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Frequently Asked Questions: What is the difference between x-rays, MRI, and CT scan?

October 30th, 2012

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is the difference between x-rays, MRI, and CT scan?

X-rays are a type of radiation, and when they pass through the body, dense objects such as bone block the radiation and appear white on the x-ray film, while less dense tissues appear gray and are difficult to see. X-rays are typically used to diagnose and assess bone degeneration or disease, fractures and dislocations, infections, or tumors. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, combines a powerful magnet with radio waves (instead of x-rays) and a computer to manipulate magnetic elements of internal organs and tissue to create highly detailed images of structures in the body. Images are viewed as cross sections or “slices” of the body part being scanned. There is no radiation involved as with x-rays. MRI scans are frequently used to diagnose bone, joint, and soft tissue problems. A computed tomography (CT) scan (also known as CAT scan) is […]

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is spinal stenosis?

October 23rd, 2012

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is spinal stenosis?

Stenosis refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal, usually in the lower back (lumbar) region. Stenosis produces a dull, aching pain in the lower back when standing or walking. The pain usually radiates down into the buttocks and thighs, and can be relieved by sitting, or by using a walker or a shopping cart in the grocery store. These symptoms usually slowly get worse over time, and people who suffer from spinal stenosis will notice a slow decrease in their ability to walk shorter and shorter distances. Lumbar stenosis is a natural product of aging, and the wear and tear on the spine throughout our lives. As our bodies grow older, the ligaments and bones that make up the spine grow thicker and become stiffer. The spinal canal gradually narrows, and the spinal cord is slowly compressed. The lack […]

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is radiculopathy/nerve impingement?

October 18th, 2012

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is radiculopathy/nerve impingement?

Radiculopathy refers to a condition in which the spinal nerve roots are irritated or compressed. Many people refer to it as having a “pinched nerve.” Lumbar nerve impingement indicates that the nerve roots in the lower spine are involved, while cervical radiculopathy is associated with nerve roots in the neck. Nerve impingement is most often caused by a herniated disk or spinal stenosis. Learn more about “pinched nerves”: Minimally Invasive Posterior Cervical Discectomy Back pain: Key points to know, and what causes it Microdiscectomy: Minimally Invasive Treatment of Herniated Discs Degenerative Disc Disease: Symptoms & Information More Frequently Asked Questions: What is degenerative disk disease? What is sciatica? What is a bulging/ruptured/herniated disk? What is spinal stenosis? What is the difference between x-rays, MRI, and CT scan? What is an EMG or NCS? What is physical therapy? . To learn […]

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is a bulging/ruptured/herniated disk?

October 16th, 2012

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is a bulging/ruptured/herniated disk?

The disks in your spine are your “shock absorbers” between the bones (vertebras). With forces too strong for the disk to support, such as, lifting an object that is too heavy or lifting it improperly, tears in the disk or a herniation of the disk may occur. A herniated disk is also called a bulging, protruding or “slipped” disk which may cause specific pain patterns from the back into the buttocks, hips, and/or legs. The ways in which a herniated disc causes different pain patterns and problems with your back is related to the location of the herniated disc along your spine, and also to the anatomy of your spinal column. If the injured disk is in the low back, it may produce pain, numbness, or weakness in the lower back, leg, or foot. If the injured disk is in […]

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is sciatica?

October 11th, 2012

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is sciatica?

In the low back, nerves join to form the sciatic nerve, which runs down into the leg and controls the leg muscles. Sciatica is the descriptive term for when pain runs from your back or buttocks down your leg and even into your foot. It is a condition caused by either compression or trauma of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is made worse when you cough or if someone lifts your leg up while you are lying down. Symptoms may begin abruptly or gradually, are usually irritated by movement, and often grow worse at night. Sciatica implies that there is an irritation of your nerve root in the lower part of your spine. In some instances, this could be due to a ruptured or herniated disc in your lower back. Sciatica: What is it and how is it treated? Written by […]

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is degenerative disk disease?

October 11th, 2012

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Frequently Asked Questions: What is degenerative disk disease?

Degenerative disk disease is a gradual or rapid deterioration of the chemical composition and physical properties of the disc space. It can occur anywhere in the spine: low back (lumbar), mid-back (thoracic), or neck (cervical). Under the age of 30, these disks are normally soft, and they act as cushions for the vertebrae. With age, the material in these lumbar disks becomes less flexible and the disks begin to erode, losing some of their height. As their thickness decreases, their ability to act as a cushion lessens. The less dense cushion now alters the position of the vertebrae and the ligaments that connect them. In some cases, the loss of density can even cause the vertebra to shift their positions. As the vertebrae shift and affect the other bones, the nerves can get caught or pinched and muscle spasms can […]

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An Introduction to Back Pain: Part 3

October 3rd, 2012

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An Introduction to Back Pain: Part 3

This is the third in a 3-part series Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Written by Michael J. Musacchio, Jr., M.D. We hope you have been enjoying the series about low back pain and it’s causes and origins. Part 1 covered myofascial pain, part 2 covered facetogenic pain, and this week’s topic is the often misunderstood discogenic pain. I hope you find this series informative and helpful! Low back pain is an exceptionally common condition in which an estimated half to three-quarters of the adult population will experience at least one memorable episode of back pain per year and up to 1 in 10 will develop chronic back pain. Acute back pain, which resolves within weeks, is typically attributed to the soft connective tissues. Once pain goes beyond three months, it is considered chronic and the physiology of […]

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September 25th, 2012

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An Introduction to Back Pain: Part 2

This is the second in a 3-part series Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Written by Michael J. Musacchio, Jr., M.D. We hope you read last week’s post about low back pain in which we covered myofascial pain. There are several causes of back pain and this week we look at another cause. Low back pain is an exceptionally common condition in which an estimated half to three-quarters of the adult population will experience at least one memorable episode of back pain per year and up to 1 in 10 will develop chronic back pain. Acute back pain, which resolves within weeks, is typically attributed to the soft connective tissues. Once pain goes beyond three months, it is considered chronic and the physiology of this pain can become quite complex. Chronic back pain is typically attributed to traumatic […]

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September 18th, 2012

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An Introduction to Back Pain

This is the first in a 3-part series Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Written by Michael J. Musacchio, Jr., M.D. Low back pain is an exceptionally common condition in which an estimated half to three-quarters of the adult population will experience at least one memorable episode of back pain per year and up to 1 in 10 will develop chronic back pain. Acute back pain, which resolves within weeks, is typically attributed to the soft connective tissues. Once pain goes beyond three months, it is considered chronic and the physiology of this pain can become quite complex. Chronic back pain is typically attributed to traumatic or degenerative conditions, and may include a variety of physiologic, psychological, and social influences. Most patients with chronic back pain will respond to conservative treatments as anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapies, and therapeutic […]

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Summer Heat, Maintaining Workouts & Keeping Your Back Healthy

July 11th, 2012

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Summer Heat, Maintaining Workouts & Keeping Your Back Healthy

Written by Michael J. Musacchio, Jr., M.D. We are definitely feeling the heat here in North Texas and this hot weather is here to stay for the next few months. That is no excuse, however, for us not to keep up with exercise and core strengthening. While the heat may limit a lot of outdoor activities, some of the best exercises for your low back and spine can be accomplished indoors or in the pool. When it comes to training in a gym, there are some basic principles to keep in mind to avoid aggravating back injuries. In general, it is best to keep your exercises low impact and avoid excess strain on the low back. For instance, jogging can be a high impact activity on the spine and joints. We typically recommend walking on the treadmill at an incline, […]

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Stem Cell
Therapy

Center for Spine Care offers stem cell therapy as a conservative treatment to promote natural healing for back or neck pain. Utilizing mesenchymal stem cells, this new method is used to treat patients with neck and back pain caused from degenerative disc disease.