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Why is Low Back Pain Such a Common Human Condition?

Our journey into understanding back pain begins at the dawn of civilization when humans first stood upright. Our sacroiliac joints, which rest vertically between our pelvis and our spine, were the key to allowing us to bend forward, walk with a bi-pedal gate, and walk upright.

Mother Nature, however, designed these kidney-shaped sacroiliac joints to carry all the weight of our upper body. Four-legged animals do not share the same issues. Horses distribute weight amongst all four legs, and thus, the joints are not weight-bearing. Humans tend to place significant stress on the sacroiliac joints, especially if there is a direct impact due to a fall.

Between thirteen to thirty percent of lower back pain develops from stress or sheer force to the sacroiliac joints and the ligaments that surround them. Gravity works to put pressure on the sacroiliac joints, but injury and other issues have a significant impact on the pain we experience.


Lower Back Pain Causes

The medical community classifies back pain as acute or chronic. Acute pain is short-lived and may repair itself. When pain lasts longer than three months and returns over time, you are suffering from chronic pain. You’ll find some causes of back pain listed below:

  • If you aren’t in good physical condition and engage in heavy lifting or twisting, the strain on your back can cause muscle strains or spasms. Other causes that strain the muscles include a fall, childbirth, or a car accident.
  • There are discs between the vertebrae of your spine. If the soft material of the disc bulges or ruptures, it can press on a nerve and cause severe pain.
  • Arthritis located in the spine can cause pain in the lower back by narrowing the space around the spinal cord.
  • Scoliosis is a condition where your spine curves to the side. It usually occurs in middle age and will cause back pain.
  • If the vertebrae in your spine are porous or brittle, you’ll experience compression fractures, which cause back pain.


Practicing Prevention

Developing back pain occurs in people of all ages, although it is more common among seniors. If you focus on prevention, however, the chances are higher that you’ll avoid back problems, or at least recover more quickly.

Your back and abdominal muscles act like a corset to protect the soft and hard tissues of the vertebral discs, joints, and ligaments. Walking and swimming are low-impact exercises that strengthen these muscles. Weight-bearing exercises help lubricate the joints, which lessens the friction between them. Being overweight impacts the probability that you may strain your back muscles, and thus, a healthy diet will lower your weight and help prevent back pain.

Focus on your posture to keep your back muscles from experiencing any stress. If you have to stand for a long time, place one foot in a slightly elevated position. Concentrate on sitting in a seat with excellent lower back support. Be sure to stretch your hamstrings, which keeps the stress off your lower back. When you have to lift something substantial, keep your back straight and bend at the knees.


Lower Back Pain Treatment

Some studies indicate that back pain will affect ninety percent of the US population. If you are involved in a fall or accident, no amount of prevention will allow you to avoid the resulting back issues.

Most back pain clears up on its own or by following smart remedies at home:

  • Applying heat or cold depends on the type of back pain you have. If you use cold treatment quickly after an injury, it can reduce nerve activity, pain, and swelling. At the same time, cold treatment may not be as effective for back pain since the tissue that is inflamed lies below other tissues and far from cold therapy. Heat is useful for spasms, but it also depends on the depth of the muscles affected by the pain or injury. Continuous low-level heat has more positive results for chronic pain.
  • Continue with your regular activities when you have low back pain, and when it is time to rest, lie on your side and place a pillow between your knees to alleviate the pressure. It is better to keep moving and avoid long periods of rest, which may cause your muscles to tighten up.
  • Medications from over the counter pain relievers to stronger prescription drugs provide relief and may reduce inflammation. Topical creams and ointments may help, as well as injections of cortisone.


Lower Back Pain Exercises

Exercise is an effective medicine for alleviating back pain. The gentle exercises recommended below stretch those muscles that tend to be tight when you have lower back pain, and they focus on strengthening the muscles, usually expected to be weak in the same situation.

Always warm-up before you begin stretching your muscles, and communicate with your doctor so that you know which exercises are the best ones suited for your condition.

  • Toe taps strengthen your lower abdominal muscles so that your lower back won’t tighten up. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. You want to alternate bringing each knee to your chest and then returning your foot to the floor.
  • Bird dog is an exercise that mobilizes your lower back. Situate yourself on all fours, and alternate extending one leg while simultaneously extending your opposite arm. It is essential to keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • The bridge exercise also mobilizes your lower back. Lie on your back with knees bent and your feet on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor until your shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line. Then lower your hips to the floor before repeating.
  • Tight hamstrings cause and exacerbate lower back pain, and stretching them will alleviate the pain. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Loop a towel under the ball of one foot, straighten your knee as you slowly lift your leg into the air.
  • A spine stretch alleviates back pain and provides extra relief. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet together. Roll your knees to one side as you keep your shoulders on the floor. Your pelvis will follow your knees to each side. Return to the starting position before you repeat it on the other side.


Take the Next Step in Alleviating Your Lower Back Pain

Mother Nature didn’t necessarily design our bodies optimally so that we could easily avoid lower back pain, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. With home exercises and fostering a healthy lifestyle, most lower back pain issues will only last a few weeks. Contact Dr. Kushwaha today for a consultation on the best plan going forward to alleviate your lower back pain.

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How Do I Treat Disc Degenerative Disease?

What Is the Cure to Disc Degenerative Disease?

Almost everyone’s spine will show signs of wear and tear as they age. However, not everyone will end up with degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease is not a disease per sè but rather a condition in which a disc is damaged and causing pain. Degenerative disc disease symptoms and severity vary widely among people with this condition.


Degenerative Disc Disease Causes

There are several possible degenerative disc disease causes. Its primary cause is wear and tear of the spinal discs. Over the years, the discs can lose their function and support and start to dry out, leading to pain and other symptoms. Factors that can make this condition more likely include:

  • One of the most significant risk factors for degenerative disc disease is age. As you get older, the discs between the vertebrae begin to shrink and lose their cushioning. Symptoms of this disorder may start developing in your 30s or 40s; however, almost everyone has some level of disc degeneration by the time they reach 60. It’s important to note, however, that not all disc degeneration causes pain.
  • Being overweight – even by 10 pounds – can make degenerative disc disease much more likely. Your spine is designed to keep your body’s weight supported, balanced, and evenly distributed. Extra weight puts extra stress on your spine, accelerating the degenerative process. The harder the various parts of your spine have to work, the faster they will wear out.
  • Accidents and injuries. Sustaining a back injury may lead to degenerative disc disease. Car accidents, sports injuries, falls, and other accidents are one of the most common factors that can prompt pain and other symptoms. Although disc degeneration is a normal part of aging and does not always cause problems, it can make people more vulnerable to injury. It’s often after an injury that people experience degenerative disc disease symptoms for the first time.


Degenerative Disc Disease Symptoms

Degenerative disc disease can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • Pain in the neck, lower back, buttocks, or thighs, depending on the location of the affects disc. The pain may radiate into the arms and hands.
  • Pain that worsens when sitting. In a seated position, the discs in your lower back have significantly more stress on them than they do when you’re standing.
  • Pain that worsens when lifting, bending or twisting. All of these actions can increase the load on your spine, exacerbating pain.
  • Pain that improves while walking or running. You may notice that you have less pain when you’re walking (or even running) than when you’re sitting or standing still.
  • A reduction in pain when you lie down or change position often.
  • Severe pain that comes and goes. Periods of acute pain may last anywhere from a few days to a few months, and then get better. The pain may range from nagging to disabling.
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities.
  • Muscle weakness in the legs, a sign of possible nerve damage.


Degenerative Disc Disease Diagnosis

Diagnosing degenerative disc disease can be tricky because of how gradually it typically develops and the many possible related problems that can occur, such as herniated disc or spinal stenosis. For instance, it may be easy to diagnose a herniated disc, but much more challenging to determine that degenerative disc disease was the underlying cause.

In general, you can expect your doctor to perform a physical and neurological examination as well as a variety of tests, including a bone scan, discography, or myelogram. It would help if you also were prepared to answer a range of questions, such as when your pain started, what activities you did that may have led to the pain, what treatments you have already tried, and whether anything increases or reduces the pain.


Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment

Regardless of how your degenerative disc disease started or how severe it is, there’s one question you’re sure to be asking: What is the cure? Treatment typically begins with non-surgical methods designed to provide relief of your symptoms. Your doctor can help determine which approach will meet your needs best. Your options include:

  • Non-surgical treatments. In many cases, non-surgical treatments are sufficient to reduce symptoms and help increase the patient’s comfort and quality of life. Treatment options include pain control measures (back braces, heat/ice therapy, anti-inflammatory injections, steroid injections, manual manipulation, or electrical stimulation), physical therapy (to strengthen and stretch the muscles and help the back heal), and lifestyle modifications (weight management, changes in posture, or smoking cessation).
  • Surgical treatments. For some patients, non-surgical treatments will not be effective, and surgical methods may be indicated. Degenerative disc disease surgery may be the right choice for individuals with severe pain or loss of function that doesn’t respond to less invasive treatments. Surgery may involve disc replacement, discectomy, cervical spine discectomy, lumbar discectomy, or spinal fusion, depending on individual factors.


How to Get the Most from Your Visit to Dr. Kushwaha

To get the most out of your visit, there are some simple steps to follow. First, it’s advisable to take the time beforehand to write down any questions or concerns you may have, as it can be easy to forget points you wanted to raise once you’re in the office. It can be helpful to bring someone with you to help you ask questions and take notes. Be sure to write down the information you receive during your appointment, such as the name of a new diagnosis and any further instructions your doctor gives you.

If you have any questions about a new medication, such as why it was prescribed, how it will help, or what side effects it might cause, don’t hesitate to ask. Likewise, make sure that you know why a test or procedure recommended or what the results mean. If you will need to come back for a follow-up appointment, write down the time, date, and purpose of that visit. Finally, make sure that you know how to contact your provider should you have any questions.

Dr. Kushwaha provides degenerative disc disease surgery and other treatments. Contact Dr. Kushwaha today with any questions or to schedule a consultation.

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What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?

“Oh! My sciatica!”

Played for laughs in TV comedies, complaints about sciatica often go hand in hand with a dramatic grab towards the lower back — but the very real pain sciatica sufferers experience is no laughing matter. Named after the sciatic nerve, this painful condition has many possible causes and refers broadly to any discomfort or pain caused by the nerve.

The sciatic nerves are the largest in the body, branching off from nerves in the lower back to run down along an individual’s buttocks and into each leg. Sciatic pain can occur at any point along this path, but most commonly radiates from the lower back and buttock on one side of the body. According to the Harvard Medical School, nearly half of all people — some 40% — will experience sciatic pain and discomfort at some point in their lives. For many, the pain is acute, but for others, it becomes a frustrating chronic condition. What causes this pain to develop in the first place, and what can you do about it?


The Primary Causes of Sciatica

The length of the sciatic nerve and its connections to the rest of the body are a part of what makes treatment for sciatica a tricky process. Identifying the root cause is an important step on the road to providing relief from sciatica and nerve pain beyond treating the most problematic symptoms with medications such as OTC pain relievers. Some of the most likely culprits when you have this type of pain include:

  • Ruptured discs. All our vertebrae have cushions, or discs, of cartilage between them. When the integrity of the spinal canal breaks down, these discs can “rupture” and press out onto nerves. Ruptured discs in the lower back may press on your sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal stenosis. A term for when your spinal column narrows, causing compression of the nerves within, which may cause pain to radiate to and down the sciatic nerve.
  • Leg or lower back injury. Any injury which might damage the nerve could cause lingering pain, from falling down the stairs to suffering a sports injury.
  • Pregnancy. Bodily changes and the placement of the baby may aggravate sciatic pain, making it one of the most common complaints during pregnancy.
  • Inactivity and/or obesity. Sitting too often or with posture, combined with a high body weight, can cause extensive sciatic pain. Exercise and dietary change are important for reducing its occurrence in these scenarios.
  • Lifestyle habits. Certain jobs and physical activities can lead to repetitive strains that inflame the nerve.

Working closely with a physician will contribute to determining the cause of the pain you experience and the appropriate treatment pathway to follow.


Do I Have Sciatica? The Signs and Symptoms

When one considers all the many kinds of lower back pain you can experience, it might not seem easy to distinguish sciatica from other conditions. While pain in the general area of the nerve is often the clearest and simplest indicator, other symptoms can accompany the discomfort, which makes it more evident that the sciatic nerve is to blame. These symptoms include:

  • Buttock or leg pains that worsen into a persistent ache when sitting
  • Pains in the leg that continue when lying down
  • Tingling or shooting sensation down one leg
  • Numbness
  • Weakness or difficulty standing from a sitting position
  • Pain when walking or placing weight on the affected side

These symptoms may appear all together or in isolation, and in acute cases of sciatica, may come and go without warning. Over time, acute sciatica that reoccurs can worsen in severity in some cases. If you have frequent pain and discomfort in the regions as described, always seek an official diagnosis before making medical decisions.


How Do Doctors Treat Sciatica?

Though it may sometimes resolve on its own after a few weeks when there is not a more serious underlying cause, sciatica can be persistent and very frustrating. Once you have a confirmed diagnosis, what kinds of treatment options can you expect? We’ll address surgery specifically in a moment, but there are many non-surgical interventions to try first.

Your doctor may recommend one of several medications, based on your diagnosis. You may be prescribed OTC or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers or prescription muscle relaxers aimed at relieving the pressure causing your pain.

Efforts to treat the causes of your sciatic pain may also play a role so that you can reduce the chances you will experience the pain again. Your doctor may suggest one or several exercises for sciatica that can strengthen your lower back and body. Along with appropriate lifestyle changes, these exercises may mitigate your pain.


Is Surgery a Necessity?

In most cases, the answer is no — other therapies and treatment methodologies often yield better results and less pain than surgical intervention. However, there are cases where surgery should be a consideration, especially when the source of the pain is a herniated or ruptured spinal disc. In the most severe cases, patients may lose some mobility and contend with frequent lower body weakness. In these scenarios, surgical intervention may be necessary.

A procedure called a “microdiscectomy” is most common. Unlike a complete discectomy, which involves the removal of most of a disc, this process removes only a portion of the herniated disc to relieve the nerve pressure causing the pain. This modern procedure is not highly invasive and has a shorter recovery time than other back surgeries. However, it is an option typically only when other methods of treatment aren’t appropriate or have already failed to produce results.


Learn More About Your Next Steps with Dr Kushwaha

Sciatica may be a common condition, but that makes it no less frustrating to live with when you can’t sit without experiencing discomfort. The good news: most sciatica cases resolve on their own or with mild to moderate medical intervention. Understanding your options for the treatment of sciatica can be as simple as contacting Dr Kushwaha. Allow us to consider your condition and let’s work together today to find the solution that brings you much-needed relief.

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woman working remotely

Working Remotely? Try this to Subdue Back Injuries

The benefits of working from home are endless — from saying goodbye to your daily commute to the office, sending emails in your pajamas, and having a constant supply of snacks. Yet, the downside of working remotely is that you have most likely set up your workstation at the dining table, kitchen counter, lounge chair, or spread across your bed. Wherever you find yourself working on your device, you may notice an increase of aches and pains that come with no longer sitting at an ergonomic computer workstation. If you are experiencing a few sores and twinges, or if you want to prevent musculoskeletal injury, our tips can help you with pain relief so you can continue to work comfortably from home and potentially avoid the need for back surgery.

View Your Computer with a Straight Neck

Ensure that your screen sits in front of you at a comfortable height. Avoid the need to bend over and look down at your laptop or phone as this can put a strain on your neck and back. Also, try not to angle your screen off to the side where you would need to constantly twist your neck as you work. If you have a separate keyboard and computer monitor, then you can prop up your screen to eye level using a pile of books or a box.

Read Paper Documents in a Vertical Holder

If you need to read paper documents or are using an iPad for work, then consider using a vertical holder or put your tablet on a stand. This action will prevent your head from moving up and down between a flat document on the table and looking up at your computer screen.

Move Around Every Hour

We know that it can be easy to become absorbed in your work, but it is important that you take breaks to move your body or stretch every hour, which will help with back pain relief. You can lay flat on the floor with your legs up at a 90-degree angle to stretch your back muscles, run up and down some stairs, or stretch your arms overhead and to your sides. You should also try taking walks throughout the day, as this is a great low impact way to move your entire body.

Avoid Working on the Sofa

Rather than using your couch as your work area, save it for the times when you want to relax and take a break. Your posture will suffer if you sit on the couch for prolonged periods of time and you will be less likely to move around. Instead, find a comfortable chair where you will have good posture and a straight back. If you need extra support, you can try rolling up a towel and placing it horizontally in the small of your lower back.

Invest in an Office Chair

If working remotely is going to be a long-term prospect then consider investing in a proper office chair that works for your setup. The ideal chair is one with adjustable features such as seat height and arm, backrest, and lumbar support. Various chairs that could work include an affordable office mesh computer design that is easy to assemble and has built-in lumbar support, the Alera Elusion Series with a shallow seat depth that is ideal for multiple people, or the Herman Miller Aeron Task Chair with back support that mimics your posture when you stand and will recline so you can stretch out.

If you are experiencing significant back pain, please contact Dr. Vivek P. Kushwaha, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston for a consultation.

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Ways You Can Prevent Lower Back Pain in Your Day-to-Day Life

Combating lower back pain is something that many people have to deal with regularly. A simple task such as standing up or walking could be a daily struggle in the lives of those who suffer from this type of pain. Thankfully, there are many steps that you can take in preventing lower back pain without the need for back surgery. Here are a few examples.

Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Routine

There are tremendous benefits of setting aside time each day to workout. For example, numerous exercises will help you to strengthen the muscles in and around your back and your core, which can help to offset the pain you currently feel. You should also try to incorporate stretching exercises into your routine so that you never feel tense after a hard workout, which could put you in more pain. A good rule of thumb is if you are new to the world of exercise, you should schedule a time to meet with a personal trainer to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself more.

Avoid Sitting for Long Periods

When you are in pain, it’s understandable that you may not feel inclined to move around that much. The reality, however, is that when you sit for extended periods, you may be doing more harm than good. You should try to make it a point to get up every half hour or so and take a few steps. Even just walking around your office could go a long way to avoid your back feeling stiff or painful. If you do need to sit, you should always ensure that you do without slouching to prevent excess stress on your back and spine.

Be Conscious of Everyday Activities

A day can rarely go by where you would not have to bend over or lift something. Even if you are working in an office, you may still need to turn to answer a phone or pick up a piece of paper that dropped on the floor. While it’s advisable to avoid any twisting or turning motions as much as possible, try to be conscious of doing so in a way that will not further aggravate your injury. If you need to bend over or pick something up, do so slowly and carefully. As soon as you feel any pain, you should stop performing the task. Remember, there is no embarrassment in asking another person for help when you need it.

Schedule an Appointment Today

As a trusted orthopedic surgeon in Houston, Dr. Kushwaha and his team dedicate themselves to doing everything they can to help relieve your back pain. Whether you are trying to assess a current back injury or if you need surgery, our staff will put together a comprehensive treatment and recovery plan for you that will get you back up and active as soon as possible. Please contact us today for more information.

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Most Common Sports-Related Back Injuries

Regardless of your preferred sport, an injury to any part of your body can be devastating. A back-related injury can not only cause you significant pain but could also potentially end your sports career goals. At times, athletes may feel as though they can play through the pain by merely pushing themselves harder. Although some sports-related back injuries can heal just by taking some time off, it’s always vital that you see a back doctor in Houston if you think that you are suffering from any of these potentially serious conditions.


Sciatica is particularly painful and uncomfortable. People who are highly susceptible to suffering from sciatica include golf and tennis players because they use the majority of the muscles in their back to execute a perfect swing.

The symptoms associated with sciatica include pain and numbness not only in your back but down your legs and sometimes into your feet. While it’s true that rest and stretching exercises can help to ease the pain of sciatica, there is always a possibility that you cause yourself more damage if you don’t see a doctor.

Lumbar Sprain

Lumbar sprains usually occur if an athlete is trying to implement a lifting technique improperly. For example, it’s not uncommon for a person who is trying to perform a deadlift exercise in the gym to suffer from a lumbar sprain if their form is not correct. In the sports world, gymnasts and cheerleaders tend to suffer from this type of injury due to their constant turns and extensions. In many cases, a person can recover from a lumbar sprain using anti-inflammatory medication; however, you should always visit a doctor to discuss a treatment plan.

Warning Signs of Serious Injuries

It’s important to remember that you should never take sports-related back injuries lightly. Although you may not feel severe pain at the moment you sustain your injury, you should reach out to a doctor right away if you continuously feel worse. For instance, if the pain in your back affects your balance or the way that you walk, or you notice a radiating pain in your legs, it’s imperative that you contact a doctor as soon as possible. Additionally, pain in your back should never last for more than two months. If you find that you are still struggling with persistent pain, we strongly encourage you to reach out to our office to discuss the source of your discomfort.

We Can Help You Recover from Sports-Related Back Injuries

As a leading orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kushwaha and his staff go to great lengths to formulate a treatment plan that will help each patient to recover from sports-related back injuries. Dr. Kushwaha takes the time to learn more about what caused the injury and what you are feeling to ensure that you receive the most benefits in your care and more importantly, provide you with a better quality of life without intense back pain. To schedule an appointment, please contact us today.

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Types of Vacation Activities That Can Cause Back Pain to Flare Up

When you’re away on vacation, the last thing you want is to spend your time managing back pain. Whether you’ve recently had back surgery or suffer from a chronic condition, it is important to be aware of certain activities which can cause your back pain to flare up. Before you go ahead and book an activity (especially if it requires a deposit), consider our list of top vacation activities that can aggravate back injuries.

Riding a Four-Wheeler

The most common injury from riding an ATV is chronic lumbosacral strain, caused by bad posture as you lean over to reach the handlebars. Because most bikes are made to fit the average person, being too big or small within these measurements can put a strain on your back. Remember that the longer you ride, the more likely that you will end up with back pain. If you douse a four-wheeler on vacation, ensure that a medical professional clears you to do so and try to only go for a short ride.


You may think that being suspended up in the air while you parasail is a low impact activity and won’t cause you back pain. However, it is usually the take-off and landing which can cause injury. Any wrong landing can cause serious damage, and if you already have a back injury, then it may not be worth the risk. Most adventure companies also discourage parasailing if you have a back injury.

Boating in Choppy Water

Whether you want to go fishing or take a boat tour, ending up in rough and choppy waters can take a toll on your back. Unless you are familiar with listening to your body and reducing the risk of re-injuring your back — such as bending your knees to absorb some of the shock — you may be better off viewing the water from the shoreline. Boating can also require long periods of sitting or standing, which can cause your back muscles to ache. If you do go on a boat, be sure to change positions frequently.

Horseback Riding

If you are carrying tension in your body while horseback riding, it can cause you to absorb the motion of the horse in your lower back. The movement of your spine should be soft and undulating to prevent strain and muscle pain in your back.


While walking is a good activity to engage in that can even help with back pain relief, be mindful of your pace, technique, and the proper terrain. Going on a strenuous hike through the woods or up a mountain may not be the best idea while on vacation, but with a comfortable pair of shoes, you could opt for a nice stroll on a sidewalk — just be sure not to overdo it.

Playing Non-Contact Sports

Golf and tennis can be fun to play casually with friends and family, yet both can put a strain on your lower back. The twisting of your upper body as you wind up for a golf swing creates tension between the upper and lower back, which can cause muscle strains or tweak an old injury.

If you suffer from back pain or would like to learn more information, contact Dr. Vivek Kushwaha, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston for professional advice.

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Vivek P. Kushwaha, M.D. Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

When Should You See A Specialist For Your Hurting Back?

Back pain can often be debilitating, especially if you don’t seek the appropriate treatment when you first start experiencing severe pain. There are various methods of treatment for back pain, and you’ll be pleased to learn that not all of them involve undergoing major surgery.

  • Signs that lead up to back problems

It is vital that you are mindful of your body and that you look out for signs that indicate you may experience back problems down the line. It’s not necessary to make an appointment to see a back doctor every time you experience back pain unless the pain has become unbearable or is recurrent. If you have been experiencing either radiating or sharp pain, you may have nerve damage or problems with internal organs in your side or back. Another warning sign is numbness in your groin or your legs suddenly becoming weak – these could indicate nerve or spine damage, and you should make time to see a doctor to have your symptoms checked.

  • How long have you been experiencing discomfort?

As you get older, you may notice that your back tends to get hurt more easily. Most conditions related to age do not require surgery but are still incredibly painful. Degenerative disc disease can often develop as you age, causing lower back pain as a result of lumbar arthritis. This degeneration is not something that happens overnight, so if you have been experiencing any form of heightened discomfort, you should consider seeing a back doctor, even if it’s just to rule out anything serious. Dr. Kushwaha is an experienced orthopedic surgeon in Houston who will be able to assist you with any questions related to your back pain.

  • Questions to ask your specialist

There are several important questions that you should ask your specialist before treatment commences, as well as during your treatment if it is an ongoing process. Firstly, you need to find out what is causing your back pain, and if your discomfort is a result of an injury or a more serious condition. You should also ask your back doctor what is likely to worsen your pain and what you can do to prevent this. One of the most vital questions to ask is what options are available to you for treatment and whether or not you will need surgery. You should also find out what risks and benefits are involved in your specific treatment for back pain. Consider how your lifestyle and work affect your back and speak to your orthopedic surgeon in Houston about how you could change or improve anything that could negatively impact your back’s health.

If you have been suffering from severe back pain, perhaps it is time for you to make contact with Dr. Vivek Kushwaha, a renowned and highly-experienced orthopedic surgeon in Houston. He is certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and will work closely with you to find a treatment for back pain that is best suited to your unique situation.

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Signs That You Could Be Developing Arthritis

Do you wake up in the morning and experience swelling, stiffness or pain in any of your joints? Do you also find that you are not able to move as easily or freely as usual because your joints are too stiff or swollen? If this pain or stiffness gets worse when you are less active, or if it lasts an hour or more once you’ve woken up, you should be aware that these are some of the signs of arthritis. This joint disease could affect just one of your joints or several.

  • Joint pain

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of joint pain. There are two main types of arthritis, namely rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is mostly age-related, and symptoms will generally start to appear between the ages of 40 and 45. This form of arthritis develops as a result of the breakdown of cartilage between joints, which means that there is no longer any form of cushioning between the bones. This breakdown often leads to one or more of the signs of arthritis mentioned above, becoming prevalent in your hips, knees, hands or wrists, as these are the joints most affected by this type of arthritis.

  • Joint movement

You’ll find joints in your body wherever two bones meet, such as your fingers, toes, hips, or elbows. When you consult with an orthopedic surgeon, they’ll advise you that keeping active is vital to maintain healthy joints. Arthritis can occasionally lead to a severely limited range of motion because your joints become so stiff, swollen, and painful that you may begin avoiding physical activity. It is far better to arrange for arthritis treatment in Houston early on, rather than waiting until you have become physically incapacitated when there may be fewer treatments available to you that don’t involve surgery.

  • What to do when you feel the symptoms

If you have begun to experience any signs of arthritis regularly, it’s advisable for you to make an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon. Your joints have become inflamed because your body is reacting to some form of injury or disease. There are instances where arthritis can lead to painful and permanent disability, so it is far better to seek arthritis treatment in Houston before it’s too late. You will have access to a range of treatment options, depending on the severity of your arthritis.

  • Options to help with arthritis

There may come a time when treatments such as splints or pain medication are no longer sufficient in dealing with your arthritis. At this stage, you may want to consider arthrodesis. Arthrodesis is a surgical procedure where joint ossification between two bones is artificially induced and is most often performed on joints in the hand, ankle, foot or spine.

Dr. Vivek Kushwaha is a renowned and highly-experienced orthopedic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. If you need arthritis treatment in Houston, you should make an appointment to see Dr. Kushwaha – the sooner you can begin with the treatment, the sooner you’ll start feeling relief from the painful symptoms of arthritis.

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How Long After Spine Surgery Can You Drive (and Other Activities)

If you are about to have or have recently had spine surgery, you are probably anxious to know when you’ll be able to return to your normal activities. Driving after spine surgery is often one of the things that patients are the most concerned with in terms of getting back to their regular routines. The short answer is that you can drive when you feel up to it, when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications, and when your Houston spine surgeon gives you the okay. The long answer is a tad more complicated, as everyone’s recovery is unique. Here is a little information to help you know what to expect and how to make your recovery as easy as possible. 

Typical Turnaround Time on Recovery

The length of time it will take you to recover from spine surgery entirely depends on many factors, such as the type of surgery you had, your body’s natural healing abilities, the severity of your symptoms before surgery, and how carefully you adhere to your post-op instructions. 

In years past, spine surgery was dreaded for its tendency to leave patients with as much pain as it helped, with real benefits relatively rare. Today, however, our ability to diagnose and treat back pain and spine conditions has improved dramatically. Modern techniques allow patients to get back to their jobs and daily activities quite reliably. Even patients who have major spine surgery are usually able to return to work and remain active for years after surgery. 

Precautions to Take

After your spine surgery, your orthopedic surgeon in Houston will provide you with post-op recovery instructions to help you heal as quickly and thoroughly as possible. In general, there are a few precautions that you can take to ensure that you give yourself the best odds of healing altogether and help minimize discomfort along the way. 

  • Watch for signs of infection. Keep in mind that infection is a possibility with any surgery. Keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as fever or swelling. Minimize the chances of infection by keeping the incision site clean and taking your medications as prescribed. 
  • Participate in physical therapy. If your Houston spine surgeon recommends physical therapy, be sure to follow through. Physical therapy can help you learn to do the things you enjoy safely without pain, such as driving after spine surgery. 
  • Move regularly. It can be tempting to spend much time resting after surgery, and you should. However, it’s also essential to move. Movement keeps your blood circulating efficiently and helps your body heal more quickly. 
  • Don’t overdo it. While you should be getting some regular exercise (as recommended by your doctor), it’s important not to do too much too soon. Follow recovery instructions carefully, avoiding activities that are prohibited while you’re healing. 
  • Don’t bend or lift. Following most spine surgeries, you shouldn’t bend at the waist or lift anything weighing more than ten pounds. If you must bend, bend at the knees, and only to pick up very light objects. 

If you are looking for an orthopedic surgeon in Houston, contact Dr. Kushwaha today.

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