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All Posts in Category: Orthopedics

arthritis

When Arthritis Needs Surgery

Many people who suffer from persistent arthritis may try to “live with the pain,” or delay getting the treatment they need. However, when pain from arthritis is ignored, it can worsen until it becomes permanent or even untreatable.

If you have arthritis pain, it is imperative that you seek treatment as soon as possible. While your doctor may recommend physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, and/or steroid injections, you may also be a candidate for surgery.

Whether you are considering surgery or are already preparing for it, staying informed about your treatment and condition can make a huge impact on your recovery. Below, we’ve laid out some of the fundamentals that surgical candidates need to know!

  1. There are different types of arthritis surgery. If the total joint is damaged, a joint replacement may be recommended. If the synovium (the lining around the joints) is inflamed, it may need to be removed with a synovectomy. Other surgeries include osteotomy (partial bone removal), and arthrodesis (fusing together two joints – often the knuckles in the hand).
  2. Your options depend on a number of factors such as age, weight, and overall health. Also, your surgeon may recommend two procedures at the same time. If, for example, you need a removal of damaged cartilage, you may also need a fusion of the joint.
  3. What you do in recovery is as important as the surgery itself. In the days immediately following your surgery, you want to follow your doctor’s orders – to the letter. This is the time when the joint is healing and what you do could either encourage the growth of healthy tissue or prevent it. If you are ever unsure about what to do during the recovery make sure to ask your doctor!

For more information on the treatments available for arthritis at Orangewood Surgical Center, call (714) 221-4236.

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neck conditions

Common Neck Conditions and Treatments

If you have pain in your neck it is likely that you need to visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment before it gets any worse. Pain in your neck, or what is formally known as pain in your cervical spine, can be caused by a number of conditions. If left untreated, even minimal pain can become permanent.

While neck pain can stem from a variety of causes, some of the most common are listed below. Talk to an orthopedic surgeon today to learn more about what may be causing your neck pain!

  1. Cervical Disc Herniation:

When a disc in the cervical spine gets shifted, compressed or pushed out of its proper place, a disc herniation can occur. Disc herniations are often the result of a traumatic injury – such as whiplash – but can also develop over time due to age-related degeneration and weakness in the outer layer of the disc.

Treatment: Treatments for a small disc herniation can include rest, ice, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections. For severe cases, surgery may be recommended to remove the herniated portion of the disc, or correct the positioning of the disc and spine.

  1. Cervical Stenosis and Radiculopathy:

Cervical spine stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces in the cervical area of the spinal cord. It is commonly caused by the spurs that are formed as the body’s response to the degenerative effects of arthritis. Stenosis often leads to radiculopathy, or pain that results from compressed spinal nerves.

Treatment: Treatments for stenosis and radiculopathy include epidural steroid injections for pain, and physical therapy to help build strength and increase flexibility in the neck.

The most common surgeries performed for cervical stenosis and radiculopathy is a cervical laminectomy and cervical fusion. In a laminectomy, the bony fragments that are compressing onto the nerves are removed. In a cervical fusion, the disc is removed and replaced with a spacer that returns the height to the disc space, and stabilizes the cervical vertebra.

  1. Cervical Muscle Spasms:

A cervical muscle spasm is an involuntary twitch or spasm of the muscles in the neck, and is usually a response to an injury in the cervical spine. It can also be a sign of fatigue.

Treatment: Your doctor may recommend rest, ice, compression, and physical therapy exercises to restore strength. Patients with spasms can also benefit from acupuncture or massage therapy.

  1. Fracture of the Cervical Spine:

A fracture of the cervical spine is a crack or break in the bones of the neck. Fractures occur as a result of sudden impact or trauma to the neck, and should be treated by a neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon as soon as possible.

Treatment: Treatments for a fracture usually include a cast to guide the healing stages, surgery to fix the fracture and restore the structure of the spine, and/or physical therapy to rebuild strength.

For more information on the treatments available for neck conditions at Orangewood Surgical Center, call (714) 221-4236.

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epidurals

How Epidural Steroid Injections Can Treat the Symptoms of Disc Herniations

Epidural steroid injections are one of the most common treatment options recommended by doctors for severe back pain. Here, we’ve laid out a brief overview of the details of epidural injections and why they continue to play an important role in treating spinal conditions, such as disc herniations.

What Are Epidural Steroid Injections?

An epidural steroid injection is an injection of medications into the spine used to reduce swelling and inflammation in order to relieve muscle and nerve pain. The medication is injected into the epidural space, the area surrounding the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

What is an Epidural Space?

The epidural space is an area between the vertebrae and the dural sac (a membranous, protective layer located within the spine). The epidural space contains fatty tissue and nerves, among other tissue. Because the epidural space contains nerves, it is often the source of back pain; because it contains fatty tissue, it is an optimal location for an injection to combat such pain.

What Are Disc Herniations?

Disc herniations happen when a portion of the spinal discs has been (usually due to physical trauma) pushed out of place or ruptured. When a disc herniation occurs, the soft center of the disc (nucleus) tears through the tough outer layer (annulus), causing nerve aggravation. Because disc herniations can lead to pain, one of the main treatment options available for patients with disc herniations are epidural steroid injections.

Further Information

Since epidural steroid injections are designed to relieve pain from aggravated nerves in the spine, they can be used to treat the symptoms of a disc herniation, or severe pain in the back and neck.

For more information on epidural injections, minimally invasive surgery, and the surgeons at Orangewood Surgical Center, call (714) 221-4236.

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What to Look for When Choosing a Hip Specialist

What to Look for When Choosing a Hip Specialist

Question Your Provider

Ask your provider about their credentials. First, make sure they meet all the minimum requirements of a practicing orthopedist in the U.S. These include a 4-year MD or DO degree and a residency. Then, don’t be afraid to ask if they are certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, if they completed fellowship training, how long they have been practicing, and about their areas of specializations.

Also, make sure you feel comfortable with your doctor. He or she will be making possibly life-altering decisions for you, so it is important that you trust him or her. Choosing the right specialist is crucial to the success of your recovery.

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Sports Medicine

The Benefits of Seeing a Sports Medicine Specialist

Is it better to stretch before or after exercise? Should I be wearing an ankle brace? If I get injured, how long should I wait before I start playing sports again?
These are just some of the questions a sports medicine doctor will help answer. Whether you’ve been playing football since before you can remember, have just taken up tennis, or simply like to workout at the gym in your free time, a sports medicine specialist will help treat and prevent injuries, as well as give you a better understanding of how to optimize your sports performance.

Treatment

Sports medicine doctors are specially trained to evaluate, diagnose, and treat athletic injuries. For example, if you have just started a new training regimen and have developed knee pain as a result, your sports medicine doctor will ask you a variety of questions on your past and present workouts, history of injuries, and more. Once your doctor evaluates and is able to diagnose the injury, you will be given recommendations for the best treatment options to aid your recovery.

Prevention

How can a doctor prevent a future injury?

First of all, the fact that you are even seeing a sports medicine specialist in the first place – that instead of ignoring your pain or letting it worsen, you are getting it evaluated – is a critical step toward prevention of further injury. Secondly, a sports medicine specialist is vital to the future of your health because he or she can sometimes identify areas of weakness before they progress into pain. By assessing your weight-bearing, body mechanics, and the overall structural health of your orthopedic system, your doctor can determine your best treatment options.

OSC offers advanced surgical care for sports injuries. To learn more, call us at (714) 221-4236.

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