WASHINGTON, D.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Anyone who has experienced back pain will tell you it’s excruciating. As the discs in our backs age, they can bulge and compress spinal nerves.

In the past, fusion surgery was the only option, but that led to limited movement.   Now surgeons and patients have a potentially huge new option for a pain-free life. 
“I actually had a herniated disc that was bulging out and was about to break,” detailed Fagana Stone.
Stone was in her twenties when her back pain started. 
Stone told Ivanhoe, “I was hunched over. I would hold onto my knees to balance.” 
Her nightmare back pain only worsened after giving birth to her daughter, Leyla.  
Stone explained, “I couldn’t care for my daughter and that was very devastating for me because I was a first-time mom. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain. Hot, ice, they say use pillow between the knees. Nothing was working anymore.” 
She said no to traditional spinal fusion surgery, but yes to a new option: artificial disc replacement. 
Stone continued, “I was in so much pain. You don’t even think about. Do I want to do this? I didn’t have a choice.” 
Faheem A. Sandhu, MD, Director of Spine Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, in Washington D.C., explained, “We come in from the front because that gives us the maximum access to the disc space and allows us to clean out the disc completely and insert the device. Over time, the coating on the device will actually bond to the bone and that will give a more permanent hold for the device. We try to match the space that is available to put in the right size device and that will serve as the new disc and allow for motion.” 
How is Stone doing now?
“I can’t describe how wonderful it is to be able to go to bed without pain; to sleep through the night and to wake up without pain,” detailed Stone. 
Dr. Sandhu said artificial disc replacement may be performed on the lumbar region of the lower back as well as the neck.
Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Tim Matkosky, Videographer.

REPORT #2467

BACKGROUND: Millions of Americans suffer from back pain. In fact, back pain is the largest cause of disability in Americans who are younger than 45. Back pain occurs when there is a problem in the way that the spinal joints, muscles, and discs, bind together and move. Some causes of back pain are herniated discs, bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, inflammation, wear of the sacroiliac joint, spinal stenosis, and more. There are two types of back injury: spondylolisthesis and cervical radiculopathy. Spondylolisthesis is when there is a fault or fracture in the wing-shaped parts of a vertebra which can cause the vertebrae to slip out of place. Symptoms include lower back pain, muscle tightness and stiffness, pain in the buttocks, pain radiating down the legs, and muscle weakness. The other type of back injury is called Cervical Radiculopathy, and this occurs when there is constant pressure on the nerve root. Symptoms include pain that disperses into the arm, neck, chest, and shoulders. They may also experience muscle weakness, tingling in fingers or hands, and lack of coordination, especially in the hands.
(Source: http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/pain-management-back-pain#1 and http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/causes-back-pain#1)

THE TREATMENT: Typically, people who suffer from back pain will seek nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy, medication, manual manipulation, etc. However, if the nonsurgical treatment fails to relieve patients from their chronic back pain, they would usually have a spinal fusion surgery. Spinal fusion surgery provides pain relief by stopping the motion and joining the vertebrates surrounding the painful disc(s). However, fusion surgery comes with a cost: limited mobility for the patient. Furthermore, the procedure does not always work, and it takes an average of 15 months for a patient to heal and recuperate. Another type of method is an artificial disk replacement. This procedure is designed to remove the painful disc which allows the patient to maintain mobility with the help of a prosthetic implant made of metal. The process is similar to orthopedic surgeons who use artificial hip, knee, and shoulders to relieve the pain of arthritic extremely joints, but the difference is that only one of the joints are being replaced, and not the entire joint.
(Source: https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/artificial-disc-replacement/lumbar-artificial-disc-surgery-chronic-back-pain and https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/back-surgery/artificial-disc-replacement-or-spinal-fusion-which-better-you)

SpA: Back pain could be the symptom of another medical condition called spondyloarthritis; a diagnosis doctors often miss. Spondyloarthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects one percent of the U.S population. It inflames the joints, impairs function, and if it remains unchecked, the vertebrae begin to fuse, corroding the spinal column and the joint at its base, a condition called ankylosing spondylitis. Spondyloarthritis typically occurs between the age of 40 to 45 for both men and women, but men are at a slightly higher risk. With spondyloarthritis, pain tends to be worse in the morning but can be alleviated through exercise, and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen, meloxicam, or indomethacin. Treatment may also include prescribing biologic agents, similar to those used in rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
(Source: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/05/mystery-back-pain-can-signal-hidden-serious-problem/)

? For More Information, Contact:

Marianne Worley                    For new patient appointments, contact:
Medstar Georgetown University Hospital        Medstar Georgetown University Hospital Neurosurgery Dept.
    WORLEYM@gunet.georgetown.edu   301-856-2323    

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