Is a Leaky Disc Causing Your Lower Back Pain?

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 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.

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Why Tiger Woods’ 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 on his personal experience associated with patients like

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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

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Resolution of Lumbar Disc Herniation Without Surgery

Every day we see patients with disc bulges or lumbar disc herniation 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 doctors and PAs 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. A true indication for surgery is incontinence and/ or rapidly progressing paralysis of the extremities

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Landmark Study on Spinal Fusion Surgery

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?  

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How Backpacks Affect the Adolescent Spine

Back pain that affects the adolescent spine 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 study found the amount of time students spent carrying backpacks and the

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Why “Useless’’ Spine Fusion 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 non-surgical 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 that has not happened, according to a recent report printed

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Discography May Accelerate Disc Degeneration

It’s no secret that low back pain is a leading cause of “unwanted” lost workdays. 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. Discography was introduced in the 1940s. During discography, x-ray contrast is injected into the center

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Is a Leaky Disc Causing Your Lower Back Pain?

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 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 »