The latest technologies in the treatment of an intervertebral hernia
The spine is one of the key elements of the human skeleton, it supports and protects the spinal cord from damage. It is composed of 33-34 vertebra, two anatomical curves (kyphosis and lordosis) and five divisions, from cervical to coccygeal. When walking, running and performing other types of activity, bends provide mobility to the spine; and in synergy with the intervertebral discs, various shocks and tremors are amortized, which prevents vertebrae from overextending and disintegrating. Throughout life the spine experiences regular loads, therefore the issue of its good condition should stand for each of us in the first place. Diseases of this crucial element of the skeleton can greatly limit the mobility of a person and worsen the quality of his life.
Intervertebral discs - fibrous-cartilaginous formations that connect vertebrae. They amortize the load, provide mobility and elasticity to the spine. The disk is composed of a gelatinous body, which is covered with the cartilaginous formation; its nutrition occurs through fibrous cartilage. Diseases of the intervertebral discs (a hernia, osteochondrosis) often have a progressive nature. They usually occur if a person is between 35 and 55 years old. Over time, degradation of the tissues of the discs occurs: they lose water and elasticity, can be calcified. Sometimes bone tissue can grow through them. Moreover, the discs of the lumbar region are subject to degenerative effects. They are so rare in other parts of a hernia that their symptoms are often being mistaken for anything, except spine diseases. Furthermore, osteochondrosis can occur as a result of automobile or sports injuries. While the disc is destroying, its thinning occurs - the gelatinous body goes beyond its normal position, but still remains outside its fibrous ring. This process is called herniation. It can proceed either with or without pain, depending on the individual characteristics of a person. Doctors measure the deviation from the norm in millimetres - the larger it is, the more likely the patient will feel the pain. Further, the expansion of the disease is characterized by the breakthrough of the fibrous ring followed by the release of the gelatinous body into in the cavity of the spinal canal (partially or completely) in places where the spinal nerves are located. During the final stage of herniation of the intervertebral disc, a patient can suffer from extremely unpleasant consequences, including, partial numbness of the lower extremities, associated with clamping of nerves of the lower part of the spine, delay in urination and a clearly pronounced pain syndrome (burning pain in the buttocks and on the back of the thigh, which can make you forget everything in the world). During neglected stages of the disease, there should be no doubt to make the surgical procedure.
But where is the problem?
Most often patients postpone their visits to a doctor, trying to treat osteochondrosis and herniated discs themselves. Many people, who suffer from a pain syndrome due to diseases of the intervertebral discs, try various warming and cooling ointments, injections of B group vitamins, healthcare treatment and warming up and procedures that are known as conservative measures for people who suffer from pain syndrome due to diseases of the intervertebral disc. Another important matter because of which people rarely go to a specialist is that back pain usually stops in a month or two. Unfortunately, the call to the doctor occurs only at the time when the pain syndrome becomes intolerable. It's the matter of general ignorance of both, the process of treatment and the latest technologies that the medicine has by now.
The latest methods of the healthcare treatment or "what can be done"?
There are several approaches to cure osteochondrosis and herniation of the intervertebral disc, including, conservative, minimally invasive and surgical methods. There are not so many absolute indications for the use of the surgery method of treatment, only paralysis of the lower extremities or pain that it is simply impossible to tolerate. Nowadays, the intervertebral hernia can be treated without extensive surgical intervention in the vast majority of cases, only if patients start seeking help from specialists on time. Healthcare specialists treatment will both, improve the quality of life and instantly remove the pain syndrome. However, it is difficult to clearly state what is better: not to carry out a health care treatment at all or to carry out a therapy with a conservative or surgical method - it is a conscious choice of each patient and the doctor, because each approach has its pros and cons.
Minimally invasive operations are an intermediate link between extensive surgical interventions and conservative methods of treatment. Such kind of operation is a low-traumatic procedure, in which the risk of damaging the nerve or blood vessel is extremely small. Minimally invasive procedures for the removal of an intervertebral hernia have several advantages: they are conducted under local anaesthesia, as well as the entree is made not from the side of nerve endings, which reduces the likelihood of nerve damages. The entire procedure is performed through a small incision, after which no scars remain (after the operation a plaster is placed), within an hour the patient can go home and do his own business. The principle of this approach is based on the fact that the size of the intervertebral disc decreases, as a result of which the pressure on the nerve roots is reduced to a minimum. To reduce the size of the disk a number of the most advanced technologies can be used:
- DiskFX - a relatively new technique for carrying out an operation. Nevertheless, in Israel by now, with the use DiskFX, a vast number of procedures has been completed successfully. The essence of the operation is to split off a part of the disk followed by its withdrawal through the catheter. The whole procedure is being carried out under a video control, which reduces the likelihood of an injury to a patient or nerve endings damage. The legendary doctor Pekarsky, is one of the pioneers of this procedure. He has already helped many Russian pop and sports stars. Gueshtein Reuven is another virtuoso of the DiskFX technique (he was one of the developers of the innovative technology of a unique microchip which fixes the vertebrae) - he has already carried out more than a thousand of operations by this method, he is also practising in the Herzliya Medical Center.
- Nucleoplasty (cauterization of the disc) - is one of the classic procedures in orthopedics. An electrode is injected into the body of the disk, through which the current affects the disk tissues, destroying them. The volume of the disk decreases and the patient receives the long-awaited relief.
- There is an opportunity to get rid of the pain syndrome. Nowadays, this issue is easily solved with the help of radio wave surgery. It should be considered that this is a completely safe procedure, not accompanied by complications. Surgery of this kind does not help to get rid of the cause of pain, but it significantly reduces the sensitivity of nerve endings.
Pain in the lower back can significantly impair the quality of life for almost anyone. Nowadays, people are forced to get used to these feelings, because they are simply not aware of the advanced power of the medicine. We hope that this article has at least helped you to slightly change the attitude to the problem and to point out to simple options for changing the situation for the better. Sometimes it's enough just to write a letter or make a phone call.