Interspinous Spacers

Interspinous Spacers for Back Pain Treatment

Back pain, regardless of level, duration, or frequency, can greatly alter a person’s quality of life. Another level of frustration occurs when traditional therapy methods don’t work to provide much-needed relief, especially for patients who are suffering from spinal stenosis. This is where Interspinous Spacers for Back Pain Treatment prove useful. The Texas Pain Care team in Missouri City, Sugar Land, and Houston areas are experts at providing solutions for low back pain with a goal to have their patients experience long-lasting relief.

WHAT IS SPINAL STENOSIS?

Spinal stenosis develops as a result of the spine growing narrow in certain areas of the spinal canal. This puts pressure on the nerves traveling through the spine, causing the nerves to become pinched, compressed and irritated. While spinal stenosis might not always be accompanied with symptoms, the majority of people who suffer from spinal stenosis feel intense pain, a tingling or numbing feeling in their lower back and legs, as well as muscle weakness. 

Spinal stenosis usually occurs as a result of wear and tear on the spine so is most often found in men and women over the age of 50. It is also often associated with osteoarthritis. Other causes of a narrowing or thinning spinal column include: 

While spinal stenosis can occur anywhere along the spine, the most common locations are the lower back and neck. The level and location of pain depends on where the spine has thinned, as well as the nerves that are being pinched or compressed. The most common symptom is pain and weakness in the low back and legs, but sometimes there could be additional issues with walking and balance. 

WHAT ARE INTERSPINOUS SPACERS?

An interspinous spacer is a device that is inserted into the back of the spine, between the spinous processes. The spacers are usually made of lightweight titanium or plastic and are placed inside the spine to separate the adjacent affected vertebrae. It acts as means of support to open the passageways through which the nerve roots travel from the lower spine to the legs. In addition to helping patients feel pain relief, the spacers also stabilize the affected area of the spine while allowing the patient to move without any significant restriction. 

WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR INTERSPINOUS SPACERS?

Patients who are suffering from spinal stenosis and experience chronic lower back pain and leg pain are a great candidate for interspinous spacers. This treatment option is often the next stop for patients who haven’t found pain relief with physical therapy and medication, and also those who would like to avoid surgery. 

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WHAT DOES THE INTERSPINOUS SPACERS PROCEDURE INVOLVE?

The minimally-invasive outpatient treatment involves tiny incisions at the back. Patient might opt for a local or general anesthesia so as to numb the area and provide a more comfortable experience. Using fluoroscopic guidance, the pain management specialist will make a small incision in the skin over the area to be treated, and will then use a series of small tubes to place the spacer between the spinous processes of the vertebra. The lobes of the spacer are then opened, which separates the spinous processes and opens the compressed passageway, freeing up the nerves of the spine in that particular area. The skin incision is closed with the use of one or two sutures. Depending on the number of areas treated, the entire process could take anywhere from 30 minutes to up to two hours. 

Due to the fact that there is no hardware involved, and each incision is so small, the recovery is minimal. Most patients are able to resume normal activity a couple weeks after surgery, and physical therapy can be started again at four weeks after surgery. Most patients report pain relief starting in a few weeks after treatment, and still feel pain relief up to five years later. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND RISKS OF INTERSPINOUS SPACERS?

The main benefit of interspinous spacers is that it is a minimally-invasive option for immediate and long-term pain relief for patients who suffer from chronic lower back pain. Due to the fact that there is no hardware involved, patients are able to enjoy minimal recovery times as well as retain much of their natural spinal mobility. When compared with more invasive surgical options, interspinous spacers offer patients a streamlined and quick procedure with increased patient safety and reduced risk of infection. 

The most common risks patients experience include pain or bleeding at the incision site. There is also a low chance that the spacer could dislodge, break or malfunction, requiring additional surgery. But, overall, interspinous spacers are a popular option for remedying chronic low back pain and the treatment has a very high success rate. 

WILL INTERSPINOUS SPACERS WORK FOR ME?

Interspinous spacers are a great bridge between conservative treatment options and surgical options. Patients who are living with chronic low back pain, tingling and numbing in the legs, and a decreased quality of life, as well as those who aren’t a candidate for spinal surgery or would like to avoid in-depth surgical options, could find relief with interspinous spacers. 

The Texas Pain Care team is highly adept at diagnosing and treating low back pain by using only the most state-of-the-art and highly successful treatment methods. If you think interspinous spacers might work for you, or you would like to learn more about the treatment option, please reach out to our team in the Sugarland, Missouri City or Houston areas. You deserve to live a more active and pain-free life, and the Texas Pain Care team is dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. 

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