Blog

November 3rd, 2010

Blog

Degenerative Disc Disease: Symptoms & Information

A common diagnosis in the spine is a condition called Degenerative Disc Disease or DDD. This is a condition that spine specialists encounter every day in our clinics, but what is it exactly? The actual definition of DDD is hard to pinpoint as it encompasses a number of processes occurring in your spine, some of which are harmful and some of which are part of the normal wear-and-tear of aging. To understand DDD, one must first understand what a disc does. The discs are shock absorbing structures that fit in between the bony vertebrae of the spine. They act as shock absorbers which contribute to the normal motion and structural support of the spine. Think of the disc as a thick sponge contained within a hard ligamentous shell. As we age, our discs develop tears and begin to dehydrate.  This […]

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October 27th, 2010

Blog

Ice or Heat for Lower Back Pain?

Low back pain is an extremely common condition and one of the most common reasons a person seeks out medical care. Fortunately, back pain typically gets better on its own with little or no medical intervention. Studies have shown that 9 out of 10 people with back pain will get better within 1 month. However, there are some things a person can do to help the recovery of back pain along. There are several causes of low back pain with the most common being muscle strain and arthritis. While bed rest can help in the short term, it actually can make matters worse if bed rest goes on for more than a couple of days. Instead, it is recommended to try to resume work and normal activities as soon as possible. Stretching, massage, and physical therapy can also help. A […]

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Decompression

October 20th, 2010

Blog

Decompression

I’ll take a moment now to discuss decompression therapy. I get asked about this type of treatment almost on a daily basis. It seems every time you turn on the television or open the Sunday paper, you see an advertisement for decompression that will “cure” your back pain. Degenerative Disc Disease is a chronic condition, and nearly everyone will have radiologic evidence of it by age 60. So, will it “cure” you? No. Can it help relieve symptoms? Absolutely. However, it’s hardly a new concept. Descriptions of this treatment date to Hippocrates (460-370 BCE), who reported joint manipulation and use of traction. Spinal decompression is a type of traction that works by gently stretching the spine. This can temporarily take pressure off the disks and spinal nerve roots that control your arms and legs. I include traction and decompression in […]

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Microdiscectomy: Minimally Invasive Treatment of Herniated Discs

October 13th, 2010

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Microdiscectomy: Minimally Invasive Treatment of Herniated Discs

In my medical practice, I see a lot of patients with herniated discs. Many of these patients can be treated with conservative therapies, yet if surgery is needed, there are minimally invasive technologies that can be used. Herniated Discs Lumbar herniated discs are common causes of low back pain which radiates down one or both legs. Herniated discs become symptomatic when they compress or impinge upon nerve roots as they exit the spine adjacent to the disc spaces. The pain caused by a herniated disc is typically described as a “burning” or “tingling” pain, which can become quite debilitating and is often made worse by activities such as bending forward or sitting. At worst, the herniated disc may result in actual weakness of the leg or foot.  While it may take several weeks, the pain caused by herniated discs will […]

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October 7th, 2010

Blog

CSC Welcomes Michael J. Musacchio, Jr., M.D.

The Center for Spine Care is pleased to announce the addition of Dallas neurosurgeon Michael J. Musacchio, Jr., M.D. to the medical practice. Dr. Musacchio, a highly skilled neurosurgeon specializing in minimally invasive treatments of the spine, has practiced in the Dallas area for the past two years. He brings a great depth of knowledge and experience to CSC. Dr. Musacchio grew up in Plano, TX, and received his Bachelor’s of Science degree with Highest Distinction from the University of Illinois. He received his Doctor of Medicine from Rush Medical College in Chicago. He completed a General Surgery Internship and completed a Neurosurgery Residency at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Musacchio is a member of many medical organizations such as the American Association of Neurological Surgeons; Congress of Neurological Surgeons; American Medical Association; North American Spine Society; and Texas Association […]

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Laboratory Studies

September 29th, 2010

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Laboratory Studies

No clinically relevant laboratory studies associated with degenerative disc disease have been found. However, if a malignancy is suggested, lab studies, including determination of the complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and alkaline phosphatase levels and serum protein electrophoresis, may be helpful. Conversely, if a rheumatologic cause of spine pain is considered, then lab tests for antinuclear antibody, rheumatoid factor, uric acid, and HLA-B27 levels may be beneficial. . Written By Nathan Walters, M.D. . To learn more about Center for Spine Care, visit our website!

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EMG/NCS

September 22nd, 2010

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EMG/NCS

EMG stands for electromyography, and NCS stands for nerve conduction studies. These two studies comprise the electrodiagnostic testing that I utilize routinely in my workup of any patient with arm pain, leg pain, or numbness/tingling in the extremity. This test helps determine exactly which nerve root from the spine is involved, as well as detect the presence of any peripheral neuropathy or other nerve entrapment, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome (entrapment of the ulnar nerve at the elbow). There is also prognostic benefit as well. I think this test is extremely valuable in identifying the exact source of nerve involvement and helping my patient and I determine what kind of urgency, or lack of urgency we have. Written By Nathan Walters, M.D. . To learn more about Center for Spine Care, visit our website!

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Propofol, Michael Jackson, and what you need to know

September 8th, 2010

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Propofol, Michael Jackson, and what you need to know

Often in my practice I administer spinal injections requiring a fast-acting, safe anesthetic. I routinely use the drug Propofol.  Since the tragic death of Michael Jackson brought to the world’s attention the use of Propofol, I get asked about it frequently. When used as intended–for surgical or diagnostic procedures conducted in an appropriate healthcare setting by a qualified anesthesia professional such as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) or physician anesthesiologist, Propofol is fast-acting, short-lived, and very safe.  In fact, it is considered one of the safest anesthetics available.  I routinely use Propofol to quickly sedate patients for several thousand pain procedures every year.  It is metabolized very quickly, with the effect being that the patient is wide awake within minutes after a quick spinal injection. Propofol is also routinely used with other quick outpatient procedures such as colonoscopy.  When […]

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Decompression Therapy for spine pain: What is it?

September 1st, 2010

Blog

Decompression Therapy for spine pain: What is it?

I’ll take a moment now to discuss decompression therapy. I get asked about this type of treatment almost on a daily basis. It seems every time you turn on the television or open the Sunday paper, you see an advertisement for decompression that will “cure” your back pain. Degenerative Disc Disease is a chronic condition, and nearly everyone will have radiologic evidence of it by age 60. So, will it “cure” you? No. Can it help relieve symptoms? Absolutely. However, it’s hardly a new concept. Descriptions of this treatment date to Hippocrates (460-370 BCE), who reported joint manipulation and use of traction. Spinal decompression is a type of traction that works by gently stretching the spine. This can temporarily take pressure off the disks and spinal nerve roots that control your arms and legs. I include traction and decompression in […]

Read more

Minimally-Invasive Surgery: What does this term really mean? What you need to know

August 25th, 2010

Blog

Minimally-Invasive Surgery: What does this term really mean? What you need to know

The major difference in minimally invasive technologies and others is that the normal tissues are not injured. In true minimally invasive surgery, the blood supply and the nerve supply to the normal tissue is left intact. The only tissue addressed is the pathologic tissue causing pain. Because of these techniques, there is very little blood loss and no other soft tissue injury resulting in significantly faster recovery. In addition to the more rapid recovery, the ultimate outcomes are far more predictable; therefore, we get the best of both worlds, a predictable, successful outcome with a rapid recovery. This is truly “smart” technology. Because the surgical techniques are so focused on the specific pain pathologies (pain generator), we require much more thorough diagnostic testing. We call this pain mapping. A diagnostic work-up includes a thorough history and physical, an appropriate imaging […]

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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.