Sciatica & Other Back-Related Issues

Spine Surgeon on Long Island

New York Orthopaedic Spinal Associates’ mission is to provide personalized, high-quality spine care. We have created a practice that we believe in and choose for our own family members. Our Spine Surgeons perform Spinal Surgery on the neck and lower back.

Drs. Ira and Marc Chernoff have been working together for over 16 years in private practice. These two brothers are fellowship trained in Spinal Surgery. The majority of our patient are treated conservatively without the need for surgery. Spinal Surgery procedures that we routinely perform include Lumbar Microdiscectomy, Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, Lumbar Laminectomy and Fusion Procedures.

What is sciatica?

Spine Surgeon on Long Island

Sciatica is a pulsing pain diverging from the lower back down to one or both legs. The pain occurs when the sciatic nerve is injured, or some sort of stimulant puts pressure on the nerve. What’s unique about the sciatic nerve is that it’s considered the longest nerve in the body, stretching from the back down to the legs. Unfortunately, injury or excessive force to any part of the nerve can create sciatic discomfort. If you believe you’re suffering from sciatica, contact the office of Dr. Ira Chernoff & Dr. Marc Chernoff over at New York Orthopaedic Spinal Associates. As a spine surgeon on Long Island, both doctors are fully capable of diagnosing your condition and determining if sciatica is the source.

CAUSES

  • A herniated disk – A condition which refers to the bulging, splitting, or rupturing of the rubbery disk between the spinal bones.
  • Spinal stenosis – Narrowed space within the spine, most commonly found in the neck and lower back region. Treatment can be executed by a spine surgeon on Long Island.
  • Back or neck strain – In some cases, recurring activities such as exercising, poor posture, or heavy lifting can be a catalyst for sciatic pain.
  • Physical injuries – Blunt forces to the back, leg, or any point along the sciatic nerve can lead to sciatic pain. In most cases, this can occur from major physical trauma such as a car accident. If you’ve injured your back or legs as a result of a spontaneous accident, speaking to a spine surgeon on Long Island is an ideal source for treatment options and other pertinent information.

SYMPTOMS

  • Leg numbness – Numbness within the legs initially crops up spontaneously and on rare occasions, the entire leg will feel the effects.
  • Tingling sensation – Specifically found in the leg, buttock, or back. Unfortunately, this may serve as a warning sign of a significant nerve injury.
  • Immobility – Difficulty standing, walking, or balancing could be triggered by numbness or pain in the leg or back, indicating the presence of sciatic pain. Are you having difficulty maneuvering because of sciatic discomfort? Consider contacting a spine surgeon on Long Island to discuss your condition in further detail.
  • Neck pain – Neck pain can point to a host of different problems, including the potential presence of sciatica.

WARNING SIGNS

Understandably, early detection can serve as a major difference in your recovery efforts. Take a look at some of the immediate warning signs that may indicate you’re suffering from sciatica:

  • Experiencing severe pain in your lower back or leg along with the presence of numbness or muscle weakness.
  • Major/chronic discomfort after a traumatic experience, especially in the case of a traffic accident or anything of that nature.

If you’ve developed spontaneous lower back pain or any of the symptoms listed above, contact a spine surgeon on Long Island immediately.

TREATMENT: WHAT CAN SURGERY DO FOR YOU?

Surgery is usually reserved for more chronic cases, such as when the pressured nerves are too weak to suffice. Patients experiencing bowel or bladder issues may also require surgery, especially if the level of pain is intolerable. Considering a surgical procedure for your sciatica? Reach out to a local spine surgeon on Long Island who can properly assess your condition and determine if surgery would be necessary. Ordinarily, sciatica can be treated through simpler measures such as rest or scheduled workout regimens. Allow Dr. Ira Chernoff & Dr. Marc Chernoff to make this distinction for you, putting your mind at ease.

If any of these symptoms regarding sciatica seem to apply to you, contact your local spine surgeon on Long Island today for an appointment and consultation.

FACET JOINT SYNDROME

Spine Surgeon on Long Island

Facet joint syndrome is a condition that occurs when the facet joints of the spine become damaged or worn out. The facet joints are the small joints located between the bones of the spine; they are lined with cartilage and synovial fluid that allows them to glide easily over each other. They are also intertwined with nerves that run from the spinal cord to the arms, legs and other parts of the body. The facet joints are in constant motion and provide the spine with a flexibility that allows movement, and stability that keeps the back from moving too far forward or twisting too far.

Due to constant motion, the facet joints may wear out or degenerate, and the cartilage within the joints may thin or tear over time. This causes increased friction between the individual vertebra. This may occur from arthritis, overuse or injury. As a result, the facet joints may become swollen or painful.

The symptoms of facet joint syndrome vary depending on where the affected joint is located, and what nerve roots it affects. If the affected joints are in the neck, they may cause headaches and difficulty in moving the head and neck. If the degenerated joints are in the back, they may cause pain or stiffness in the lower back, buttocks or thighs. Inflamed facet joints may also cause painful muscle spasms.

Facet joint syndrome is diagnosed after a physical examination and review of symptoms. An MRI scan may be performed to provide internal images of the back and spine. A diagnostic facet injection is also used to confirm a diagnosis of facet joint syndrome. Diagnostic facet injections contain a corticosteroid, and an anesthetic to temporarily relieve discomfort. If the patient experiences relief, the facet joint is likely the cause of the pain.

Initial treatment for facet joint syndrome is often conservative and may include rest, and ice or heat therapy. Other conservative approaches may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Use of a back or neck brace

If symptoms are troubling, pain medication may be prescribed. Steroids injections directly into the facet joints may also help to relieve pain for an extended period of time. In severe cases, surgery may be required to clean out the facet joints and deaden symptomatic local nerves. Luckily, there is a spine surgeon on Long Island at New York Orthopedic Spinal Associates that can help you take the next steps.

THE BENEFITS OF LUMBAR FACET-JOINT INJECTIONS

spine surgeon on Long Island

Facet joints, medically referred to as zygapophysial joints or z-joints, are located on each side of the back of the spine. This provides the spine stability and allows it to bend and twist. The facet joint contains cartilage between the bones and is surrounded by a capsule containing synovial fluid. The two main reasons for facet-joint injections are a diagnosis, determining the source of pain, or therapy, to treat a detected abnormality. Schedule an appointment with a spine surgeon on Long Island at New York Orthopaedic Spinal Associates if you are experiencing ongoing lower back pain.

 

WHY GET THESE INJECTIONS?

Back pain can improve within a few weeks with options including rest, physical therapy, exercise, and medications, but when the pain is six weeks ongoing, your practitioner may order diagnostic tests to evaluate the spine’s structure. Problems, such as inflammation and arthritis, in the facet joints, may appear on the diagnostic imaging and may even be a contributing factor to an individual’s back pain, however, “normal appearing joints” on the imaging does not rule out facet joints as the source of joints completely.

An injection may be performed to truly determine if the facet joint is the source of pain. If the pain is reduced or relieved after an anesthetic is injected into the joint or surrounding nerve, the facet joint may be the source of pain. If that’s the case, our spine surgeon on Long Island may also inject a corticosteroid or steroid to prolong pain relief.

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM THIS FORM OF TREATMENT?

As these injections are usually offered as a last resort when all else fails, they may be used for conditions where the joints become susceptible for pain, such as:

  • Lumbar facet syndrome
  • Spondylolysis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Trauma such as car accidents or sports/work involving “repetitive forceful hyperextensions”

FACET-JOINT INJECTION BENEFITS

Compared to other alternatives, facet-joint injections act as a non-invasive tool to confirm the facet joint is, in fact, the source behind a patient’s lumbar pain. Combined with physical therapy and medication, this treatment option can reduce inflammation, which in turn, can improve an individual’s function and overall quality of life without the need for invasive back surgery. Studies have found facet-joint injections to have immediate, long-lasting low-back pain relief. Also, these injections act as both a diagnostic tool and a therapeutic treatment option. If you believe your facet joints may be the source of your lower back pain, call our spine surgeon on Long Island for confirmation.

SPINAL FUSION

Spinal or posterior lumbar fusion is a surgical procedure performed to connect two or more vertebrae in a spine to boost stability, fix a deformity, or alleviate pain. The techniques used in spinal fusion surgery are designed to replicate the body’s natural healing process. During spinal fusion, a surgeon uses a bone or a material with similar qualities and places it in between two vertebrae. Following this, they then may use screws and plates to keep everything in place and help the bones to heal together. If you’re interested in undergoing Spinal Fusion Surgery, contact us to speak with a spine surgeon on Long Island.

 

WHEN MIGHT YOU NEED SPINAL FUSION SURGERY?

Spine surgery is a severe and complicated procedure because of its invasive techniques. This option is reserved usually for when your doctor can accurately pinpoint the source of pain by performing various tests and diagnostics. This can include evaluations such as a computerized tomography scan (also known as a CT), MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging), or an x-ray. You’ll need to ensure that you’re undergoing the proper testing. If you’re looking for a spine surgeon on Long Island, contact New York Orthopaedic Spinal Associates today.

WHAT DOES SPINAL FUSION TREAT?

Spinal fusion surgery has been known to treat the following medical complications:

  •     Broken vertebrae.
  •     Deformities of the spine.
  •     Spinal weakness or instability.
  •     Spondylolisthesis.
  •     Herniated disk.

If your injury is not listed here, see other conditions our spine surgeon on Long Island has been known to treat on our website.

RECOVERING FROM SPINAL FUSION SURGERY

The recovery process proceeding spinal fusion surgery typically ranges from one month to three months. During the recovery time, patients usually participate in physical rehabilitation and are warned to avoid certain strenuous activities such as heavy lifting. Visit our website for more information regarding what options are available to you, courtesy of our spine surgeon on Long Island.

Here is an outline of what the days after surgery may look like:

  1. After spinal fusion surgery, you might have to start your recovery in the hospital for a few days.
  2. You likely will be fitted with a brace to help promote support and stability.
  3. In most cases, patients will need some form of rehab to regain strength and standard functionality.
  4. Depending on your overall health and other factors, within 2-6 months after gradually increasing activity, you will likely start to regain normal function.

Learn more about the benefits of spinal fusion surgery and contact a spine surgeon on Long Island who could help you over at New York Orthopaedic Spinal Associates.

Contact a Spine surgeon on Long Island

New York Orthopaedic Spinal Associates can be reached during normal business hours by phone. If you have a medical emergency, please dial 911.

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