All you need to know about Spinal Fusion

All you need to know about Spinal Fusion

When we are dealing with back pain, there are cases when doctors will recommend surgery for alleviating the constant discomfort. One of these surgeries is the Spinal Fusion, a major surgery done on the spinal cord that lasts for hours, with the purpose of diminishing the pain of the patient. Is a surgery the right thing to do? Well, when it comes to surgeries, regardless of their type, there are always risks involved. But, considering that it is your spine that will be the one operated, the risks are higher. There are many things that can go wrong, complicating your condition during spinal fusion procedure. Thus, you need to know everything about this surgery before taking a decision, especially the risks involved.

  • When will a doctor decide that spinal fusion is needed?

As mentioned earlier, back fusion may be recommended in the case of patients that have a moving spine segment that is causing them pain. So, the purpose of this surgery is to remove the cause of pain in the spine. In order to stop the motion of the vertebrae that are moving and uncomfortable, during the surgery, two or more spine will be connected, so that they will have more stability and stop being painful, also correcting any spine deformities, if they exist. A doctor may recommend this surgery in case your spine has broken vertebrae. Of course, not in all cases of broken vertebrae a surgery may be required, as they can also heal by themselves. Back fusion is usually recommended when the broken vertebra is making the entire spine unstable. According to the previous mentions, this surgery can also be done in the case of spine deformities, like scoliosis, the case of a spine that is curved sideways, or kyphosis, a rounding of the upper spine that is abnormal.

Also, in case of spinal weaknesses or instability, the doctor will take the surgery into account. When there is an abnormal motion between two of the vertebrae, your spine may become unstable. Such instability is usually a characteristic of spine arthritis, being a side effect of this condition. To restore the stability of the spine, back fusion is perform to remediate the defect of the vertebrae that are causing the trouble. Spondylolisthesis is another condition that doctors may want to correct through surgery. In the case of this illness, one vertebra will end up slipping onto another, causing pressure on the spinal nerves. This will trigger pain and even numbness and discomfort in the lower limbs. Last, but not least, back fusion may also be performed in the case of a herniated disk, the removal of the damaged disk destabilizing the spine, which will need to be repaired through surgery.

  • What are the expected results?

The spinal fusion surgery is used in various cases of spinal deformities, fractures, and instability. Still, when the cause behind back and neck pain is not known for sure, the results are uncertain and studies show that the surgery may not solve the problem. There are many cases in which this surgery will not do more than what regular non-invasive treatments for back pain will do, ending up to be a procedure that was done unnecessary. Diagnosing a back pain and finding out what causes it can be an extremely challenging task, even for experienced doctors. Even when a herniated disc or bone spurs do appear on X-rays, it doesn’t always mean that the pain will do away once these problems are treated. The results appearing on the images are not always the ones that actually cause the pain and discomfort in your spine. Also, after the surgery, a patient may feel immediate improvements in his back condition, the pain being diminished and discomfort reduced. But, unfortunately, this may not last for too long, because the lack of pain after the surgery may turn into more pain than before the surgery in the future. This happens because uniting two spine sections into one fragment to reduce their movement will create in time stress accumulation in the area and strain on the fused segment. Thus, the rate at which these areas will start degenerating can be accelerated, which means that you may suffer from further surgery in time.

  • What you can expect to happen, as a patient?
  • My Story: If I knew then what I know now, would I……

First of all, because it is a lengthy, complicated, and sensitive procedure, you will be under general anesthesia during the surgery, so you will not hear or feel anything. There are several techniques applied when performing the surgery, the method chosen by your doctor depending on the location of the damaged vertebrae and the reason you needed the procedure in the first place. But, regardless of chosen method, there are standard steps that are followed in every case. The surgery will start with an incision. The incision can be made directly on your spine, in the neck of back area, it can be done on one side of the spine, or it can be done on your front part of the neck or stomach, to access the spine this way. To make the fusion between two vertebrae, the doctor will use bone grafts, which are usually taken from other parts of your body, like the pelvis, to make sure that your body will accept them. So you will have another small incision, above your pelvic bone this time, from where the doctor will sample a bone fragment, closing it immediately once the procedure is done. This bone fragment will be placed in between your damaged vertebrae, a metal plate and a few screws, or rods, will be used to secure the fragments in place, allowing the spine to heal where the bone grafts where positioned. There are cases in which the bone graft will be replaced by particular substances, which promote the growth of bone in the area, also speeding the fusion and healing process.

Once the surgery is completed, you will be hospitalized for two or three days, depending on how you feel. It is also possible to feel some discomfort and even pain around the area where the surgery was perform, but these symptoms are usually managed very well with proper medication. But, whether you will feel post-surgery pain depends very much on the location where the surgery was performed on your spine. After you are released from the hospital, you will need to keep an eye on the area, to notice any signs of infection. They can be swelling, redness, and tenderness felt in the location where the surgery took place. Other signs include drainages from the wound, chills that will make you shake or high fever that is above 100 F or 38 C. The healing process will take several months, until the spine will eventually get properly aligned. For this, the doctor will recommend the wearing of special braces, to help you support your spine better. Also, physiotherapy is another method to make sure that while you move, stand, and sit, your spine will keep a correct posture.

  • What are the risks?

A back fusion is usually very expensive and it involves a lot of risks, so you need to weight all your options before making such a choice. Of course, it is not a surgery that is extremely rare, as it is performed quite often, but there are no guarantees that you won’t feel any pain in the future. As you found out earlier as well, pain can come back and be even worse than before, and there are chances for you to go through another surgery, or even more. Let us look closer at the risks involved with back fusion. The complications that may appear after the surgery can be as following:

  • Infection in the organism;
  • The wound can heal poorly and create constant discomfort;
  • The area can bleed;
  • Blood clots can be formed;
  • During the surgery, there are high risks for your blood vessels and nerves to get damaged around the spine, which will also cause pain and discomfort after the surgery;

And you will also feel pain in the area from where the bone graft is extracted for the fusion, since the area will also suffer an incision and tissue sampling, resulting another wound that needs to heal inside the body;

These are risks that can happen in the immediate period of the surgery, but there are some that will only appear as time passes by. The surgery will repair the vertebrae that are causing you damage, but the fusion will just move the stress from this area of your spine to adjacent areas. This happens because after the surgery, your spine will move differently, since the vertebrae are moving like a bigger fragment and not individually. This translates are more accelerated wear and tear in the joints of the vertebrae found on each side of the fusion, which will get damaged in time and cause further discomfort and pain that can end up being another chronic problem of your spine.  Knowing all the possible complication and risks involved many people have mixed feelings. On one hand potential of the reduction in back pain , but on the other hand many terrifying stories from dissatisfied patients for whom spinal surgery turned out a terrible decision and without diminishing pain.

    Often patients feel that their doctors encourage them to undergo the spinal fusion procedure and they feel uneasy to say no. There are some methods that that desperate back pain sufferers try to postpone spinal fusion by a method that they read or heard about in the news In an attempt to find the way to improve their chronic condition they are willing to try virtually anything. As makers of the Zero Compression Back Brace we are very proud to introduce a simple, safe and super effective device that can allow to postpone of more than half risky spinal fusion operations. ZCBB provides an immediate improvement in the back pain condition often sufficient enough to convince some to postpone into a distant future the most important back procedure in their lives. This brace device due to its elaborate design allows to keep back pain in check by putting the spine in correct position, and as a result allows to relieve the constant pressure on the spine nerves. We strongly encourage everyone thinking of a back procedure giving Zero Compression Back Brace a chance. This ultra-light device that wears as a back brace at a very low price considering what it does  may be able to change your life.

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Effective Home treatments for Back Pain

If your back pain does not require medical attention, i.e. if you feel you over exerted the muscles you can perform a few actions at home to, perhaps relieve your pain. The common treatments include bed rest, pain remedies, cold or hot pads, massage, relax, and so on.

Sometimes when we pull the muscles pain relievers can help reduce the pain. Common over-the-counter meds include ibuprofen, aspirin, or meds with acetaminophen included. You should avoid taking ibuprofen and aspirin combined to treat common back pain. In addition, if you have asthma, allergies, or polyps, leave ibuprofen and aspirin alone.

Cold packs work well, yet if you have conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or related symptoms you should avoid using cold packs. Cold packs can reduce back pain otherwise if you allow the packs to remain on your back long enough to reduce muscle spasms, pain, or inflammation. Leave the cold pack on the area where your pain is for at least twenty minutes.

Later you can apply hot packs to the area. Avoid placing hot packs over areas where scar tissue is present. In addition, if you have poor circulation, avoid placing hot packs in this area as well. Leave the hot packs on your back for at least twenty minutes as well. Do not use heating pads, since experts believe that the pads are unsafe. You can take a hot, steamy bath or shower, or purchase hydrocollators and place it on the area. You can find hydrocollators at pharmacy, or areas where medical equipment, meds, etc., are sold.

If your muscles are tight, you may benefit from a massage. If someone you know is willing to give you a massage, ask him or her to rub the area gently. Otherwise, you may find local massage therapists in your area, which offer affordable treatment. If the massage increases your pain, ask the person to stop. You may need medical treatment. You should avoid massages if you have fallen and injured your back, or if you were recently in an accident. Seek medical help first.

You can also relax the back if your muscles are tense. Relaxation promotes wellness, since the muscles can rest from over-exertion.

To avoid complicating common back pains you should move around at least 20 minutes each day. Throughout the day, we sit, lie on the back, stand, walk, etc. which all applies gravity pressure to the spine. We can learn proper sitting strategies to avoid complicating common back pain.

A back brace can also be used to ease back pain. The Zero Compression Back Brace is designed to provide gentle support all day.  It is ultralight, comfortable, and can be worn discreetly under clothing so you can drive, sit, swim, or exercise. Zero Compression Back Braces prevent the spine and nerves from being compressed.

When sitting, you can roll a towel up and situate it at the lower back and on your chair. This will provide the lumbar support. If you have, certain conditions however avoid using such support. Conditions such as spine stenosis or spondylolisthesis can become irritated if you use back supports in such a way.

To minimize back pain, you should avoid sitting for long hours. Walk around in intervals if you have a job that requires you to sit for long hours. Sit and try to position your knees so that they are somewhat above the hips.

Common back stress can be reduced, yet if you try remedies at home or at work and the remedies fail, you may need to seek medical advice. 

Best Places for Back Surgery and How to Prepare

Best places for back surgery

Spinal surgery is that type of treatment that should be accepted only when nothing else helps in improving your condition. Because it is one of the most important parts of our body, the one that ensures our mobility, posture, and even reflexes, the spine should be treated with extreme care. So, it is only natural to want to be treated by the best doctors in the best hospitals, to make sure that the surgery will be a success and that your recovery will not encounter any difficulties. The doctor that will perform the intervention is indeed very important; this is why you should opt for reputable spine surgeons, which have an extensive experience in the field. And since the best doctors are found in top notch hospitals, you can be sure that the equipment and conditions in the medical facility will be excellent as well. To help you in making the right choice in this matter, here is a list with the best spine surgeons and hospitals in the US. Also, you will learn what to do before and after the surgery to speed up the healing process and avoid pain.

• Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Dr. Kevin Grill
By simply looking up information about Dr. Kevin Grill, you will find out that he is regarded as being one of the best spine surgeons in the world in present days, due to the fact that he always used top notch materials and techniques for his surgeries. Some of the surgeries performed by this doctor that are worth mentioning are the ones in which he implanted artificial discs in the backbone to improve mobility and get rid of back pain. He can be found performing at the Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where the latest technologies are used, to minimize the time needed for surgery and help a patient get back on his feet as soon as possible.

• NYU Hospital and Dr. Jeffrey A. Goldstein
The New York Magazine named Dr. Jeffrey A. Goldstein as one of the top surgeons in the country and one of the experts in the spinal surgery domain for six years in a row. He is known for doing his best in finding surgical techniques that are invasive in the least way possible for all of his patients, whenever a person’s conditions allows him to do so. His area of expertise consists in replacing cervical and lumbar disks, just like Dr. Grill, using his knowledge and experience to allow a fast recovery for his patients. You can find this great surgeon at the NYU Hospital, where you will enjoy the best conditions and medical attention.

• Rush Hospital
Located in Chicago the Rush University and Medical Center, also known as the Rush Hospital, is one of the best medical centers in the world when it comes to spinal health. Some of the best doctors work here and it is hard to name one that is above the rest, because the entire team of doctors here is exceptional. They are famous for being able to formulate precise diagnosis when it comes to the various types and causes of back pain, known for the difficulty of being diagnosed in the medical world. Still, even if the doctors here are reliable and their diagnosis is most often accurate, when it comes to having back surgery it is always good to search for a second opinion.

• DISC and Dr. Anthony T. Yeung
The Desert Institute for Spinal Care or DISC is located in Phoenix, Arizona, being one of the best medical centers for back care in the country. Here, you will find Dr. Anthony T. Yeung, named several times on the lists containing the top spinal surgeons in the US, due to his activity in the domain. He specialized in handling back pain cases that are caused by degenerative conditions, so if you have this problem as well, it would be worth looking for Dr. Yeung. Bulging and herniated discs are among the specialties of the doctor, using imaging as his favorite method to precisely locate the area that is causing back pain for each patient. Dr. Yeung is the first spinal surgeon that ever used endoscopically guided lasers and developed the well-known Yeung Endoscopic Spine System, which is FDA approved.

How to get prepared for a back surgery

Preparation before getting into surgery is very important, not only from a physical point of view, but also from a psychological point of view. You need to be mentally prepared to cope with the situation, if you want to have the best results. Usually, people that are not prepared from a mental point of view end up worsening their status, so do everything needed to be ready for what is going to come up next. For instance, there are people that would like to know as much as possible about what their surgery involves. So if this helps you to be better prepared, talk with your doctor about all those aspects that interest or concern you about your surgery and even do some in-depth research if you need to know more. Also, do have in mind that if you don’t feel capable of getting yourself mentally ready to cope with the surgery, ask a nurse or even a psychologist to guide you through this process.
Still, there are people that prefer to avoid knowing too many details about their surgery, because this is how they manage to cope better. They are called “blunters” and are usually avoiding the information connected to their surgery or try to find distractions that won’t allow them to think about it too much. For this category of people, too much info can actually trigger a higher level of stress prior to the operation, so it would be best to be avoided. If you feel like the info provided by your doctor is too much and is causing stress levels to increase, ask the doctor not to get into details because it is causing you too much discomfort. You’ll probably want to know that you’re in good hands and that the surgery will unroll with minimum of risks. So, besides doing what it is strictly necessary in the preparation period before the surgery, do the rest of your activities like you’re supposed to, like nothing will ever change your life.
But, besides preparing your mind, you should also prepare your house as well, because you won’t be able to do some things like you used to for a while, and you will definitely not be able to lift weights or to bend over. So, here is how you get things ready.
• Get a toilet riser, because you may experience difficulties in sitting and getting up when using the toilet. Such a device will fit any toilet seat and can be found in rehab supply stores;
• Put the items you use the most in your reach, so you won’t have to bend to get them. Paper cups and plates are usually helpful in this case, because you won’t have to bend to get them or use the dishwasher;
• Use slip on shoes, for avoiding bending as well;
• Have your food prepared, because you won’t be able to spend too much time sitting up to cook. Either stock your fridge with food that is already prepared or shop at the grocery stores for foods that can be prepared very easily;
• Make sure to have a “reacher” or “grabber” around you. This is a device that can be found both in rehab supply stores and in department stores or pharmacies, being much preferred by people with a reduced mobility, because it helps them reach and grab items without moving too much or bending.

What to do after back surgery

Knowing what to do after back surgery will allow you to recover faster, by avoiding pain and supporting the area that was operated to heal faster. Besides the advice and prescription pills that will be recommended by the doctor, which will help you keep the pain at bay, here is what you need to know to continue recovering safely at home as well.
• Ask help if you are experiencing pain, because there isn’t a particular recipe of relieving pain that will work for everybody. Pain also includes constipation, which is usually caused by the medications you take within the first two weeks. No matter what is causing the pain, you should ask for help, because your treatment may be adjusted or you may use alternative methods of dealing with pain, like ice packs;
• Make sure to get sufficient sleep, because our body heals best at night, when we rest. So, whatever you do, after back surgery, make sure you enjoy a comfortable sleep at night. Do not lose sleep because it may affect your body’s rate of healing;
• Do not miss your post-operatory rehabilitation program. Performing stretching and appropriate exercises indicated by a therapist is a must if you want to recover fast and enjoy the best results after surgery. Plus exercising won’t just help your spine, but also your mood, by stimulating the body to produce endorphins;
• See if you can get help from back braces, which can aid you throughout your recovery period and not only. Back braces will provide support to your spine, avoiding too much strain on it and letting it to heal properly. It would be recommended to ask your doctor about the type of back brace you should wear, if and when needed.

A Zero Compression Back Brace has proven to alleviate back pain by putting spine in a proper posture.

Professions most prone to back pain

Professions known for causing back pain problems among people

Every job has its advantages and downsides and this is obvious, although there are some jobs that can trigger or aggravate back pain. Usually these professions involved carrying heavy weights most of the time, sitting with your spine bent, or sitting down at a desk for most of the time. Also, in the case of people that suffered from back or neck injuries, things can get even worse, as the risks associated with developing chronic back pain at their job is significantly higher. The Bureau for Labor Statistics discovered a staggering number of non-fatal occupational injuries, from which a considerable number were related to juries causing back pain. But, even if you don’t suffer an injury that can cause back pain, you can develop this problem in time, if you maintain your profession. Here are the professions considered most responsible for causing back pain.

• Construction workers

The top of the list is occupied by, obviously, construction workers, because they subject their back to many stressing movements. They pull, tug, carry, and lift heavy weights most of their time, while also working in a bend position quite often. Because such damaging movements are not rare and occasional, having a more permanent occurrence in a construction field, there is an overuse of injuries in most cases, making back pain in this profession category an often problem. Periodically, approximately 30% of the workers in this domain miss work because of back pain issues, according to statistics. Not to mention that because scaffolds are used, many people expose themselves to the risk of falling and suffering from severe back injuries, which can lead to physical disabilities and even death, in the worst case scenario.

• Nurses and workers in nursing homes

These professions are on the second place when it comes to the incidence of back pain. Because the population is growing older by the year, many nursing homes for senior citizen emerged in recent times, giving people the opportunity to get employed in this domain. But this is also why the number of people suffering from back pain increased, because nurses and employees in nursing homes also face a great risk of developing back problems. The same Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that approximately 80% of the injuries to the back and shoulders of the people working in this domain is caused by moving of the patients. They have to be placed in their bed, in a wheelchair, to have a bath, to be supported when walking, and so on, so the body has to withstand additional weight almost all the time.

• Warehouse workers

It is only normal for warehouse workers to be added to the group of people exposed to developing back pain, since they often have to carry and handle heavy weights and work with their spine bent. But overworking their spine is not the only reason that may warehouse workers so in danger of hurting their spine. Because they have to operate and drive various industrial vehicles, which subject the body to constant vibrations, they also can develop soreness in most of their muscles, neck, and back areas.

• Surgeons and dentists

These two professions subject the spine to continuous tension, because the surgeon and the dentist have to work while standing up and bending their back in all sorts of positions. Also, even if they are doctors and know the importance of having a correct posture for their back, their work may take their attention from this aspect, which will make them disregard this aspect. Thus, they often end up in back postures for their body which lead to back pain and discomfort.

• Gardeners and landscapers

According to the American Chiropractic Association, the landscaper profession is included on the list of jobs that are very likely to cause back pain. When working constantly in a garden, a person risks developing back problems due to overuse of the back. Bending, stooping, reaching, pruning, and various other gardening operations make a person adopt an inadequate position for their back. The risk does not come from the fact that they unroll gardening activities, as much as it comes from the fact that they have to repeat actions that can damage their spine.

• Store checkout personnel

Retail stores and grocery stores have personnel waiting at checkout to inspect purchased products. These people will work by standing up all the time and lifting bags or groceries and other heavy items all the time. More than 50% of this type of workers complain of neck and back pain, caused by their job.

• Truck drivers

This profession assumes sitting down on the chair of a truck for extended hours. Spinal compression and tightening of the lower back muscles are causing back pain in this case. Also, when having to drive for very long distances, their back is subjected to constant vibrations as well, which only make things worse. Because many of these drivers have to work against the clock, they don’t have sufficient time to take proper breaks, ending up with back problems.

• Police officers

Police officers also have to sit in their cars for very many hours in most cases, which will lead to the compression of their spine and pain in the lower part of their back. Also, the fact that they have to carry specific equipment, like their equipment belts, with them all the time affects their normal body movement. For instance, when they have to capture a suspect or get in alert their body will be subjected to extra tension due to the present of additional weight.


People that work in the fire department can have a hard time due to back pain because they have to lift heavy objects, like hoses filled with water and axes, when needed to break into an entrance. They also have to carry equipment that is rather heavy, like oxygen tubes and protection gear. All this extra weight mixed with the fact that they have to move fast puts strain on the joints and back.

• Mechanics

Mechanics don’t always have to deal with lifting heavy weighted items, but they do have to take all sorts of awkward positions to achieve their task. Working for extended periods in an abnormal posture for your spine will result in triggering back pain in time and reduced mobility.

Retained Electricity Intensifies Pain

Retained Electricity Intensifies Pain

     There have been numerous studies  on the effect of the retained electricity and its effects on the painful body areas. Dating back to 17th century and the work of a famous Dr. Galvani known as a founder of electro medicine this area of medicine has attracted lots of attention of medical researchers over the years

     Another investigation that has direct relevance to pain treatment today is Dr. Galvani’s work showing that damaged nerves emit an electric current. One of Dr. Galvani’s students, Dr. Carlo Matteucci, carried on extensive studies of the emission of electricity from damaged nerves after Dr. Galvani’s death in 1798. The importance of these early findings is that an injury to nerves, as found in the typical pain patient, emits an electric current that leaks into and pools in the tissue around the damaged nerves. It is this “free” or “pooled” electricity that may produce pain and inflammation.

    According to current experts in the field such as Dr. Forrest Tennant and others  the trapped electricity from  painful are of the body where nerves have been injured must be removed because a dysfunctional nerve traps the electricity that your nerves constantly generate.  Retained electricity may cause pain flares, burning, itching, redness, jerking and twitching, insomnia, headache, and loss of appetite. The excess electricity should be removed daily since nerves constantly make it. 

      Chronic pain is partly due to damaged nerves that constantly produce and retain or "trap" electricity.  A build up of too much electricity causes a pain flare, inflammation, and additional damage to the body.  The prevention and reduction of retained electricity is very important  daily practice to adequately control pain.  Copper, brass, magnesium, and magnets act as a "lightning rod" and attract trapped electricity.  The tissues of the body are negatively charged while metals like copper and magnesium are positive and attract or "pull out" retained or trapped electricity.  The word "grounding" is related to the fact that electricity is neutralized or dissipated when it reaches the ground.

     Some of the common practices recommended by doctors specializing in this field such as Dr. Tennant are simple and take several minutes to do but every individual needs to consult their own health expert on suitability for their specific condition and time duration prior to starting any of following practices. They include among others  

1.  Walking barefoot on sand or grass

 2.  Taking a hot bath with Epson Salts which are magnesium sulfate

 3.  Wearing a copper or magnetic bracelet (They can make pain worse if worn too long.)

 4.  Rubbing your painful sites with a copper object - time is 1 to 3 minutes

 5.  Applying magnets to your painful site

Sources :

1.       Green RM. A Translation of Luigi Galvani’s De Viribus Electricitatis in Moto Musculari Commentarius. Baltimore, MD: Waverly Press; 1953.

2.       Articles by Dr Forest Tennant MD, DrPH


Back Pain and Painkillers Overuse

The overuse of medication by people who deal with back pain

Back pain is definitely a condition that is affecting the quality of life of a person. When the back is in pain, the person suffering from it has a low mobility, discomfort, a bad moral, and even gets into a situation where he or she may accept anything that will stop the pain. This usually happens when the pain lasts for several days, testing the patience and endurance of the patient. In such cases, many people start taking strong pain medication, to make sure that the pain will go away for sure. Also, when suffering from chronic back pain, taking medication becomes a regular habit, which is not healthy at all. Every type of drug has side-effects and it is damaging for the body, especially the opiates medication used for making back pain disappear.

  • The pain medication used for back pain

Painkillers or medication for pain are used by people throughout the country for alleviating different kinds of pain. Because back pain can be quite insistent and have a higher intensity than other types of pain, people tend to opt for stronger medication, to make sure that the pain will go away after taking the drug. Unfortunately, the number of people that take narcotic pain killers, also known as opioids, increased significantly in the past years. Patients suffering from chronic back pain are the ones that end up taking such medication, because their body develops a resistance to other, milder painkillers, and they start turning to something more potent to make the pain go away. But, the saddest part in this story is that together with the rise in the numbers of opioid users have also increased the number of deaths caused by this narcotic pain killer. People are not fully aware of the risks they are getting themselves exposed to when starting to take such medicine. This type of drugs may be found in various names on the market, an aspect we are about to talk in the following lines.

  • How to opioids work?

What is making more and more people to take opioids as pain medication for back problems? Is this drug so efficient in alleviating back pain, including the most severe of them? As mentioned before, opioids are narcotic pain killers, which mean that they act pretty much in the same manner as notorious drugs. In the article called “Narcotic Drugs for the Treatment of Chronic Pain: A Double Edged Sword”, written by Peter F. Ullrich, Jr., MD, a retired Orthopedic Surgeon, the action of opioids is considered to be similar with the one of heroin. The comparison was made because of the fact that opioids bind to the same brain receptor as in the case of heroin, which is the Mu receptor. After a patient takes opioids, his organism will start producing molecules that are similar to narcotics, inducing a feeling of well-being. Practically, they reduce the painful signals sent by the painful spot in our body to the brain, altering the brain’s perception over the pain. Thus, the patient starts feeling an improvement in his condition, as he no longer feels the bothering pain anymore. But, everybody should know that such effects have a limited effect, once the drug is metabolized and gets out of the system, its painkilling action will stop and the pain will return.

  • Opioids can be addictive

In the same article, written by Doctor Peter F. Ullrich, Jr., there is a mentioning about the addiction people can develop for opioids. This is one of the causes that make this medication so dangerous. Of course, the addiction is not a mandatory condition, as it is developed in time, if the patient does not respects the quantity and period of the treatment. For instance, if the treatment with opioids will exceed 4 weeks, with the drugs taken on a daily basis, the organism may start getting used to the substance’s presence. So, the person may start feeling the need to continue taking the drugs. If the person will stop taking the medication, the body will start manifesting withdrawal symptoms, which is a natural occurrence when it comes to narcotic pain killers. Also, when the body started getting used to it, it develops a tolerance, which makes the drug less efficient. When this happens, people that deal with chronic back pain will start increasing the dosage, to maintain the desired effect of the drug. Once a person exceeds the quantity of drugs prescribed by the doctor, that person will become an abuser. Also, the risks of taking an overdose increases significantly as well. This happens because many people believe that the medication is safe, since it was prescribed by a doctor, not being aware of the consequences of taking a higher dose or prolonging the treatment without talking to the doctor about it.

  • The damages done by opioids are greater than their benefits

Dr. Mercola states in his article, “For Back Pain or Headache, Painkillers Do More Harm Than Good”, that the use of opioids as treatment for back pain should be the last solution on the list. Unfortunately, for many people that deal with this problem, it is the first solution. Because of this and driven by their ardent desire to enjoy a pain-free life, many Americans end up being substance abusers, using opioids for treating their pain inadequately. Every year, the number of prescriptions for narcotic pain killers increased with 12.5%. This shows just how much the number of people that started using such medication increased as well. The numbers connected to the deaths caused by painkillers are grim as well, 30% of these deaths being caused by narcotic painkillers. Besides death, other risks connected to such medication are falls among the senior citizens, due to perception altering, frequent visits to the emergency room, and dependence on drugs.

What people don’t realize is that these painkillers are as dangerous and noxious to the body as heroin is. They believe that narcotic painkillers will help them, so they don’t see them as real drugs. But, to the human brain, heroin and opioids are one and the same. This means that the effects and damages done are similar. So, the question is, would you ever take heroin to treat back pain? If the answer is no, then why would you take opioid painkillers? Your brain will perceive them in the same manner, because they effects are similar.

  • The different names of opioids and their side-effects

Hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, and tramadol are all opioids. They all have the same effect, even if their name is different. These opioids can be found in a number of medicine, as stated below.

  1. Norco and Vicodin – content of hydrocodone

The most common side-effects of Norco are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. Severe side-effects include hallucinations, confusion, agitation, and abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, seizures, difficult or slow breathing, and difficulty in waking up. The side-effects of Vicodin are the same as in the case of Norco.

  1. Dilaudid and Exalgo – content of hydromorphone

The most common side-effects of Dilaudid are drowsiness, sweating, flushing, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and allergic reactions, like itchiness, rash, and swelling. Severe side-effects include hallucinations, abdominal pain, tiredness, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
  1. Astramorph and Avinza – content of morphine

Besides the previously mentioned side-effect, other severe effects of Astramorph can be fainting and seizures. Also, the face, throat, and tongue can get swollen. The same side-effects are mentioned in the case of Avinza as well.

  1. OxyContin and Percocet – content of oxycodone

The same side-effects can occur as in the case of the rest opioids.

  1. Ryzolt and Ultram – content of tramadol

Besides the previously mentioned side-effects, Ultram can also trigger twitching of the muscles, unexplained fever, restlessness, loss of coordination, fast heartbeat, and troubled breathing, as an allergic reaction.

The facts about pain killers overdose are astonishing and well researched however the public and especially those with painful conditions often ignore obvious faces as they are willing to push the boundaries of legal pain medications. Besides the highly addictive nature of those drugs the damage to health and internal organ cannot be overstated. One would be well advised to be careful and be familiar of the dangers. The research of other pain reducing options is invaluable and can offer significant pain reduction lessening the dependence on drugs. Recently some incredible devices were invented such as the no compression belt called Zero Compression Back Brace . This patent pending device offers a hope to back pain sufferers where no hope was not previously available. Even if the result will be reduction in the dosage and reduction in frequency this back belt will be worth to have in your corner.


Facts About Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis 

The term ‘stenosis’ means narrowing of a tubular structure in the body. Spinal stenosis, then, means narrowing of the spaces( back bone) of the spinal column. Spinal stenosis can occur as a result of trauma, inflammation, tissue degeneration, tumors, and for other reasons, and at a certain point the narrowing can cause pinched nerves, spinal cord compression and other adverse effects. 

Spinal Stenosis Effects 

Not all spinal stenosis is symptomatic. In fact, many people have some degree of stenosis but remain unaware of this unless they have an X-ray or other imaging taken of the spine which reveals asymptomatic narrowing. 

When symptoms of spinal stenosis do occur they can be acute, chronic, transient, and variable in nature. Such symptoms may include persistent back pain, neck pain, pain in the buttocks and pain down the backs of the legs into the feet. People with spinal stenosis may develop a limp, may trip over their own feet due to a loss of sensation and motor control in the legs, and may begin to engage in less and less physical activity. Spinal stenosis symptoms can also include paresthesia, or pins and needles, as well as sensations of heat and cold, due to abnormal nerve conductivity. 

Over time, nerve compression can lead to muscle atrophy due to reduced movement of the limbs. Stenosis in the spine may even cause breathing difficulties, changes in posture, bowel and bladder incontinence, erectile dysfunction and a range of other issues. 

Living with Spinal Stenosis 

Spinal stenosis is a serious health issue that affects many millions of people in a variety of ways. Without appropriate treatment, spinal stenosis can lead to permanent nerve damage, paralysis and even death. When spinal canal narrowing is causing spinal cord compression this needs treating right away to decompress the spine and reduce the likelihood of significant and intractable damage. 

What Causes Spinal Stenosis? 

Stenosis can occur in any of the regions of the spine, although lumbar spinal stenosis is most common due to the mobility of this region of the back. Cervical spinal stenosis is also common, but thoracic stenosis is relatively rare as the middle segments of the spine are less mobile and, therefore, less subject to wear and tear. 

Disease such as arthritis, osteoporosis, osteopenia, ankylosing spondylitis, and degenerative disc disease can all be contributing factors to spinal stenosis, requiring appropriate treatment to relieve symptoms and prevent further degeneration of the spine. 

Spinal Stenosis – An Ever Increasing Problem 

Spinal stenosis has been described as a silent epidemic and, as the population ages, the spread of this condition is increasing. Lumbar spinal stenosis is actually the most common reason for surgery in people over the age of 60 in the United States, with almost half a million people in the US suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis and many more experiencing cervical spinal stenosis. 

By 2050, it is estimated that there will be nearly 2 billion people aged 60 and over (United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs), meaning that it is crucial to find new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat spinal stenosis and other musculoskeletal conditions that disproportionately affect older adults. 

Spinal stenosis can significantly affect quality of life, making it difficult to work, exercise, socialize and even to care for family, friends or one’s own needs. The critical need to decompress the spine cannot be overstated. As with this condition and the need for finding solution one of alternatives is a new device that recently entered the market. Among other back ailments our device has proven surprisingly effective in alleviating back pain due to spinal stenosis. Due to its unique patent pending design it provides level of stability and varying degree of pain relief even for people with serious back condition.