Pauza Blog

Yoga and What the Spine Experts Say

04

May 2017

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…

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The Domino Effect - Facts Reported After Spine Fusion

17

Jan 2017

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…

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Spine Fusions Stopped in North Carolina

30

Sep 2016

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…

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Discography May Accelerate Disc Degeneration

09

Sep 2016

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.

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Why ‘Useless’’ Surgery is Still Popular

08

Aug 2016

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…

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How Backpacks Affect the Adolescent Spine

22

Jul 2016

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…

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Landmark New England Journal of Medicine Study: “Spinal Fusion Surgery - The Case For Restraint”

28

Jun 2016

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

 

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Resolution of Lumbar Disk Herniation without Surgery

22

Jun 2016

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.

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9 Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Spine

14

Jun 2016

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…

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Why Tiger Wood’s Back Surgery was ‘Par for the Course’

12

May 2016

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…

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Is a Leaky Disc Causing Your Lower Back Pain?

14

Apr 2016

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.

Leaky…

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