Like the cervical spine, the shoulder is a very flexible joint. It is this flexibility that makes it vulnerable to injury. Furthermore, patients often refer to “shoulder” pain that actually represents a spine problem, as well as, “neck” pain, that is actually a shoulder problem.
Spinal injuries can come from a variety of sources. Any high speed or high energy accidents will injure the spine and that can mean neck and lower back pain. Many patients are surprised to experience prolonged symptoms.
Neck injuries can lead to symptoms of pain, muscle spasm, inability to hold your head up, and sharp, shooting pain and tingling with numbness and weakness going down the arms. Any symptoms lasting more than a few days should lead the patient to consult a spine surgeon.
At this time, we are demanding more from our bodies for a longer period of time. Work, leisure and sport activities take their toll on our knees. The main goal for any orthopaedic surgeon is to keep you active and healthy, while being pain free.
Similarly to epidural injections, these do contain a corticosteroid and a local anesthetic. The steroid is placed just outside of the space where the nerves are and directly onto small joints that are posterior to the spinal cord, on the left and right.
People often ask what is the difference between an orthopedic surgeon and a spine surgeon. Not all spine surgeons are orthopedic surgeons and not all orthopedic surgeons are spine surgeons.
Not all problems of the spine require surgery, but sometimes they need more help than just medications and physical therapy. Pain management is a term that refers to interventional procedures that are invasive but not considered to the same magnitude as surgery.
These are injections of steroids, with a local anesthetic that are placed in the space between the nerves and the herniated disc.
These are minimally invasive injections of pain medication along with a local anesthetic. These are employed to control pain resulting from muscle spasm and soft tissue inflammation.
Total disc replacement represents an important leap forward in the care of the spine. Before hip and knee replacement surgery was available, arthritis and cartilaginous deterioration were treated with steroid injections and joint fusions.
Perhaps more than any other specialty, orthopedics and spine surgery are truly driven by the imaging studies. The chief complaint, history, and physical exam are important but it is the x-rays, CT scan, and MRI that provide a roadmap that will guide the surgeon.