Dr. Ben-Galim Answers Facebook Users Questions
This week we hosted a Q&A session on our Facebook page with HMC’s leading specialist in Spinal Surgery, Dr. Ben-Galim Peleg, who sat with us and answered our Facebook members’ questions regarding different aspects and symptoms related to spine diseases in both English and Russian. HMC will continue hosting live Q&A sessions with leading to better serve our patients and the general public.
About Dr. Ben-Galim
Dr. Ben-Galim is chief of spinal surgery department at a prominent Israeli medical center and has over 20 years of experience in the field. He spent 6 years at the prestigious Baylor College (Huston, Texas, USA) learning from the world’s best spinal surgeons.
In case you missed the Q&A this time, here are some of the questions that Dr. Ben-Galim answered:
Q : My aunt is currently pregnant and has a day job in which she has to sit all day. With every month that passes, she suffers more and more pain in the lower back due to the pregnancy, is there a solution that can help her until the end of the pregnancy or is she doomed to suffer until the birth?
A : All pregnant women experience back pains. Some cases may be worse than others. We typically treat the symptoms conservatively with pain medications that are safe to use during pregnancy. The only rare exception are in cases where neurological deterioration is experienced (weakness of the legs). Please ask your gynecologist to recommend a pain medication suitable for you.
Q : What physical activities are recommended to help keep the spine healthy?
A : Activities such as swimming, spinning and other sports that do not put pressure on the spine, but qualify as aerobics and cardiovascular workout.
Q : I constantly suffer from leg cramps. What is the possible cause for that?
A: There is a wide differential diagnosis which includes radicular nerve pain caused by a herniated disc in the lumbar spine which pinches the nerve root. A thorough examination by a Spine Specialist is recommended.
Q: Is back pain necessarily spine related?
A: There are numerous theories that relate low back pain to the spine, although many back pains are caused by other organs (kidneys, kidney stones etc.). The most obvious relations are disc herniation that cause pinched nerves, leading to back and leg pains.
Q: Why is there no cure for cases of spinal cord damage? Will a person who had an accident that damaged the spine cord be crippled forever?
A: There are multiple treatment strategies aimed at curing spinal cord damage, some have even shown promising initial results, but they are all in study phases and may be useful in the future.
Q: Is old age the common cause of Arthritis?
A: There are several types of Arthritis. Some are related to auto-immune diseases attacking the joints. Other are caused by degenerative wear and tear, which are the more common type, and are related to ageing.
Q: I periodically suffer from severe back pain in the lower spine. The X-ray didn't show anything, should I ask my doctor to refer me to a CT or MRI scan?
A: There is no clear consensus regarding timing of more sophisticated imaging such CT and MRI, but clear cut indications include long term, non-remitting pain, radicular pain (pain shooting down the leg), or weakness of the muscles in the legs.
Q: What are the minimally invasive treatment methods for herniated disc available today? What can I do if I’m scared of the repercussions of an open spine surgery?
A: There are various minimally invasive methods available, including laparoscopy, small retractors, etc. However, it’s important to remember that the treatment method and surgical approach are chosen based the condition of the spine and the symptoms described by the patient.
Many patients wrongly assume that open surgery necessarily involves a big incision, but the truth is that the incision is only few centimeters long, as opposed to 4 small incisions on the sides if the spinal cord that are performed for minimally invasive procedures. An open surgery allows the surgeon to clearly see the nerves and avoid damaging them, making the procedure safer and more efficient for the patient. Sometimes, these benefits outweigh the aesthetic benefit of a minimally invasive approach.
Q: Can pain in the shoulder and hand, accompanied by restricted hand movement, be a result of a spinal problem?
A: There is a wide differential diagnosis in this case. It is possible that a pinched nerve between the shoulder bone and the spinal disc is causing the symptoms you described. An MRI of the cervical spine will give a clear answer to your question.
Q: Can S-shaped scoliosis, accompanied by spinal nerves inflammation be treated? I am 60 y/o.
A: Your age and the spinal nerves inflammation in their self are not a hindrance to surgical treatment. In order to evaluate what exactly can be done and to what extent the curvature can be fixed we need a visualization of all three spinal sections. Please, take into consideration that the surgery is very complex and will require long rehabilitation.
HMC clinic preforms all spine related treatments and surgeries. Feel free to use the following contact form to receive additional information from our medical consultants.