain management techniques, such as medication or physical therapy.

Who is a candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation Treatment?

A girl showing symptoms of back pain

The primary objective of selecting patients for spinal cord stimulation is to ensure that they have the highest chance of benefiting from the treatment while minimizing the risks, complications and negative outcomes. The best way to achieve this goal is through a thorough assessment by a team of experts in various disciplines and a candid discussion with the patient about their expectations and objectives. This will help determine which patients are most suitable for spinal cord stimulation.

It is recommended for the following conditions:

  • Chronic back pain from failed spinal fusion (non-union)
  • Slow healing of fractured bones
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Diabetes-related neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Arthritis (Or Spinal Arthritis)

Surgical procedure for implanting SCS

The spinal implant is a two-step surgical process:

1. Trial


Before the implantation procedure, doctors will place a temporary spinal cord stimulator on the skin during a trial period to see if it helps reduce the patient’s pain. If the trial is successful, doctors will then schedule the patient for the implantation procedure.

2. Permanent Implant

If the results from the trial implant are promising, you will qualify for the permanent implant.

Procedure

The process for implanting a spinal cord stimulator typically involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia: Doctors typically perform the implantation procedure under local anesthesia and sedation, although they may use general anesthesia in some cases.
  2. Incision: The surgeon will make a small incision in the skin to access the area where they will implant the device.
  3. Implantation of electrodes: The surgeon will then implant the electrodes next to the spinal cord. Thin wire leads connect the electrodes to the generator, which the surgeon will implant in a separate location.
  4. Implantation of generator: Surgeons usually implant the generator, a small device that produces electrical signals, in the abdomen or buttocks.
  5. Closure: The incisions are closed with sutures or staples.

Surgeons typically complete the procedure, which usually takes several hours, on an outpatient basis. After the procedure, the patient will need to rest for a few days before returning to normal activities.

Benefits of using a Spinal Cord Stimulator

Spinal Cord Stimulation Treatment

A spinal cord stimulator is usually considered when the body’s natural healing process is slow or doesn’t respond to other treatment options. Chronic pain can be debilitating and affects millions of people worldwide. Traditional treatments such as oral medication and surgery can be ineffective or have unwanted side effects. Spinal cord stimulation is a revolutionary, non-invasive treatment option that offers adjustable and targeted pain relief, with limited or no side effects. Below we have discussed the advantages of spinal cord stimulation and how it can be a game-changer in managing chronic pain:

1. Personalized Pain Management

Not all patients experience the same level of pain even if they suffer from the same disorder. Spinal cord stimulation offers a wide range of pain adjustment options on the hand-held controller, and some models adjust automatically to the person’s movements. This gives patients the power to control their pain and experience a significant improvement in their quality of life.

2. Less Invasive

Spinal cord stimulation is a minimally invasive procedure that requires only one incision to implant the generator. Surgeons typically place the leads with electrodes using a hollow needle, rather than making an incision. This means patients experience less pain and recover faster, with fewer side effects and complications. If the stimulator doesn’t serve the purpose, it can easily be removed in the future.

3. Less dependence on Pain-killers

Spinal cord stimulation can significantly reduce the need for opioid medication. Studies show that more than a third of participants who received high-frequency therapy reduced or stopped taking opioid medications. This is a significant advantage for patients who have been dealing with chronic pain for many years.

4. Targeted Pain Relief

Spinal cord stimulation delivers pain relief only where it is needed, unlike oral medication which affects the whole body and causes sleepiness, constipation, or other problems unrelated to the pain. This targeted approach ensures that patients experience pain relief without unwanted side effects.

5. Affordable

Spinal cord stimulator is less costly when compared with other surgical and non-surgical treatments for back pain.

6. Long-lasting Pain Relief

One of the major benefits of a Spinal Cord Stimulator is that patients can enjoy a pain-free life for a long time without the need for any maintenance of frequent doctor visits.

Risks and Side effects associated with Spinal Cord Stimulation Treatment (SCS)


Doctors regard SCS as a secure, less invasive treatment for various painful disorders. However, they observe complications, which may fall into two categories: device-related failure or biological causes, in 30-40% of cases. Lead migration, lead breakage, excessive or insufficient stimulation, intermittent stimulation, hardware malfunction, loose connections, and battery failure, are all examples of device-related difficulties. Infection, epidural hemorrhage, seroma, paralysis, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage, discomfort at the implant site, allergic response, and skin disintegration are examples of biological consequences.

Such complications can lead to the following side effects:

  • Infection – Almost all implants run the risk of causing infection in the body. In some cases, stimulators installed within the spine can cause infection creating the need for surgical treatment to cure the infection and remove the implant.
  • Problems with Lead – The hardware of the lead sometimes gets displaced or broken due to movement in the spine. It happens when the movement of the vertebra doesn’t match the flexibility or movement of the spine.
  • Decrease in the effectiveness of pain relief over time.
Neurosurgeon Los Angeles - Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

SCS Implant At Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery

If you are looking for Spinal Cord Stimulation treatment in Los Angeles, you can visit our facility. Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe who is the lead Neurosurgeon here provides spinal cord stimulation treatment to patients suffering from chronic back pain. You can schedule an appointment by filling out the contact form or calling us at (213) 369 4583.

FAQs on Spinal Cord Stimulation Treatment

1. What are the components of a Spinal Cord Stimulator System?

A spinal cord stimulation system is made up of several parts, including an implanted power source known as a neurostimulator, thin wires with electrodes on the tips called leads, a clinician programmer used to program the neurostimulator, a patient programmer for managing pain relief, and a wireless external neurostimulator that mimics the therapy delivered by the implanted neurostimulator.

2. Are all Spinal Cord Stimulators the same?

No. Mainly, there are three types of Spinal Cord Stimulators;

  1. Conventional implantable pulse generator, or IPG. A battery is placed in the spine during an operation. When it runs out, the battery must be replaced in another surgery. This can be a good choice for people with pain in just one body part because they need less energy to manage their pain.
  2. Rechargeable implantable pulse generator. A battery is placed in the spine during an operation. You can recharge it without another surgery. Because the energy source is rechargeable, these stimulators can put out more electricity. This may be a better choice for people with pain in the lower back or both legs. The device is more powerful than conventional IPGs.
  3. Radiofrequency stimulator. This type of Stimulator is an older design. It uses a battery that’s outside the body. The stimulator is rarely used today because of newer designs and better technology. This includes rechargeable batteries. But like the rechargeable IPGs, these may be better for people with pain in the lower back and legs because of the device’s power.

3. Are there any risks of spinal cord stimulator surgery?

Spinal cord therapy is a safe procedure, however, there can be some complications such as infection, device damage, etc. Consult your doctor immediately if there are any complications after the implant.

4. How does Spinal Cord Stimulator Work?


In spinal cord stimulators, doctors connect thin wires (the electrodes) to a small, pacemaker-like battery pack. A generator is usually placed under the skin, usually near the buttocks or abdomen, between the spinal cord and the vertebrae (the epidural space). The remote control and antenna of spinal cord stimulators are both outside the body, so patients can send electrical impulses whenever they feel pain. Experts have come to understand that the device is possibly working by targeting multiple muscle groups directly from the spine. Additionally, they’ve learned that this treatment can alter how the brain senses pain.

Spine bone, neurosurgeon in los angeles

Bulging Disc vs Herniated Disc: Understand the difference

Herniated and Bulging Discs are some of the common causes of back pain in both young and old age. It is more common in old people because both occur due to the deterioration of the spine with age. Bulging disc and Herniated disc mean the same to most people but they are not. In what […]

3D spine model showing a herniated disc

Herniated and Bulging Discs are some of the common causes of back pain in both young and old age. It is more common in old people because both occur due to the deterioration of the spine with age. Bulging disc and Herniated disc mean the same to most people but they are not. In what follows, you will learn the difference between a Bulging Disc and a Herniated Disc.

Schedule an appointment with a Neurosurgeon in Los Angeles: See Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery for the treatment of Bulging and Herniated Disc. You can book an appointment by calling (213)-369 4583 or filling out the contact form.

Structure of Spine

Let’s first understand the anatomy of the spine before we go on explaining the difference between Herniated and Bulging discs. You probably already know that the spine is composed of 33 bones (called vertebrae) stacked over one another. Between these bones, rubber-like fibrous discs are present allowing the vertebrae to slip over one another. Vertebrae and intervertebral discs together make the spinal column and are responsible for the smooth functioning of the spine while maintaining a limited range of motion.

Herniated Disc

The herniated disc gets its name from “hernias” which refers to an organ pushing through a muscle that holds it back. So a Herniated Disc is a condition in which gel-like fluid present in the center of the disc comes out by pushing the wall of the disc. In most cases, patients do not even know they have a Herniated Disc and feel no symptoms at all. However, in severe cases, this fluid can create a bulge creating compression on nearby spine nerves and leading to pain. Herniated Discs can occur in any part along the spine. It is more common in the lower back and neck but the Thoracic spine (middle of the spine) can also get a herniated disc.

Bulging Disc

A bulging disc is very much similar to a Herniated Disc but instead of the gel-like fluid coming out of the disc, it is just pushing the wall of the disc. What it means is that the fluid inside the disc has not ruptured. You can say that a bulging disc is one step behind the herniated disc because if the fluid inside the disc breaks through, it will be termed a Herniated Disc. Bulging discs are less likely to be the cause of pain as the bulge has not ruptured through to compress the neighboring spine nerves like in Herniated Disc.

Why are Herniated and Bulging discs considered to be the same?

People who refer to both Bulging and Herniated discs as Herniated Disc are not wrong. It is because a bulging disc is also a Herniated Disc in the initial stage. Let us clarify this by listing down the stages of a Herniated Disc;

  • Degeneration (when the bulge starts to appear)
  • Prolapse (when the bulge shows growth)
  • Extrusion (this is when the gel-like structure ruptures the disc and protrudes out)
  • Sequestration (when the fluid is no longer attached to the disc)

So bulging disc is one of the initial stages of Herniated disc. Bulging disc when left untreated changes to Herniated disc.

How does the Pain from Herniated and Bulging Disc feel?

If you are experiencing back pain, you might be asking yourself questions like; what if it is because of minor muscle pull or muscle strain and not a disc herniation? By observing the symptoms, you can tell if your back pain is serious or not. Back pain due to a herniated or bulging disc feels different. Following are some of the symptoms you need to look for;

  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Numbness, tingling, and burning sensation in limbs
  • Radiating pain
  • Pain that stays for more than 2 weeks
  • Acute pain triggered when walking or moving

What causes Disc problems in People?

A man standing with both hands on back showing signs of back pain

Some factors make people more vulnerable to getting a Herniated or Bulging disc. These include;
Age – This is the most common cause of disc problems. As we grow old, our bones deteriorate and lose the strength to provide the necessary support to our bodies. Moreover, the cartilage between bones also dries up with age causing friction in joints. Soft and brittle spine discs get cracked easily and thus making it possible for the inner fluid to herniate.
Obesity – Overweight people put extra stress on their spines than necessary. It is also difficult for the backbone to provide support to a heavier body. Thus, the spine gets overused making it susceptible to injuries.
Lifestyle – People who live a poor lifestyle in terms of eating, exercising, maintaining postures, etc. get a herniated disc way sooner than people who do not.
Physically demanding sports – In young people, who do combat sports, sustain injuries during their career which makes them more vulnerable to diseases like a degenerative discs. A severe injury can give you a herniated disc immediately.

You can read in detail about the causes of Hernaited Disc in one of our other articles.

Treatment

If the disc has herniated, surgery is the only remedy. You can try conservative methods but that will only help in managing the pain and won’t give you a permanent solution. There are different types of surgeries used to treat a Herniated disc. For example, discectomy and Artificial Disc Replacement.

The article provides an overview of Herniated discs vs Bulging discs. If you feel any of the symptoms discussed in the above paragraphs, it is strongly recommended that you consult a neurosurgeon immediately so you can have timely treatment.

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Can I have foot pain due to a Back Injury?

The connection between the back and foot might seem remote but it is not. It is possible to experience foot pain due to back injury as there are nerves in your spine that extend all the way down to your legs and feet. Any injury to the spine can damage these nerves and the effect […]

The connection between the back and foot might seem remote but it is not. It is possible to experience foot pain due to back injury as there are nerves in your spine that extend all the way down to your legs and feet. Any injury to the spine can damage these nerves and the effect can trickle down to the feet. However, foot pain due to back injury is different from normal pain. Coming next, you will learn the connection between a back injury and foot pain and how you could tell if your the pain is due to a problem in your spine. 

See a Neurosurgeon in Los Angeles for the treatment of aching foot due to back injury: You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe who is the lead neurosurgeon at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery. Fill out the contact form or call the clinic at (213)-369 4583.

Symptoms of Foot Pain due to Back Injury

Foot pain due to back injury

Normal foot pain due to an ankle twist or a minor injury goes away within 4-5 days with little massage and care. Spinal injury-induced foot pain worsens over time. Such foot pain exhibits the following symptoms;

  • Numbness and tingling in the foot
  • Pain that radiates from the lower back
  • Weakness in legs
  • Numbness in the area around the hip, calf, and leg

What Causes Foot Pain?

Spinal nerves in the lumbar (lower) spine travel all the way down to your legs and end at your feet. The pain is normally caused when there is a compression or irritation in the nerve roots. Other than this, nerve compression in the hip, knee or foot itself can also cause the pain. 

Following are some of the most common reasons that can cause nerve compression in the lumbar spine leading to foot pain. 

Disc degeneration is one of the main causes of lower back pain that can lead to foot pain. Disc degeneration causes various diseases, such as facet joint syndrome in the lower back, scoliosis, bone spurs, osteoarthritis, among others. This condition occurs when discs in vertebrae degenerate due to wear and tear as a result of aging. These discs have gel-like fluid in them that slips through the crack of deteriorated discs and compresses the nearby spinal nerves. 

  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when the space inside the vertebrae narrows due to factors such as arthritis, herniated disc, osteophytes, etc. Symptoms of spinal stenosis take time to appear. Normally, people with ages above 50 are diagnosed with spinal stenosis but it can also occur in young people in case of direct injury to the spine. 

  • Disc Herniation

Vertebrae have soft jelly-like discs between them to provide stability and flexibility to the spine. Disc herniation occurs when the soft part within these discs slips out due to a crack in the outer port portion of the disc. It creates a bulge that can compress nerves in the lower spine causing pain.

  • Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra in the spine slips onto the other vertebra below/above it. When a vertebra slips out of its position, it can exert pressure on the neighboring nerves causing nerve compression. Spondylolisthesis can occur anywhere in the spine but it commonly occurs in the lumbar spine.

Sciatica

This is one of the most common conditions associated with foot pain. It derives its name from the sciatic nerve that originates from your lower back and runs all the way down to your feet. One of the reasons mentioned above compresses this nerve, causing foot pain. You can tell apart the foot pain due to sciatica from regular foot pain by observing symptoms. If your foot pain is accompanied by pain in your lower back and you sense tingling and numbness in the foot, it is most probably due to sciatica.

Treatment of Foot Pain due to Back Injury

Depending upon the cause of the pain, different treatment methods can be used. Two major categories of treatment for foot pain due to back injury are; nonsurgical or conservative treatments and surgical treatments. 

Conservative Treatments

If the nerve compression is not severe, different combinations of conservative treatments can help manage the pain. Following are some of the most commonly used conservative treatments;

Surgical Treatments

Treating the underlying issue with surgery becomes necessary if nonsurgical methods are ineffective. By now, you must have realized that the major reason for foot pain due to back injury is compression in the lumbar spine. Surgery becomes necessary to decompress the nerves and relieve patients of pain. For instance, microdiscectomy treats a herniated disc, while artificial disc replacement surgery replaces a degenerated disc.

Surgery is a permanent solution to nerve compression however, it comes with risks. At times, patients avoid surgery due to fears of post-surgical infections, bleeding, or anesthesia. 

Read more about different surgical and non-surgical treatments for back pain

Minimally Invasive Surgical (MIS) Methods

Open surgeries have many drawbacks; excessive blood loss and long recovery periods to name a few. To avoid these, neurosurgeons nowadays use less invasive techniques. Minimally invasive surgeries are less painful and have a fast recovery. However, not all conditions are treated with MIS. Your doctor will decide which approach to go with. He/she takes into account a number of factors; location and severity of the injury, age of the patient, patient’s preference, and medical history.

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Lower Back Pain After Accident

After getting into a vehicle accident, feeling sore in one or more parts of the body is expected. It is also common to get one’s back twitched during the collision and feel lower back pain after an accident. Most of the time, back pain goes away with some rest and over-the-counter painkillers. However, if this […]

After getting into a vehicle accident, feeling sore in one or more parts of the body is expected. It is also common to get one’s back twitched during the collision and feel lower back pain after an accident. Most of the time, back pain goes away with some rest and over-the-counter painkillers. However, if this is not the case and you feel severe back pain after 2 weeks of the accident, this can be a sign of serious injury. In such a situation it becomes important to know the cause. In what follows, we will explain why you might be feeling back pain long after the accident and what could be done about it.

Spine surgeon in Los Angeles Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

Consult a Spine Surgeon in Los Angeles

This article will provide you with a good understanding of lower back pain after an accident, its causes, and treatments. You can get a fair idea if your back pain is serious and what steps you can take further. However, for complete diagnosis and timely treatment, you should see a neurosurgeon. 

You can see a neurosurgeon in Los Angeles by visiting Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery. Schedule an appointment by filling out the contact form or calling us at (213)-369 4583.

Symptoms of Lower Back Injury After Accident

For a few days after the accident, you might not be able to differentiate your backache from your overall body ache as you will be feeling sore all over. With time, if the body ache recovers but the back pain doesn’t, it indicates there might be an injury to your back. A minor injury to the back causing spasm or muscle pull is not very serious and can be cured with nonsurgical treatments. However, if the spine has been damaged in any way, it poses a worrisome situation. But how could you know which one is the case? One way is to look for symptoms. A minor back injury has different symptoms from a spinal injury.

Minor Back Injury Symptoms

  • Spasm
  • Severe pain but bearable
  • Doesn’t last for more than 2 weeks
  • Gets better with massage and other treatments

Serious Spine Injury Symptoms

  • Unbearable pain in the lower back
  • Pain that radiates from the source to legs, arms, or forearms
  • Loss of control over bladder and bowel
  • Tingling or numbness in feet, arms, or legs
  • Faintness and sweating
  • Insensitivity to touch or needles

What Causes Lower Back Pain after an accident?

A man sitting with his hand on the back showing signs of backache

Car accidents most likely injure the neck and back. What might seem like a little collision, has the chance of injuring your spine. There are many possible causes of back pain after an accident. It could be due to a traumatic injury, such as a herniated disc or spinal cord injury. Or, it could be the result of whiplash, which can damage the soft tissues in the neck and back.

Given below are some of the potential causes of lower back pain after an accident:

Whiplash

Whiplash refers to the back-and-forth motion. During a car accident, due to a collision, a person’s neck moves back and forth with force, causing injury to the neck. It is one of the most common injuries sustained during a vehicle accident. Whiplash injuries typically affect the cervical spine only, but severe collisions can also injure the lower back to compensate for the overall impact. Depending upon the severity of the collision, the injury can be as minor as getting a neck sprain or as big as getting a herniated disc.

Slipped Disc or Herniated Disc

Inside our vertebrae, several discs stack over one another, containing a soft jelly-like substance known as Nucleus Pulposus, which functions as a shock absorber for the spine. When the vertebrae sustain a serious injury during an accident, this jelly-like substance breaks the wall and protrudes from the disc. This creates a bulge that can lead to compression of spinal nerves causing pain to the person.

Vertebral fractures

People of age or with medical conditions like osteoporosis can suffer vertebral fractures due to an accident. This can also be one of the causes of lower back pain after an accident. If the fracture is minor, you might not feel much pain but a little crack can always turn into a major fracture. Therefore, medical professionals always recommend having X-ray scans after an accident.

Sprains and Strains

Less serious conditions like strains and sprains occur when excessive stress is exerted on the back muscle, and they can be treated with conservative methods. In the worst cases, a person might tear his muscle or ligament.

Injury to Facet Joints

The facet joints, also known as the posterior side of the spine, are joints located in the back of the spine. There are facet joints at each vertebral level, one on each side of the spine. These joints, if healthy, glide and slide over one another as a person moves his back and prevent over-twisting. High-impact vehicle collisions can damage these joints making it hard for a person to do his daily activities.

Treatment for Lower Back Pain After Accident 

treatment options for lower back pain after accident


As discussed above, if doctors diagnose the cause of back pain as minor, conservative treatments will suffice. These include;

  • Massage
  • Medications
  • Yoga
  • Heat and ice therapies

For serious spine injuries, patients receive surgical treatment. Various surgical methods can treat lower back pain after serious injury accidents;

  • Discectomy
  • Spinal Fusion
  • Vertebroplasty
  • Laminotomy