Spinal Fusions Worsen Opioid Epidemic
Because it’s know that spinal fusions cause irreversible damage to good discs adjacent to fusions1,2, it makes sense that spinal fusions are big contributors to the opioid epidemic. The relationship between taking opioids and spine surgery is becoming more important as fusion volumes continue rising and opioid use continues to rise.3
A respected orthopedic journal, (The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery), reported that 84% of patients who undergo even simple…
Fusion Surgery Often Worsens Spines
Efforts to stop spine fusions where not indicated in states and countries are succeeding, and for good reason. A Washing Post article reviewed 125,000 fusion patient records, while reporting on the recent 600% rise of spinal fusions. Experts and professional societies noted that over half of these patients should not have been treated with spinal fusions. What motivates those fusions?…READ MORE
Spine Epidural Corticosteroid Injections Lack FDA Approval
Did you know Spine Epidural Corticosteroid Injections Lack FDA approval? Many doctors and patients don’t recognize spine epidural injections lack FDA approval. These frequent injections are done in spite of research that shows they may cause long term harm to the patients. Not only are epidural injections not FDA approved, they are covered by insurance. This fact leaves many scratching their heads. Why is it that many insurance providers continue to pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year for epidural injections even though they don’t provide a solution to the problem? Ironically, many vials of corticosteroids have warning labels on them in bold letters communicating against its use for epidurals, yet they continue to be used. Why…READ MORE
Should You Be Concerned About Your Neck Symptoms?
Many patients that suffer from cervical disc pain, the portion of the spine located in the neck, may be experiencing symptoms that seem unrelated to neck pain, however, these symptoms may be a direct result of cervical disc herniation. Pain and symptoms from cervical disc herniations and tears can develop slowly over time and suddenly appear. The type of symptoms can vary from a dull, nagging pain, to pain that is quite debilitating.
Patients will often say “I have a crick in my neck”. This can be mild and only a little uncomfortable and stiff, or may grow to be sharp, stabbing pain. If moving your neck causes pain, but keeping it still causes the pain the go away, then there is a chance that…READ MORE
Avoid Bending and Twisting
Did you know that every day activities involving bending forward and twisting may cause back pain? Bending forward (flexion) and twisting (rotation) are shear and compressive forces on the disc that lead to torn, herniated discs causing low back and leg pain. These movements done repetitively cause wear and tear on the discs, which lead towards tears and herniations. Once the disc tears, its inner jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus, leaks through those tears, causing chemical inflammation of the spinal nerves leading to back and leg pain (Sciatica) In order to have proper body mechanics one must avoid bending and twisting as a whole, and instead, utilize their legs to bend at the knees to squat down versus bending at the waist. This…READ MORE
Yoga and What the Spine Experts Say
Spine experts Kevin Pauza, MD and Richard Deyo, MD recently weighed in on an often asked question, “Is yoga good for my back pain?”. In a recent Consumer Reports article, Richard Deyo, MD, Professor of Evidence-Based Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, and author of the guidelines released by the American College of Physicians (ACP), recommended non-drug remedies, including yoga first, for patients struggling with back pain.
Kevin Pauza, MD, Founding Partner of Texas Spine and Joint Hospital and Manhattan Spine and Joint Institute, said he directs his patients towards facts when…READ MORE
The Domino Effect - Facts Reported After Spine Fusion
The Domino Effect - Facts Reported After Spine Fusion
Whether you believe in a creator or evolution, your spine’s design is perfect for moving and bending. Unfortunately, spine fusions unnaturally connect spaces meant to move freely using metal rods, screws, or cages. Because fusions permanently immobilize spines, they eventually damage discs above and below fusions by overloading them with mechanical forces1. Thus, fusions accelerate degeneration of adjacent discs, causing the damaging domino effect 2.
Research demonstrates the domino effect is caused by cervical and lumbar spine fusions and may cause patients to need additional spine surgery3,4,5, and unfortunately, repeat surgery increases the domino effect even…READ MORE
Spine Fusions Stopped in North Carolina
Spine Surgeons voiced fear nationwide that one of their highest paid spine procedures, spine fusions, attempting to treat degenerative disc pain, won’t be paid for by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Because spine surgery lobbyists have no evidence to justify fusions, they are now being denied. Poor outcomes are causing fusions to fall under scrutiny worldwide. (Reference) Many scientific articles, including the New England Journal of Medicine, and a European Spine treatment Guideline referenced an article stating: “The tide of scientific evidence seems to go against the spinal fusions in degenerative disc…READ MORE
Discography May Accelerate Disc Degeneration
It’s no secret that low back pain is a leading cause of “unwanted” lost work days. Low back pain is not a disease, but instead may be caused by several problems, the most common being degenerative discs.1 Degenerative discs may also lead to facet joint arthritis pain and “sciatica” nerve pain.
To help pinpoint pain sources, discography was historically offered because MRIs couldn’t reliably identify pain. Discography was used to plan spine surgery, however today spine fusions themselves are being questioned because of long-term fusion concerns.READ MORE
Why ‘Useless’’ Surgery is Still Popular
A New York Times article stated “Spine fusion surgery is no better than alternative non-surgical treatments.” Unlike most operations, spinal fusion, was tested in four clinical trials. The conclusion was that “surgery was no better than alternative nonsurgical treatments, like supervised exercise and therapy to help patients deal with their fear of back pain”. The studies were completed by the early 2000s and should have been enough to greatly limit or stop spinal fusions, according to Dr. Richard Deyo, professor of evidence-based medicine at the Oregon Health and Sciences University. But…READ MORE
How Backpacks Affect the Adolescent Spine
Back pain that begins at a young age is considered to be a precursor to adult chronic low back pain. Over 90% of children in the United States carry backpacks, therefore, it is imperative, that they are instructed on proper backpack use, as carrying backpacks incorrectly at a young age could lead to long term back pain issues. More than 60% of adolescents ages six to nineteen, reported back pain associated with backpack use according to a clinical study printed in The Spine Journal Volume 16 (2016)1. This particular…READ MORE
Landmark New England Journal of Medicine Study: “Spinal Fusion Surgery - The Case For Restraint”
Spinal fusion rates continue to increase dramatically in the United States. Oddly enough, this landmark study shows the rise is related financial incentives and other variables not associated with the patient's well being. This respected journal states that the annual number of spinal fusions rose by 77% within 5 years. This is confirmed in this publication: NEJM Spinal- Fusion Surgery-The Case for Restraint
Why do you think so many unnecessary spinal fusions are happening?
Written By: Carrie Aurelius
Resolution of Lumbar Disk Herniation without Surgery
Everyday we see patients with disc bulges like the patient below who were told to have steroid injections, physical therapy but eventually they are pointed to surgery. This landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine proves many discs improve on their own without surgery. What motivates doctor's and PA's to not share this type of information with patients allowing truly informed consent? As you can see below, her herniation healed on its own without surgery, likely through time. True indication for surgery is incontinence and/ or rapidly progressing paralysis of the extremities over a short time. If you have been told you need surgery for a disc herniation, let this study encourage you that time may on your side.
9 Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Spine
Lifestyle choices play an important role in the health of your spine. When we are young, the bones in our spine are strong, our muscles are limber and our discs are at a healthy height, allowing us to move effortlessly. Participation in athletic activities coupled with poor body mechanics can mark the beginning of disc damage because excessive flexion and rotation of the spine can lead to annular tears in our discs. In our adult years, life gets busy with careers, families and hobbies, and it becomes easier to make poor lifestyle choices that unknowingly put extra force on our spine, leading to torn discs, which…READ MORE
Why Tiger Wood’s Back Surgery was ‘Par for the Course’
Recently, Tiger Woods spoke with Robby Kalland of CBS Sports about his recovery after back surgery. “Health-wise, I continue to improve. Still no timetable on my return, but I’m excited to get back out there with the guys."1
I work alongside Kevin Pauza, M.D., a spine specialist who focuses on treating patients who have had prior failed spine surgery. I recently spoke about Tiger Woods with Dr Pauza. “I wish Woods a full recovery, but unless he changes course, there’s little reason to feel optimistic about his recovery.” His thoughts are based…READ MORE
Is a Leaky Disc Causing Your Lower Back Pain?
A leading culprit of low back pain is commonly undiagnosed by many physicians.
If you suffer from chronic low back pain, you have likely run the gamut of searching for solutions only to be left with more questions and mounting frustrations. A major obstacle to successfully diagnosing and treating low back pain is not understanding that a leaky disc is often the source of your pain. Many patients are diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease, however it isn't a actually a disease—it's a name given to discs that have degenerated over time from normal wear and tear, causing them to steadily leak and become dark and flat.READ MORE