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Fri, 05 Apr 2019

What’s a Slipped Disc?

slipped disc, back pain

A lumbar disc herniation, commonly called a slipped disc, is one of the most common causes of low back and leg pain. It is a problem with one of the cushions in your spine. Think of the disc as a shock absorber between two bones (vertebrae); the center of the cushion is a gel-like material (nucleus) surrounded by a fibrous, tougher material (annulus).

Whenever the annulus breaks or fails, the gel material (nucleus) goes into the spinal canal where your spinal cord and/or nerves are. Since there’s very limited space, the nucleus acts as a mass, causing pressure on a very sensitive tissue.

A disc herniation can happen at any point in your life, but is more common between the ages of 35 and 50 years old. Men have a higher risk compared to women, as well as other risk factors: obesity, smoker, family history, physical work, etc.

The classic symptom of a herniated disc is pain down one leg, or both. This pain can go from your buttocks or groin area, all the way down to the bottom of your foot. It depends mostly on which nerve is pinched in your lumbar spine. Other symptoms can be numbness and tingling, burning sensation, muscle weakness, or even bowel and bladder issues.

Remarkably, not every herniated disc will cause pain and many patients learn they have one after a routine imaging study for an unrelated condition. Most symptomatic cases can be resolved without the need of surgery; recent studies have shown that a course of pain and anti-inflammatory medication paired with physical therapy can help treat the vast majority of cases. Other options include short periods of rest, steroid injections, daily activity changes, etc. Your doctor can help you understand and better explain your condition.

If nonsurgical treatment fails, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the herniated portion of disc. Lumbar microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure performed to relieve pressure on your nerves, alleviating the pain, helping restore normal sensation; thus avoiding worsening or permanent nerve damage. This procedure is performed in an outpatient basis, allowing patients to go home the same day.

People experiencing low back and/or leg pain should consult with an orthopedic specialist to evaluate, diagnose and elaborate a treatment plan that is both beneficial and appropriate for each patient, in order to improve quality of life.

To speak with an orthopedic surgeon today, contact Miller Orthopedic Specialists! We have locations in both Omaha and Council Bluffs, and can help you feel more yourself in no time.

Fri, 08 Mar 2019

Stem Cell-Meniscus Country Lanes

knee replacement surgery

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that provides a cushion between your femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone). There are two menisci in each knee joint.  They can be damaged or torn during activities that put pressure on or rotate the knee joint. Taking a hard tackle on the football field or a sudden pivot on the basketball court can result in a meniscus tear.  However, you don’t have to be an athlete to get a meniscus tear.   Simply getting up too quickly from a squatting position, a sudden pivot or turn, deep squatting, or heavy lifting can lead to a meniscus injury.   The meniscus weakens with age and tears become more common in people over the age of 30.  

Many athletes are at risk for a meniscus tear.   The meniscus can be torn during activities that cause direct contact or pressure from a forced twist or rotation. Sports that require sudden turns and stops may put you at higher risk for meniscus tears. Some of these sports include:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Tennis

If someone has osteoarthritis, they are at higher risk of injuring their knee or tearing their meniscus. Osteoarthritis is a common joint disorder involving pain and stiffness in joints caused by aging and wear and tear.  When an older person experiences a meniscus tear, it’s more likely to be related to degeneration. This is when the cartilage in the knee becomes weaker and thinner.    

When a meniscus tear occurs, you may hear a popping sound around the knee joint. Afterward, you may experience:

  • Pain, especially when the area is touched
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty moving your knee or inability to move it in a full range of motion
  • The feeling of your knee locking or catching
  • The feeling that your knee is giving way or unable to support you

You may also experience a slipping or popping sensation, which is usually an indication that a piece of cartilage has become loose and is blocking the knee joint.

Contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms and they persist for more than a few days or occur after your knee has been injured. Call your doctor immediately if your knee locks and you’re unable to bend your knee after straightening it.

Treatment Plans

After you discuss your symptoms with your doctor, they will examine your knee, test your range of motion, and look closely at the spot where the meniscus is along the joint.   Initially, they may treat the knee injury with conservative techniques that include rest, ice, compression, and elevation.  If this approach does not provide relief and surgery is not an option, a new procedure utilizing MOS Regenerative Medicine Solutions and Platelet Rich Plasma may be the optimal way to treat the injury.

 PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is a concentration of platelets and growth factors created from a small amount of the patients own blood.  It focuses on concentrating the healing factors to increase the speed of recovery.  

The platelets are concentrated down to a cellular level.  Outside of the bloodstream these platelets become activated and release important proteins to help increase growth levels and improve the signaling of recruitment / regenerative cells to the injured area.

A similar treatment can be executed for reoccurring sprains as well.

Do not live in pain; schedule a consultation with an orthopedic specialist at Miller Orthopedic today to receive a customized treatment plan.

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