Specific Spine Conditions
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of back pain. Discs are considered the shock absorber of the spine. When a disc becomes injured it has a very poor ability to self-repair, in large part due to it’s lack of blood and nerve supply. So, after an injury, a disc tends to degenerate or “wear” over time.
When treatments like physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications fail to alleviate pain, surgery, like artificial disc replacement, is sometimes recommended. However, there are alternatives to surgery.
The most effective treatment that I do for my patients is a procedure called intradiscal platelet rich plasma or PRP. I use a very fine needle to inject your own platelets and growth factors into the disc to promote healing and pain reduction. PRP stimulates collagen production, which is in the main protein within the outer layer of the disc that degenerates. PRP also reduces inflammation over the long term. Combined with an appropriate spine rehab program the success rates are very high.
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Spinal stenosis is a condition that causes back or leg pain in the standing position. Other symptoms include leg heaviness or fatigue while walking, causing the desire to lean forward to get relief. Stenosis develops when spinal discs and joints degenerate and bulge into the spinal canal. This causes narrowing of the canal and compression and irritation of the spinal nerves. Some people are born with a narrowed canal – congenital spinal stenosis. Stenosis of the cervical spine (neck) can cause neck or arm pain. Thankfully stenosis can be managed without surgery in the early to mid stages. In severe cases or if it’s associated with a spondylolisthesis (slippage of the spine) then conservative treatment is challenging. An MRI can confirm the diagnosis.
What can be done for stenosis? Anti-inflammatory medications or injections like epidural steroids or platelet rich plasma can be very helpful at getting rid of the pain inflammation around the nerves. Combining these treatments with an exercise program specific for spinal stenosis and some lifestyle adjustments can help minimize or eliminate the pain altogether.
If you think you might have spinal stenosis, it’s important to see a spine specialist before the condition gets too severe.
This condition is an irritation or compression of one or more nerve roots in the cervical spine. Because these nerves travel to the shoulders, arms and hands, an injury in the cervical spine can cause symptoms in these areas. Cervical radiculopathy may result from a variety of problems with the bones and tissues of the cervical spinal column.
This condition is a deterioration of the facet joints, which help stabilize the spine and limit excessive motion. The facet joints are lined with cartilage and are surrounded by a lubricating capsule that enables the vertebrae to bend and twist.
A herniated disc is a common injury that can affect any part of the spine. A herniated disc can cause severe pain and other problems in the arms or legs.
Lumbar Radiculopathy (Sciatica)
This condition is an irritation or compression of one or more nerve roots in the lumbar spine. Because these nerves travel to the hips, buttocks, legs and feet, an injury in the lumbar spine can cause symptoms in these areas. Sciatica may result from a variety of problems with the bones and tissues of the lumbar spinal column.
Where The Back Pain Begins
Lower back pain is a common problem that severely impacts the quality of your life. It can limit your ability to be active. It can cause you to miss work. Many different causes may lead to pain in your lower back.
Fitness and sports enthusiasts of all levels, from weekend warriors to professional athletes have benefited under Dr. Carter’s care. Performing artists with career-threatening injuries have been able to return to their profession with Dr. Carter’s holistic approach to treatment.