Spine Archives - Michigan Head & Spine Institute Blog

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Sacroiliac Joint Pain

 

Lower back pain is the most common type of pain as reported by half of all working Americans. It can develop gradually over time from stationary occupations (desk jobs, long distance driving, standing for extended periods) and pregnancy. It can also occur suddenly after suffering a traumatic event (a bad fall, auto accident, sports injury). Michigan Head & Spine Institute specializes in determining proper diagnoses and the neurosurgical treatments required to help patients with chronic back pain symptoms.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain
One frequently overlooked diagnosis for lower back pain is the sacroiliac joint. At the bottom of the spine, as part of the sacrum, the sacroiliac joint connects the sacrum to the hip bones (iliac) that make up the structure of the pelvis. Both sacroiliac joints help to provide stability while supporting the body. When this area becomes inflamed (known as sacroiliitis) the irritation can cause pain and discomfort. It is often misdiagnosed because many doctors are either not aware of the condition, or are not examining for it when back pain is described. Only after stabilizing this joint, called sacroiliac joint fusion (SI Joint Fusion), can relief from pain be achieved.

What is Sacroiliac Joint Fusion?
SI Joint Fusion is a minimally invasive outpatient surgical procedure. The neurosurgeon creates a small incision off to the side of the back, and using intraoperative navigation inserts two small bolts across the sacroiliac joint to help stabilize this joint. The surgery is performed in about 30 minutes and patients are able to go home a few hours later, usually with their pain greatly reduced.

Dave’s Lifetime of Lower Back Pain
Dave, a patient at MHSI, had experienced lower back pain since his childhood. Misdiagnosed by his doctors for decades, he continued to suffer into adulthood.

“My back problems started at 12 years old while playing football. Doctors then said there’s not a lot you can do except take aspirin and painkillers,” he remembered, “I dealt with that through high school while playing sports, and was kind of limited with what I could do.”

Years later, after an accident falling down some steps, Dave’s back condition became even more severe. Doctors prescribed physical therapy treatment and steroid shots, still he had no change in his excruciating symptoms.

“A friend of mine referred me to Michigan Head and Spine Institute, and specifically Dr. Fahim,” Dave, a MHSI patient.

Daniel Fahim, M.D., neurosurgeon, is a leading expert in the education and treatment of SI joint fusion:

“I remember Dave telling me he was having pain off to his left side,” Dr. Fahim said, “I examined him and looked over his imaging studies, and we finally uncovered something that had been missed for a long time. He had a problem with his sacroiliac joint, something that most doctors don’t think about, or know about.”

Dr. Fahim explained that many doctors will immediately look to the spine for sciatica, or disc herniations, causing compression on nerves. If they cannot determine the cause of the condition they may give up, or even worse, perform surgery on the back believing that’s the source of the symptoms.

“I’ve taken great pride in being able to identify that problem in many patients who have been sent to me from all over the state,” he said, “Finally, we’re able to uncover that it’s the sacroiliac joint, and that’s something we can fix if we can confirm that’s the cause of the pain.”

Before an SI joint dysfunction diagnosis could be determined, Dave was first given a steroid injection. When the injection only provided temporary relief from his pain, Dr. Fahim was able to conclude that SI joint fusion could be the solution Dave’s spent his life looking for.

“After my surgery, and I was feeling better, I was able to open my new business, Red Kettle Coffee Roasters in Port Huron, Michigan,“ he said proudly, “I was able to be on my feet long enough to do this. That was my concern, to be mobile and not get fatigued. I’m doing a lot of the physical labor I couldn’t do before.”

Watch Dave’s story below:

Thanks to Dr. Fahim, and MHSI, Dave can now spend hours standing, lifting and moving freely while running his new coffee shop.

In addition to Dr. Fahim and Dr. Mehra, many of the MHSI neurosurgeons perform SI Joint Fusion. If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for any conditions related to the spine and back, schedule an appointment online or contact MHSI at 248-784-3667.

To learn more about spine conditions, click here to see other patient videos and how MHSI’s expertise can make a difference.


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Spinal fractures can be extremely painful. Often, osteoporosis or osteopenia can be the cause of these compression fractures within the vertebra of the spine. These are sometimes referred to as osteoporotic compression fractures due to loss of bone strength in the mid to lower back.

Women more often than men experience these fractures. This condition can occur without a specific injury or be caused by trauma or cancer of the spine. Chiu Yuen To, M.D., notes older women in the Midwest, who have less exposure to the sun and absorb less Vitamin D, are more likely to experience compression fractures.

Kyphoplasty is a painless procedure performed in the office under local anesthesia. Compression fractures often cause a decrease of height or forward rounding of the spine. Kyphoplasty can quickly relieve the pain caused by this condition.

To learn more about how compression fractures affect the vertebrae, watch this educational video.

Todd Nida, M.D., explains the procedure of Kyphoplasty, “First, a balloon is used to expand the disc and vertebral space and removed. Then a surgical glue or cement is used to ‘unscrunch’ the compressed area of the spine.” Dr. Nida says, “the pain is almost immediately relieved, and most patients return to their regular activities the next day.”

Dr. Nida explains the minimally invasive procedure that treats spine fractures caused by osteoporosis to provide rapid back pain relief and straighten the spine.

 

Christine, a patient of Daniel Fahim, M.D., explains her experience with Kyphoplasty after experiencing seven very painful compression fractures in her mid and lower back brought her life to a halt. After Kyphoplasty, she says, “I’m back” with the goal of walking 20 miles a day in a local breast cancer fundraising walk.

Watch Christine’s story below:

If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia with sudden onset pain in the mid or lower part of the spine it could be a compression fracture. To request a consultation with an MHSI neurosurgeon, call 248-784-3667 or request an appointment at MHSI.us.

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<div class="at-above-post-cat-page addthis_tool" data-url="https://www2.mhsi.us/blog/minimally-invasive-spine-surgery/"></div>The physical symptoms of spine and neck conditions can be debilitating – and the mental side effects can be worse.<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class="at-below-post-cat-page addthis_tool" data-url="https://www2.mhsi.us/blog/minimally-invasive-spine-surgery/"></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->


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Mick Perez-Cruet, M.D., was recently featured in Becker’s Spine Review discussing how spine treatment is evolving.

“Q: Where do you see the biggest opportunities for spine surgeons? How is the field evolving?

Dr. Mick Perez-Cruet: The biggest opportunities for spine surgeons are that we will continue to be extremely busy due to the growing aging population. Because patients expect to recover quickly and fully, minimally invasive spine surgery is growing in leaps and bounds with new MIS innovations and options continuing to expand.

I am particularly excited about the future of biologic treatment of spinal disorders. This remains a challenge but new and exciting research may, in the future, allow us to regenerate the intervertebral disc and restore natural function and motion to the degenerated vertebral segment. Our group is currently very active in this research using disc distractive device mechanisms in conjunction with cultured nucleus pulposus human stem cells to achieve this goal.”

Originally posted here: Becker’s Spine Review 


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Lumbar Spondylolisthesis occurs when a lumbar vertebra slips out of place. One vertebra slips forward, distorting the shape of the lumbar spine, and may compress the nerves in the spinal canal. The nerves that exit the foramen (open spaces on the sides of your vertebrae) may also be compressed. These compressions can cause pain and other problems.  But, there’s hope for relief.

Mick Perez-Cruet, M.D., presented recent studies and shows how lumbar spondylolisthesis is being treated.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Perez-Cruet, please call 248-784-3667, or online.


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Over two-thirds of individuals experience chronic low back pain (LBP) in their lifetime, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Some of the most common causes of low back pain include the biochemical degeneration of the intervertebral disc (IVD), spinal stenosis, and disc herniation. For these individuals, posterolateral and interbody fusion techniques are frequently considered for those with one- or two-level degenerative disc disease whose symptoms are unresponsive to conservative treatment. Nevertheless, pre-operative diagnostic techniques that may identify those patients with degenerative disc disease without significant neurological compression who may benefit from surgical intervention remain elusive.

Henry C. Tong, M.D., Daniel K. Fahim, M.D., and Mick Perez-Cruet, M.D., of MHSI and their colleague at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Mengqiao Alan Xi, BSc, recently published their research that re-evaluated the effectiveness of lumbar discography with post-discography CT.

Their study results indicate that discography with post-discography CT can be an effective method to evaluate patients with discogenic back pain refractory to non-operative treatments. Those patients with one- or two-level high concordant pain scores with associated annular tears and negative control disc represent good surgical candidates for lumbar interbody spinal fusion.

To read the full study, click this link.


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Jeffrey Jacob, M.D.
Jeffrey Jacob, M.D.

Jeffery Jacob, M.D., along with his former Mayo Clinic colleagues in the Department of Neurosurgery and Anesthesia.  The article was published in Neurology, Sept. 8, 2015, which presented findings from a study on obese patients undergoing elective spinal fusion.

The objective of the study was on the impact of obesity on resource utilization and early complications in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spine disease.

The conclusions drawn from this single-institution retrospective analysis is that increased BMI is associated with longer operative times, increased complication rates and increased cost independent of co-morbidities. The results further indicated the need for preoperative weight loss.