One of the major risks of having spine surgery is the development of an infection. Discitis is an uncommon infection of the spinal disc that can occur after spinal surgery. Because of its rarity, discitis is often not on the minds of doctors. In this world of rushed, inattentive doctors, a person with an infection of the spine can be dismissed as a "common back pain" case when in fact discitis is the culprit.
A 58 year old woman who had years of lumbar pain came to me one and a half years following a complicated lumbar fusion; the surgery was complicated by the fact that the surgeon had to operate twice in order to get the hardware placed correctly. Unfortunately, the surgery did not cure her pain; and she came to me for pain management.
Two months into her treatment with me, she had a severe episode of low back pain after shoveling snow. She went to her primary doctor with not only complaints of worsening back pain, but she also had a fever and an upset stomach. That ...
Spondylolisthesis (spaun-di-lo-lie-thee-sis) is a mouthful and is a common cause of low back pain (although it can exist anywhere in the spine, the lumbar spine is the most common area affected). The spinal column is a series of building blocks called vertebral bodies stacked on top of one another. Sometimes these blocks do not line up perfectly. This slight separation in the spinal column is called a spondylolisthesis .
"Doc says I have a spondy-something-or-other. Don't ask me what it is; all I know is that it hurts". Steve tries to explain his low back condition to his friend. But, he finds that he cannot explain what he does not understand. Steve has had back pain for a number of years. Every year the pain gets worse and has now become constant. His doctor sent him for x-rays recently. The x-rays showed a spondylolisthesis with disc degeneration at L5/S1. Steve could not understand his doctor's explanation of the condition. So, now he has pain and has confusion.
Driving a car to the local mechanic to get it fixed is not the same thing as taking the human body into surgery; although, this "fix-it" attitude drives patients and surgeons alike towards surgical solutions. Lately, a growing number of people are undergoing low back surgery . A recent study examined the relationship between patient expectations and the actual outcomes from lumbar spine surgery. Because pre-surgical expectations do not always equate to the actual results, how can a person judge whether or not a surgery was successful? How can one predict surgical success?
Understanding the primary reasons for seeking surgical solutions is the first step towards discussing the likelihood of success. The top three causes for patients wanting lumbar surgery are: 1#, other therapies have failed to help; 2#, the pain is unbearable; 3#, walking has become difficult. Based on these reasons to see a surgeon, patients come to the operating room harboring certain expectations. Patients wa...
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