Treatments for Spine Pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Neck and Low Back Pain
If you’re on this site, you’re probably well past the usual conservative options when it comes to spine pain treatment: over the counter medications, rest, heat/ice, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. So what are you left with for treating Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), neck and/or back pain? Some pain management clinics may recommend an epidural steroid injection (ESI) which places strong anti-inflammatory medication around inflamed spinal nerves and discs. For the proper condition such as a bulging disc with nerve impingement, a true herniated disc, or annular tear, an ESI may be the right choice. The steroid can help temporarily with pain, but the potential side effects of the steroid such as increased bone fracture rate, and alterations in your body’s own ability to make steroids must be taken into consideration. Other doctors may recommend invasive spine surgery such as a fusion or laminectomy. Unfortunately, these surgeries may not work and may lead to complications such as persistent or new pain, necessity for opioid medications for pain control, and missed work.
At The Spine & Pain Center of California, achieving your best clinical outcome is our number one priority. We will first establish a definitive diagnosis of your condition. This will be done through a records review, physical examination, and personally reviewing available imaging studies. In addition a dynamic ultrasound may be used to assess movement and contractility of the spine to detect pathology which may not be evident on static images such as MRI or x-ray.
Dr. Mallavaram has performed thousands of ESIs over the years and is am now counseling patients to seek alternatives. As mentioned above, for the proper condition, ESIs may be useful. However for the majority of cases other treatment options may be available. The Spine & Pain Center of California offers a variety of image guided, minimally invasive injection procedures to help treat spinal conditions. One such option is a radiofrequency facet ablation (RFA). Often times with DDD, the facet joints can become painful and inflammed. An initial diagnostic injection with local anesthetic and confirm the diagnosis of facet joint pain. Following that, and RFA may be performed which will provide significant relief of back or neck pain.
Another option for the proper condition is to deliver targeted platelet rich plasma (PRP) to the cervical or lumbar spine. We’ve termed one option, the BackLiftSM procedure. This utilizes a combination of your concentrated PRP along with LR-PRP (PRP with additional growth factors). With precise image guidance, PRP can be delivered to strengthen weakened and atrophied spine muscles, tighten lax connective tissues, and enhance cartilage on the small load bearing joints of the spine. All of this is designed to give the spine a “back lift”. One of the main reasons DDD causes such disability is due to the weakening of the surrounding frame i.e., the muscles, joints and ligaments that hold the spine together. Precise, image guided PRP injections into these areas can significantly strengthen these areas which will place your spine in a stronger, more neutral and natural position. Significant relief of pain and improved function usually follows 4-6 weeks later.
The Spine & Pain Center of California will fine tailor the right procedure for your condition, providing you the ability to avoid potentially harmful epidural steroids or invasive spine surgery.