Reasons Facet Joint Injections Fail

Doctors are treating facet joints at explosively increasing rates; so much so that the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG-DHHS) initiated an inquiry. The OIG-DHHS stated there was often a lack of medical necessity or indication for facet joint injections and other facet joint treatments. So what’s behind this growing trend of repetitive facet joint treatments? And why don’t these facet joint treatments work?

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Neck pain

Neck Pain – Is Surgery the Most Effective Treatment?

If you’ve been experiencing neck pain, you may think surgery is your only option for a chance at relief. Before undertaking such a serious decision, it’s important to determine whether surgery is actually the most effective option for treating neck pain. As medical technology improves and our understanding of cervical disc issues expands, more options for treating pain that may actually be more effective are brought to light, and they may be worth considering. How do I know how serious my neck pain is? First of all, it’s important to know when neck pain is a result of something serious,

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artificial disc replacement vs spinal fusion

Artificial Disc Replacement vs Spinal Fusion – What’s the Difference?

Spinal fusion is one of the most common surgical treatment options for those with severe back pain that has failed to see relief from conservative treatments. Artificial disc replacement has been increasing in popularity as well since gaining FDA approval in the early 2000s. However, the question is, what’s the real difference between these procedures?

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Fibrin is the Only True Solution for Degenerative Disc Disease

WHAT IS DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE? Our spinal discs serve a crucial role in the body because they absorb the many shocks and compressive forces that our bodies are subjected to. As we age, our spinal discs gradually lose their water and protein content, resulting in the decline of their flexibility, elasticity, and shock-absorbing characteristics. This gradual loss of fluid and function is part of the natural process of growing older and is referred to as Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). Degenerative Disc Disease isn’t truly a disease because everyone develops degenerated discs as they age. When the discs leak, people often

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Resolution of Lumbar Disc 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

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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?  

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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 that has not happened, according to a recent report printed in

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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. Discography was introduced in the 1940’s. During discography, x-ray contrast is injected into the center

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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 disease. After decades of advances in this field, the

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Reasons Facet Joint Injections Fail

Doctors are treating facet joints at explosively increasing rates; so much so that the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG-DHHS) initiated an inquiry. The OIG-DHHS stated there was often a lack of medical necessity or indication for facet joint injections and other facet joint treatments. So what’s behind this growing trend of repetitive facet joint treatments? And why don’t these facet joint treatments work?

Read More »
artificial disc replacement vs spinal fusion

Artificial Disc Replacement vs Spinal Fusion – What’s the Difference?

Spinal fusion is one of the most common surgical treatment options for those with severe back pain that has failed to see relief from conservative treatments. Artificial disc replacement has been increasing in popularity as well since gaining FDA approval in the early 2000s. However, the question is, what’s the real difference between these procedures?

Read More »