Archive for October, 2009

Patients should be extremely careful when spine websites make claims about their results without any published data from peer-reviewed sources. I am proud to display my training and published works but note other sites do not do this. Laser has become a very frequently sited example of these kinds of claims. Look for the published results! Most spine surgeons understand the role of laser but it really is just another cutting tool and there are many other minimally invasive ways to treat the spine that have documented outcomes.Most cases of stenosis are not as simple as removing a disc where laser is most likely to be a reasonable choice.Spinal stenosis requires a large thoughtout decision that include stabilization when there is associated slip or evidence of excessive instability.

Patients need to really understand the damage obesity causes to their spine which will cause compression of disc. The disc is fluid filled and load causes outer rim to bulge where it may contact the spinal nerves. This pressure causes sciatic symtoms. The number one goal should be to lower processed foods and decrease sugar carbs in your diet as well as steady routine of exercise. So much of these problems can be prevented. Pain meds and injections only treat the symptoms.

I believe that my philosophy of team approach with Dr Geisse a recent addition to our practice give each patient the benefit of a spine surgeon and neurologist perspectus. We try medication and she has introduced many new options to my addition of nerve blocks for sciatica and back pain. We have lowered surgical option to under 5 percent.

I strongly believe spinal surgeons need stay in control of what happens to patients after referrals to pain management. These doctors are good at needle placement but do not have real understanding of spinal pathology.I feel we meet patients when they are most vulnerable and can easily be sold on things that cannot possibly solve their problem. We must protect our patients and be available for them is the real challenge for all spinal surgeons.

One must understand natural aging will cause changes in the spine. In most cases good diet and exercise will delay the process. Unfortunately too little to late is what I see too often. Your spine is in need of day-to-day activity so that the bone or outer disc remain strong. Most herniations occur because the disc becomes weaken and the inner fluid leaks out thru a small defect. Fortunately.80 percent do not need surgery if there is no serious compression of the sciatic nerve.

I review many failed back surgery cases and find a common theme. In most cases, patients do not have a precise vision of what to expect long-term after their surgery. All patients need to understand that most spinal surgeries are salvage procedures that only can partially solve such issues as pain or weakness. Not to be depressed by less then perfect results,as long as patients understand until we have biological solutions the patient results should target 70-80 percent improvement after surgery.Most spinal conditions represent natural aging and this is a factor that affects long-term results. My best patients are realistic and have reviewed and performed personal research prior to having a procedure. I think they need to use google or yahoo to help learn about alternatives and find Internet sites such as or look at the website of their physician to learn their credentials. Surgery in my practice is only considered after failure of all non- surgical options.

spine wellness- I am glad to see that you really care about the whole person in your patients- not just their backs- Dr Benefield- director of spine wellness

The spine is like the heart muscle and needs to be condition each day. The first disc surgery was in about 1934 as prior to then people were active. It is very important to do load bearing activity so as to make the disc strong so the liquid inner nuclear material does not leak out. Walking,yoga.running, the gym can very much help prevent herneation of the disc.