Your spine plays many important roles such as supporting your head, shoulders, and upper body and giving you the ability to bend, twist, and stand upright. However, a key role of your spine is to protect your spinal cord which is a set of nerves that connect your brain to the rest of your body, known as the central nervous system.

If you are experiencing pain along your spine, it can be caused by several factors such as pulled muscle, bulging disc, or arthritis. Depending on the cause of pain and severity, you may have been told that epidural steroid injections or surgery are your only options to treat your pain. These treatment options have many potential adverse side effects and may lead to lengthy recoveries.

At Derrington Orthopedics – Interventional Sports and Spine, we offer non-surgical alternative treatment options that can use your own body’s cells to repair soft tissue damage, allowing for shorter recovery periods and no need for long term pain medication.

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Bulging Disc

Between each vertebra of your spine are discs, which act as cushions or shock absorbers for your spine. Each disc is composed of a sturdy outer wall of cartilage with a soft, gel-like inner core. When we are born, these discs are primarily composed of water, but as age advances, the discs dehydrate becoming thinner and causing the cartilage to stiffen. As you might imagine, this means each disc doesn’t absorb the shocks of everyday life as well.

These changes in your disc can cause the disc to bulge out or protrude and press against nearby nerves which can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from numbness and tingling, sharp, shooting, or achy pain, or muscle cramps. These can lead to difficulty with normal activities.

Treatment for bulging discs can range from lifestyle adjustments such as improving diet and exercise routines or adjusting sleeping and sitting positions. Pain management will depend on the severity of your condition. Treatments often begin with anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, massage therapy, acupuncture, and injection. In more severe cases, surgical options may be explored.

At our office, we offer minimally invasive treatments utilizing our body’s natural ability to heal, resulting in pain relief and improved function. In combination with the treatment, we recommend specific rehabilitation exercises and often formal therapy to improve strength, mobility, and endurance, allowing for maximal benefit from the procedure.

Pain After Lower Back Surgery

Surgery as a treatment option for back or neck pain often has a bad reputation with many people knowing at least one person who still struggles with pain or is left with limited mobility and function after surgery.

Unfortunately, in many cases, spinal surgeries carry very risky side effects. With fusion surgery, complications occur 25% of the time with a majority relying heavily on medication for pain afterward.

However, at Derrington Orthopedics – Interventional Sports and Spine, we offer a wide variety of alternative treatment options for those who struggle with back or neck pain, even after surgical intervention. Our team focuses on using non-invasive treatment options that utilize your body’s healing system to naturally repair soft tissue damage and alleviate pain. These procedures allow us to inject customized healing agents into the injured areas to improve their overall health and function. These procedures require less downtime compared to traditional surgical options and eliminate the need for pain medication post-surgery.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc refers to a problem with one of the discs that sit between your vertebrae in your spine. These discs are made of cartilage and act as shock absorbers preventing damage to your spine. Composed of a soft jelly-like center (nucleus pulposus) and tougher exterior (annulus fibrosus), a herniated disk occurs when some of the soft parts of the disc push through to the outside from a tear in the outside of a disc. A herniated disc can occur anywhere and place pressure on nearby nerves resulting in pain, numbness, or muscle weakness in other areas of the body.

Conservative treatments such as over-the-counter medication, physical therapy, and modifying activities can often relieve symptoms after several days or a few weeks. In cases that don’t improve, the traditional treatment involves masking pain with steroid shots or prescription pain medication and muscle relaxers. Neither treatment addresses why the symptoms are occurring in the first place and don’t help your body to heal. If you are unresponsive to these options, surgery may be recommended.

At Derrington Orthopedics, we approach these types of injuries from a very different direction, working with your body to reduce pain from the herniated disc and nerve irritation by helping the nerve and disc function better and potentially reducing the size of the herniation. These procedures work to heal your body with a fraction of the downtime and without irreversible changes after surgery.

Neck Pain

The most common causes of neck pain are due to muscle strain or a soft tissue sprain along the area. Neck pain can also be caused by a sudden force or trauma, pinched nerves, arthritis, muscle weakness, damaged joints, and more. Though in minor cases, rest and over-the-counter medication can alleviate pain and symptoms. In moderate to complex cases, your pain can persist leading you to seek medical attention.

Our doctors will work tirelessly to identify and treat the sources of your pain rather than treating just the symptoms. Using precise image guidance, through a minimally invasive procedure we can inject concentrations of your body’s natural healing agents into the areas of damage along your neck to treat your source of pain. This treatment option reduces your downtime and allows you to restore your quality of life without surgery or the need for pain medication.

Sacroiliac Joint

The sacroiliac joint, often referred to as the SI joint, connects your pelvis to the lowest part of your spine and transfers forces between the upper and lower body. This joint is surrounded by a network of strong ligaments and soft tissues that can become irritated due to too much or even too little movement due to trauma and other accidents or even pregnancy. This irritation can cause pain leading to pelvic pain or stiffness that may spread to the buttocks, lower back, or even extend down the legs.

The source of the pain can be difficult to diagnose as it is often mistaken for other causes of lower back pain. Sacroiliac joint pain can be diagnosed through a combination of discussing medical history and symptoms, completing a thorough physical examination including specific movement tests, reviewing imaging, and performing diagnostic injections.

Initial treatment for sacroiliac joint pain often includes rest, ice/heat, medications, physical therapy, support braces, manual manipulation such as osteopathic or chiropractic care, and/or joint injections.

Previously, traditional orthopedic care didn’t appreciate that the SI joint has movement, so surgery wasn’t an option. A fusion procedure was developed, and now that is a common recommendation for SI joint pain that does not improve with conservative treatments. This procedure eliminates movement at the joint with implanted screws and bone grafts. Unfortunately, surgery doesn’t always alleviate pain. The resulting restricted movement at the SI joint puts extra stress at the joints above and below the fusion (hips and lumbar spine), which often leads to additional problems at these areas, which could result in further surgery recommendations.

For patients with sacroiliac joint pain, we offer regenerative treatments including PRP and bone marrow stem cells, which can help heal the injured ligaments and soft tissues and reduce pain coming from this joint. We customize concentrations of healing growth factors, proteins, and cells found naturally within your body and inject them into the damaged tissue under image guidance. This stimulates your body’s natural healing response, allowing you to recover naturally without the need for surgery, with minimal downtime, and no concern for future damage to adjacent areas.

​Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition where the bony openings within the spine become narrowed, decreasing space for nerves, which can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. The symptoms can vary depending on the location of the stenosis and which nerves are affected. These symptoms often occur gradually and if left untreated they tend to worsen over time.

This condition can be caused by many different factors, including disc herniations, disc degeneration, facet joint arthritis and overgrowth, ligament instability and thickening, and spinal deformity.

There are many different ways to treat these symptoms and will depend on the location and severity of your spinal stenosis. Treatment often begins with physical therapy, manual manipulation such as osteopathic or chiropractic treatments, and over the counter pain medications. If these aren’t helpful, cortisone (steroid) injections can give short term relief. As the stenosis progresses, patients are often recommended surgery, which removes part of the bone, disc, and/or ligament that is putting pressure on the nerves. As a consequence of removing these structures, the spine can become unstable. If it becomes too unstable, a fusion may be performed, which involves putting rods and screws in your back to restrict movement of the loose areas. The restricted movement puts extra stress at the joints above and below the fusion, which often leads to additional problems at these areas, which could result in further surgery recommendations.

At Derrington Orthopedics – Interventional Sports and Spine, we offer Regenexx procedures as an alternative treatment for spinal stenosis, which can eliminate the need for cortisone injections and surgery. Our patients are able to get back to their normal activities with longer lasting benefits and without the harmful side effects of steroid injections. In more advanced cases, these procedures can also be a viable surgical alternative. By treating the entire functional spinal unit, we are able to improve nerve function and spinal stability, resulting in decreased pain and improved function, with minimal downtime and without the risks of invasive surgery.

Spondylolysis

Spondylolysis is a break in the bone connecting the facet joints and is especially common for people engaged in athletics that involve considerable strain on the back. Spinal fusion involving fusing together the vertebrae around where the break has occurred is the common treatment option. There is no way to install the hardware to fuse the spine without cutting through the critical muscles and fascia that stabilize the spine. As a result, spinal fusions create spinal instability around the site of the fusion. Spinal fusions have additionally been shown over time to be no more effective than sham or placebo surgeries while complications occur in 36% of fusion patients.

Torn Disc

In many cases, torn discs will heal on their own with rest and time, though the area will be more prone to repeat injury and degenerative disc disease. In the event that symptoms don’t lessen over time, however, the common orthopedic option is spinal fusion, a procedure in which two vertebrae are screwed or fused together. Spinal fusions have been shown over time to be no more effective than sham or placebo surgeries while complications occur in 25% of fusion patients.