2016 Testimonials for Doctor Kamson, Part 2

Here is part 2 of Dr. Solomon Kamson’s patient testimonials for his patients who underwent minimally invasive procedures at Spine Institute Northwest in the past year. Click here for part 1.

Jeremiah Dawson – Cervical Fusion for 10-year Chronic Back and Neck Problem

Field training officer Jeremiah Dawson had been living with his chronic pain since 2006. Working around the pain for more than a decade, Jeremiah finally realized the severity of his problem during training with younger police officers. Jeremiah felt sharp pains in his leg as he was going through a routine running exercise.

Recognizing that the pain was becoming a hindrance to his job and to his life at home, Jeremiah sought out treatment from Doctor Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest (SINW).

After Jeremiah ‘s successful operation (a cervical fusion), he says, “Doctor Kamson has a way of putting you at ease, you are able to talk to him and he gives you the answers you need.” “I haven’t regretted one moment,” he explains, thankful that he is finally living his life as he wants to again.

Cameron Reyes – Lumbar Decompression for Back Pain

Cameron, a self-described ‘300 pound meat and potatoes guy’ who was struggling with long term chronic back pain had this to say about his experience at Spine Institute Northwest after undergoing lumbar decompression:

“When Doctor Kamson told me that he could make me better, I wept like a kid”, Cameron says. “I got a fresh start. It’s the closing of a horrible, horrible long chapter in my life,” says Cameron after finally being free of his chronic back pain.”

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Back Pain: Don’t Let History Repeat Itself!

History doesn’t have to repeat itself, right? If you are suffering from back pain, find out if other family members are suffering from back pain, too. Surprisingly, back pain issues can run in the family – especially a herniated disc. Research shows that those who suffer from a herniated disc are four times more likely to face a similar problem if another family has suffered a pain-related issue, too.

Do you know your family’s health history?

It’s always good to know your family’s health history when it comes to significant medical issues. You should at least be aware of health problems in your immediate family: Parents and siblings. The further out on the family tree you can get, however, the more forewarned you’ll be — grandparents, your parents’ siblings, and your cousins can also provide telling info. It’s not important to track every cough and cold; you just want to know about major illnesses and chronic conditions.

What are your choices?

What disease or health problem are you tracking? Is it back pain or something similar? Find out what’s available to you. If you know, for example, that you have a parent and a grandparent who suffer from chronic back pain, it’s important to rule out non-genetic elements that could be the root of the problem. For example, working at a physically demanding job isn’t something that’s hereditary (well, maybe unless you inherit the family farm). Other health issues that can contribute to back pain, like obesity, can be addressed with preventative measures. Learning about health problems that “run in the family” can help you determine whether there are other factors you have that may increase your chances of developing one of these problems.

Again, let’s not allow history to repeat itself. When you consult with Dr. Solomon Kamson, talk to him about your family tree when it comes to illness and chronic pain. Osteoporosis, arthritis, or even a bum knee is important to bring up as well. Knowing what health issues you may be more likely to face — even if they aren’t causing you trouble now — can help to determine a course of action that will better help you to find relief from pain.

Yoga for Back Pain during Pregnancy

It is estimated that between 50 and 80 percent of women struggle with lower back pain during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. This pain can occur for several reasons, including increased weight for the back to support and a different center of gravity than prior to pregnancy. However, there are many treatments available to help alleviate back pain during pregnancy without harming the fetus. One of these treatments is yoga. Before beginning any exercise program, no matter how mild or moderate, contact your physician.

yoga during pregnancy
Triangle Pose
The triangle pose is an all-around beneficial pose for the pregnant body, and can work the legs, energize the hips, open the shoulders, and stretch the side of the body. First, stand with the feet about shoulder-width apart. Then, stretch the arms out parallel to the ground. Next, bend at the side of the body to reach toward one foot, while extending the other arm over the head. Hold this position for ten seconds, and then slowly release. This can then be repeated on the other side of the body.

Sitting Side Stretch
The sitting side stretch will open the waist and pelvis, while stretching the hips. This gives additional room in the torso, and may improve a pregnant woman’s center of gravity. Sit on the ground, with one foot extended toward the side. This foot can be extended as far as is comfortable. The other foot should be bent at the knee, with the sole touching the inner thigh of the opposite leg. Stretch one arm toward the toes, and the other over the head toward the same side. This can be held, repeated, and the performed on the other side.

Cat Pose
The cat pose is especially helpful for back pain during pregnancy. It can warm up the spine and stretch the body, while also shifting the weight of the baby away from the spine. This position begins on the hands and knees. For the cat position, the back is arched upward (imagine a cat hissing and arching its back) while you look straight ahead. Hold for a moment, then exhale and return to the starting position.

Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is beneficial to back pain because it helps to relieve stress and tension. Typically, child’s pose requires the individual to sit with the legs bent and held beneath the body, stretching forward with the arms extended and face down. Pregnant woman should perform child’s pose with their knees apart to accommodate the growing baby bump, while trying to keep the big toes together. Rest in this position, breathing deeply and leaning forward only so far as it remains comfortable.

For further help managing back pain, you may want to visit a clinic that specializes in pain treatment. The Spine Institute Northwest, founded by Dr. Solomon Kamson, offers a wide range of options for managing chronic pain.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   image:  dizznbonn

Treating Stenosis of the Spine

Stenosis of the spine is a condition where the open spaces in the spine narrow, resulting in pressure on spinal nerves and the spinal cord. Most patients experience pain in the lower back or the neck from stenosis. This condition is most prevalent in men and women over the age of 50 and people who have suffered a spinal injury. When cases become severe and all other treatment options have failed, Dr. Solomon Kamson may recommend spinal surgery.

When a patient comes into the surgeon’s office, there are several clues that will help the doctor diagnose spinal stenosis. The most obvious sign is back pain, but there are several others, including numbness, weak muscles, and issues with excretory functions. Tingling may occur in the legs, feet, arms, or hands due to narrowing in the neck. When there are compressed nerves in the lower back (lumbar spine), symptoms include cramps or pain in the legs when standing up or walking.

The treatment for stenosis depends on the location and severity of the problem. For mild cases, patients can take ibuprofen or naproxen, which are available over the counter. Antidepressants can ease chronic pain and muscle relaxants may be prescribed to stop back spasms. Medications that are meant to prevent seizures can help to ease pain from nerve damage. For cases of extreme, debilitating pain, doctors may prescribe opioids such as oxycodone, but these can be habit forming, so this may be a last resort.

Physical therapy is another option that can help to build strength, stabilize the spine, and improve balance. Going to therapy on a regular basis may help a patient avoid surgery. For less severe cases, patients may be told to swim or ride an exercise bike for non-stressful aerobic activity.

Some patients may be fitted with a lumbar brace to give more support to the spine. Steroid injections can help reduce swelling and pain around the nerve roots. However, they weaken the bones, so they can only be done a few times. For those who are into alternative medicine, going to a chiropractor or a acupuncturist may be treatment options.

Spinal Stenosis Surgery
Surgery is usually the last option when it comes to treating stenosis. It can help people who are no longer able to function and are considered disabled. It is also an option for patients who are in very good health besides the stenosis. Pressure is taken off of the spinal cord through the removal of the lamina, which is the back part of the vertebrae. When surgery is successful, the alignment of the spine will be restored and the spine will be stronger.

Risks of Spinal Stenosis Surgery
Although the surgery helps reduce the pain for many patients, there are also several risks involved. Every surgery comes with the risk of infection. There is also the chance that the patient could get a blood clot or suffer more nerve damage. The risk of getting a tear in the spinal membrane also exists.
If the stenosis is causing a patient problems with basic activities like walking or going to the bathroom, then surgery is inevitable. In most cases, surgery helps people gain a better quality of life. However, since stenosis is a degenerative condition, the surgery will not completely cure it, and the patient will continue to have some numbness or pain at some point in the future.

Spine Surgery: Out with the Old, In with the New

For more than forty years traditional back surgeries have continued to destroy the spine’s vital structures while all along trying to rectify the original problem. These destructive methods would often end up causing other back problems, as well as lengthy recovery times. A big issue with these procedures is that to gain access to the affected area of the spine muscles are dissected, tendons damaged, ligaments removed, and muscles scarred. The end results of this are a weakening of the spine, and possibly causing the nerves to be exposed to scar tissue, which can lead to more issues with the back.

Although there are some situations when traditional back surgery is still necessary, in most cases a minimally invasive surgical procedure can be performed with very little trauma to the back. The great benefit of these procedures is the very small amount of damage to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and bones. With such a small incision for the procedures, the surrounding tissues also experience very little harm. These small incisions allow the spine to be accessed through tubular channels, and viewed through a camera. Most procedures only require an incision of less than one inch, while traditional surgeries can be up to six inches.

Traditionally the muscle fibers would have to be cut, but with minimally invasive procedures they can be separated and returned to their natural positions. This allows the patient to experience less pain after the procedure, and very little scarring. If your procedure requires rods, screws, or clamps to be implanted to help stabilize the spine, they can also be inserted through these small incisions. To help limit the risk of damage, microscopes and endoscopes are used to provide a great visualization of the entire procedure.

As new minimally invasive techniques are constantly being developed, more and more procedures are being utilized to treat a wide range of back issues. When damaged discs need to be replaced it is possible to remove and replace them with the interbody device through an incision. Artificial discs can be replaced through abdominal incisions, which also results in very little damage. Although there are a number of disorders in the spine that causes chronic pain, the more common procedures treat herniated discs, fractures, degenerative spinal disease, scoliosis, and stenosis. Other causes include tumors, spondylosis, pseudoarthritis, kyphosis, osteomyelitis, spinal instability, post-laminectomy, or other injuries of the spine.

The goal at the Spine Institute Northwest is to utilize the most current minimally invasive procedures to give patients relief from pain, while causing the least amount of damage. Several procedures that are used to treat a wide variety of spinal issues include; Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression, Lumbar Interbody Fusion and Facet Fixation, and Endoscopic Assisted Nerve Excision. These outpatient treatments generally take less than 2 hours, with a recovery time of about an hour. Because there is very little damage done with these procedures, patients recover quickly, experience little pain, and often return to work within a day or two. Patients that have lived with chronic back pain for years are amazed at how quickly and effective these treatments are, as they return to a pain-free life.

The Management of Back Pain

Recent studies have shown that despite many published guidelines, back pain management varies depending on where you go. Various spinal symptoms and back pain is one of the most common complaints a physician receives. With over 10 percent of visits to a primary care physician being related to the back, the numbers and complaints continue to climb each year. The Harvard Medical School in Boston collected National data and surveys from ambulatory services, hospital facilities, and other medical care facilities. This study was designed to examine the different treatments of back pain from the beginning of 1999 to the end of 2010. Researchers assessed the different types of imaging being used, the use of medications like narcotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, acetaminophen, and referrals for physical therapy.

With treatments for back pain being costly enough, as well as loss in wages from not being able to work, some treatments that aren’t as effective can often times be overused. This can cost even more money with repeated visits for treatments that have little or no effect on the patient. With the collected data, researchers found that close to 24,000 visits to the different medical facilities was because of back and spine problems. Almost 60 percent of the patients were females, and throughout the study period the average patient age increased from 49 years old to 53.

The results of the data were interesting and found that the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen being used at each visit had decreased by 12.4 percent in 2010. The use of narcotics increased by 9.8%, reached just under 30% of patients being treated with narcotics. Throughout the study, referrals for physical therapy remained the same with around 20%. However, physician referrals were found to increase by 7.2%, reaching 14% at the end of the study period. The amount of radiographs held steady at around 17%, while magnetic resonance imaging increased by 4.1% and reached 11.3% for the study period.

Even though there are numerous national guidelines in several different publications, back pain management that is routine increasingly relies on the use of narcotics, diagnostic imaging, and physician referrals. As the costs of healthcare continue to soar and are expected to rise, proper management of back pain can result in not only saving money, but time as well.

A great benefit with minimally invasive surgeries is the affordability of the procedures, and the fact that many patients are able to return to their normal life and work the next day. With proven results in relieving pain, the main goal of the Spine Institute Northwest is to provide the best possible medical care and service to our patients, while focusing on relieving and preventing pain that is often associated with poor pain management. With a commitment to personalized and quality treatment plans for our patients, communication with other health care providers is always important to ensure a team approach so everything that can possibly be done to relieve, prevent, or manage pain is being done.

New Research for Treating Back Pain

A newer research study has suggested that using a type of bio-cellular graft could treat lower back pain. Surgeons have been increasingly using this type of graft to repair tissues that have been damaged. Not everyone in the study that suffered from lower back pain had the same end results. This ranged from receiving complete relief from pain, to no improvement at all.
In this procedure, concentrated forms of the bone marrow are injected into the lumbar discs.

This was in patients that suffer from disc degeneration which usually happens with age as the spinal discs break down. This causes the discs to not be able to absorb as much pressure or impact, and they also become less flexible. Some conservative treatments can fail, and other therapeutic options can be limited for those who suffer from back pain because of degenerative discs. The goal of this procedure is to develop a safe and natural method to help boost the body’s ability in order to heal pain.

The practice of transferring materials within a patient’s own body has continued to evolve further than simply using plasma that is platelet-rich to surround the concentrated cellular bone marrow, and draw cells from the body’s fat. In order to explore the different possibilities with this technique, the research team received data from 22 patients that were treated at the Columbia Interventional Pain Center in Columbia, Missouri. These patients had suffered from lower back pain for an average of 4 years, and have evidence that confirms changes with degenerative discs through MRI’s or CT scans.

The researchers began by harvesting a small amount of iliac bone marrow aspirate, and with the use of a centrifuge obtained the necessary concentrate of bone marrow. This concentrate was then injected into no more than 2 of the annulus of the lumbar disc with the use of a smaller gauged needle. Then it was immediately followed up with a smaller amount of concentrate being injected around the exterior of the annulus.

Between 5-24 months after the treatment, patients had reported different changes in back pain that ranged from feeling complete relief of pain, to no improvement at all. None of the patients had reported the pain worsening, and there were no complications with any of the procedures. Those who did experience relief from pain had also reported a significant improvement in their overall tolerance in activities, or reduced the amount of medication used, or even both.

Continuous research and studies are necessary and important for those who live with constant back and neck pain. As chronic back pain is a common complaint with adults, more and more people are suffering from pain each year, and this is the top reason for missing work each year. This has been a growing concern year after year, and chronic lower back pain has recently been named as the third leading cause of disability-adjusted life years as pain diminishes the overall quality of life.

Radio Frequency Treatment

There are many different reasons given each year for missing work and other events, but the main cause for being absent is because of chronic back pain. Close to 80% of all adults experience some kind of lower back pain throughout their lives. Around 5% of those who suffer from back pain are able to find the specific cause of their pain and have it treated. The other 95% of patients are usually unable to find a cause and often end up going untreated, living with pain for the rest of their lives. There are many methods of treating lower back pain that are strongly effective but go unused. One of these procedures is called Radio Frequency Treatment, and it has shown to either completely eliminate pain or greatly reduce it.

Many people have never heard of Radio Frequency Treatment, even though it has successfully been used in clinics for decades. With the use of this treatment for back pain, it has shown to have proven results for the right patients. Generally, they will feel instant and long-lasting relief for up to several years. There is even a possibility to remain pain free in that area for the rest of your life. Everyone’s body is different, so results can vary, but if the pain does eventually return, and is strong enough, the procedure can be performed again. This treatment is done by inserting a small needle into the skin, just above the affected area along the spine. By using an electrical current that is produced by a radio wave, an area on the targeted nerve tissue is heated up, which destroys the nerve endings; this reduces or eliminates the pain signal in that particular area. Depending on the patient and type of procedure being performed, an IV may be started to help ensure adequate relaxation medicine is given. It is good to remain completely relaxed and not tensed up throughout the process. While lying on your stomach, the area where the needle is inserted will be cleaned, and numbing medicine is given. An X-ray is used for proper placement, and to help guide the needle to the targeted nerve.

Following the procedure you will briefly stay in a recovery room for observation and to have your vital signs checked. The area where the needle was inserted will be cleaned again with a new bandage applied. After receiving discharge instructions you are able to leave, but you must receive a ride home. There are very minimal side effects that come with this treatment. The most common effects are discomfort, bruising and swelling, as well as soreness in the area the needle was inserted. Radio Frequency Treatments can work differently for some people. Prior to any procedure, tests need to be performed to verify that the targeted nerve is responsible for the pain you are experiencing.

This treatment is a minimally invasive procedure with very little risks associated with it. After receiving treatment you will be able to return to regular activities within several days. It is important to continue physical therapy and regular exercising to maintain your health and to prevent other back problems from occurring.