Friday, October 22, 2010

Spinal Cord Stimulation

By Medtronics

As an intervention for chronic back and/or leg pain, spinal cord stimulation can be an effective alternative or adjunct treatment to other therapies that have failed to manage pain on their own.
Spinal cord stimulation alleviates pain by electrically activating pain-inhibiting neuronal circuits in the dorsal horn and inducing a tingling sensation (paresthesia) that masks the sensations of pain.


A Medtronic implantable neurostimulation system is indicated for spinal cord stimulation (SCS) as an aid in the management of chronic, intractable pain of the trunk and/or limbs—including unilateral or bilateral pain associated with the following conditions:
  • Failed Back Syndrome (FBS) or low back syndrome or failed back
  • Radicular pain syndrome or radiculopathies resulting in pain secondary to FBSS or herniated disk
  • Postlaminectomy pain
  • Multiple back operations
  • Unsuccessful disk surgery
  • Degenerative Disk Disease (DDD)/herniated disk pain refractory to conservative and surgical therapies
  • Peripheral causalgia
  • Epidural fibrosis
  • Arachnoiditis or lumbar adhesive arachnoiditis
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), or causalgia

How Spinal Cord Stimulation Treats Chronic Pain

Spinal cord stimulation involves the delivery of mild electrical signals to the epidural space. Pain signals are "masked" by the perception of a tingling sensation (parasthesia) in the area where the pain was felt.

Published studies have shown that when used by carefully selected chronic pain patients, neurostimulation may:

  • Effectively improve pain relief (a majority of patients may experience at least a 50% reduction in pain)2-4
  • Increase activity levels2-5
  • Reduce the use of narcotic medications3-5
  • Lead to reduced hospitalizations and surgical procedures, reduced health care costs, greater independence, and improved quality of life2-4

Additionally, spinal cord stimulation offers the following advantages:

  • Screening trial allows testing of a patient's response before a full implant
  • Patient control within physician-set limits
  • Non-destructive procedure compared with surgical alternatives

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Rules For Pain

New Rules For Pain

Technique for Lifting Heavy Objects

Many back problems occur not because the object is too heavy but rather because of the way it was lifted.
Most people go through life leaning forward to lift ... and  the spine takes the full brunt of the force!

It doesnt matter how young or old you may be. Its important everyone uses safe techniques to prevent strain to your back.

Here are a few things to remember next time you offer to move something.
  • The first step to lifting a heavy object safely is to get as close to it as you can. Ideally, the object should be underneath you.

  • Next, take a wide stance. Legs should be wider than shoulders, with your weight anchored firmly into the ground or floor.

  • Try different foot positions until you find the one that feels the most stable and comfortable. Try putting your left foot front, then your right. Or keep them parallel, but widen your stance. Once you have found your comfort level, get ready to use that position.

  • Bend your knees and lift the object from underneath. You will be using the muscles in your hips and legs to do the heavy work. Avoid bending at the waist, which can cause you to injure a disk or strain your back.

  • If you are lifting an unwieldy object, like a heavy bag of soil, get someone to help you. Taking a chance on lifting it is not worth the risk to your back.

  • A trick for making sure you're lifting objects safely: Keep a long spine. Think about a line that goes from your head through your spine all the way down to your coccyx bone. Your body should stay in that position when lifting.
  • One way to prepare your spine and find "the line" easily is to do the cat-cow yoga stretch. It will take you through arching and rounding your spine, warming it up and helping you to become more aware of the position of your back.

  • Keeping your arms close to your body can help ensure that you're lifting an object safely. This will help keep the lifting efficient, helping you avoid shoulder, arm and back strain.

  • When lifting your object, keep your knees in line with your toes. This will help you avoid knee strain, now that you are using hips and knees instead of your back. Don't let your knees drop inward or outward -- this will help your body stay aligned during the movement.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What exercise can I do to reduce low back pain?

Dr Ostadian and Dr Yeh believe it important to exercise daily and make sure physical activity is part of a your regular routine. Below are some simple exercises patients can try at home.

Pelvic tilt
Lie on your back with your knees bent. In this relaxed position, Lift your back so your hips are not touching the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles so that the small of your back presses flat against the floor. Hold for five seconds then relax. Repeat three times and gradually build to 10 repetitions.

Lie on your back with both legs straight. Bring one knee up to your chest, pressing the small of your back into the floor (pelvic tilt). Hold for five seconds and repeat five times. Repeat exercise on other leg.
Back stretch
Lie on your stomach. Use your arms to push your upper body off the floor. Hold for five seconds. Let your back relax and sag. Repeat 10 times. Discontinue any exercise that produces or increases pain in the leg.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pain Management Support & Information

There are many organizations and support groups that are focused on providing both assistance and information on pain management. Chronic pain is complex and all patients require a different treatment plan.There are no easy answers. Get the support you need, from medical physicians and from others who, like yourself, are walking this path.

Here are selected links to those resources:

American Pain Foundation

American Academy of Pain Medicine

American Cancer Society

American Chronic Pain Association

American Pain Society

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Friday, October 1, 2010


We are so excited that our website is finally finished!

We hope you'll check it out!

Our website provides patients information about our doctors, conditions we treat,  procedures we offer and answers to questions they may have.