FAQ Concerning Regenerative Treatment

One of the various minimally invasive treatments used to treat pain at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, is regenerative therapy. This groundbreaking therapy uses your body’s own stem cells to help heal and repair degenerating and painful areas of the body, such as spinal discs, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.
young woman with lower back pain Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, believes that utilizing the least invasive treatments to help patients is of the utmost importance. Since regenerative medicine uses material from your own body, which then goes back into your body to direct new cell growth within damaged areas, any negative side effects or complications following these treatments are extremely rare. Less is better, according to Dr. Kamson, and regenerative treatments have helped countless patients feel better for longer periods of time.

Here is some information to help you understand the most frequently asked questions about regenerative treatment.

Is regenerative therapy different from steroid injections?

Yes! Steroid injections can help relieve pain for limited amounts of time, usually at most for a few months. They reduce inflammation that is causing pain, but do not actually fix anything long-term. Regenerative therapy, however, works to reduce pain as it actually promotes healing by repairing cells and tissues that are at the root of your pain.

Can stem cell treatments make my condition worse?

It’s unlikely that this type of therapy will harm anything. Regenerative treatments use organic materials that make your tissues stronger. Steroid injections, on the other hand, can weaken tissues. There may be a little discomfort following a regenerative treatment, but within a few days, it will pass. Just as with any treatment that requires an injection, there is a risk of some bleeding, injury to a tissue, or pain from the procedure. There is also a chance that the treatment will not reduce your pain as expected.

Does the research show that regenerative therapy can cause tumors to form?

There is no reported research in the medical literature that supports this theory. Since the stem cells used in the treatments come from your own body, they have not been found to cause tumors or cancers. When cells are taken from another person or an embryo, there is, perhaps, more of a risk. The Spine Institute Northwest and Dr. Kamson, however, don’t practice the use of these more risky substances.

How do we keep patients safe at the Spine Institute Northwest?

Dr. Sol Kamson and the other physicians at our facility follow standardized protocols to ensure patient safety and effective treatment. While performing regenerative therapies, we use guided imagery to lessen risks and to accurately target the painful tissue being treated.

What are the most commonly used regenerative treatments?

Different medical offices use a variety of regenerative therapies depending upon the patient’s needs and the expectations for the best results. The most common treatments are:

Dextrose Prolotherapy: This gentle treatment is optimal for patients who have mild to moderate issues. Most painful conditions can be treated with three to six appointments.

Platelet Rich Plasma: For those with moderate to severe problems, this stronger therapy can be completed with two to three treatments.

Stem Cells: This is the most effective therapy for moderate to severe issues. The benefits are long lasting in comparison to the other regenerative therapies. A second round of stem cell treatments can be evaluated after six to 12 months.

If you have additional questions and wish to learn more about regenerative treatments, call Dr. Kamson today at the Spine Institute Northwest at (208) 496-0630 for more information or to schedule a consultation.

Debilitating Back Pain Can Happen to Anyone

mary-halabi-patient

Although chronic back pain is often thought of as a condition related to older people or those who have jobs that are very physically demanding, the truth is that anyone, of any age, can be impacted by a back ailment. Even those who consider themselves to be in top physical shape can sustain an injury to a spinal disc while exercising or performing an everyday activity.

Think of the backpacks laden with heavy textbooks and laptops that elementary, high school, and college students tote around all day. Eventually, some of these students may suffer from damage caused by the weakening of vulnerable discs in their spine. One healthy young student, Mary Halabi, came to see Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest because she was experiencing severe back pain. Though she’d thought she had simply pulled a muscle at the gym, her pain was stemming from a herniated disc caused by lifting weights that were too heavy. Her pain was so unbearable that she could barely do anything but lie down all day. She was missing classes and couldn’t participate in the sports and other activities she loved to do.

Dr. Kamson was able to bring Mary back to her active lifestyle minus the pain she was experiencing in her lumbar spine. She consulted with Sol Kamson, and together they opted for Mary to undergo a minimally invasive lumbar spine surgical procedure at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, where Sol Kamson is the Director. Eight days after her surgery, Mary was back at school and able to return to her young, active lifestyle.

One of the minimally invasive techniques that Dr. Kamson uses to repair damaged lumbar discs is endoscopically assisted spinal decompression. During this procedure, your surgeon at the Spine Institute Northwest uses a needle-guided endoscope after making a small incision in the area to be treated. The endoscope is used together with Laser and Radiofrequency (RF) technology to clearly see and be able to repair the damage from inside the body. This avoids the need for invasive surgery, with a much shorter period of recovery time needed. Most patients undergoing endoscopically assisted spinal decompression are able to go home the same day as the surgery is performed.

A lumbar interbody fusion and facet fixation can help someone who has developed degenerative disc disease, spondylolysis, or repeated incidences of disc herniation, among other conditions. During this minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Kamson uses a facet screw system to help stabilize the spine. He is then able to safely remove the disc or bone material that is causing pain and fill in a spacer with bone graft to fuse the spine back into the correct alignment. This is a more involved procedure than spinal decompression, with the need for physiotherapy for 6 to 24 months afterwards. The important thing to remember is that you will be able to return to your daily living tasks once again, with significantly less pain than in the past.

Contact Dr. Kamson and his team at the Spine Institute Northwest today for a consultation to discuss your spinal pain.

What You Need To Know About Regenerative Medicine

illustration of platelet rich plasmaIf chronic back, neck, or joint pain is keeping you from leading a full, active life, a look into regenerative procedures may be the answer you’re seeking for relief. With regenerative medicine therapies you can find a decrease in pain and be more functionally active in your everyday life once again. Another upside to regenerative medicine is the speed of recovery that is involved.

Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, Director of the Spine Institute Northwest, understands and will explain to his patients that surgery may be necessary for more severe or advanced cases involving damaged joints and weakened tissues. But if surgery is not needed and regenerative therapies can be utilized to help your condition, Dr. Kamson prefers to go this less invasive route with a lowered risk of complications from anesthesia or blood loss.

Regenerative medicine is a natural treatment option that Dr. Kamson offers to patients suffering from chronic pain and injuries suffered on the job. The medicine uses natural substances, such as stem cells and platelets taken from your own body in most cases, to aid in stimulating the growth of new collagen fibers. Fresh collagen aids in increasing the strength of painful, damaged discs in the spine. The regenerative medicine is injected exactly where it is needed in the body, without the need for anesthetics or an overnight hospital stay. You may even be able to return to work when the procedure is over.

In certain cases, Dr. Sol Kamson recommends the use of regenerative therapies in many instances of degenerative disc disease, chronically damaged tendons and ligaments, spinal bulging discs, arthritis, tendinitis, and other painful joint conditions. Many of Dr. Kamson’s patients who receive regenerative therapies for their pain report significant improvements just a few days following their first injection, when they can go back to their normal activities. It may take a few weeks or even months for others to get back to their active lifestyles, especially for those who have suffered more acute or chronic issues. The severity and timespan of your particular condition will determine the number of injections needed and the recovery period. You can discuss these questions as they concern your individual condition with Sol Kamson during your initial consultation at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA.

Though regenerative therapy is minimally invasive and quite safe, there is always a certain risk of side effects associated with any type of procedure. The use of your own body’s cells in the medicine used greatly reduces the chances of infection and other side effects from occurring. The risks associated with regenerative medicine to treat disc disorders include the same risks involved with any injection procedure, such as bleeding, some pain at the site of injection, tissue injury, infection, and the possibility of the treatment not working as well as anticipated. All of these risks, however, are minimized at the Spine Institute Northwest with the use of sterile protocols and adherence to safety guidelines.

Call Dr. Solomon Kamson and his patient advocates today to schedule your consultation and find out whether regenerative medicine is right for you.

Dave Patten’s Success Story

dave-patten-2Dave Patten had been suffering with chronic back pain for years. As a programmer who had been on the job for over 30 years, this 46-year-old technical problem-solver had burning lumbar pain that traveled down both of his legs. He also experienced sharp, intense spasms that brought him to his knees. Dave began having difficulty with the simplest activities. It had gotten to the point where sitting at his desk and walking up steps were too difficult for him to manage.

While researching ways to solve his issues with back pain, Dave learned about Dr. Solomon Kamson. Dr. Kamson wanted to fix Dave’s problem, and he was happy to answer any of Dave’s many technical, detailed questions.

With the help of Solomon Kamson and the Spine Institute Northwest, Dave decided to take charge of his back pain so he could return to living a normal life. Dr. Kamson performed a two-level, minimally invasive lumbar fusion together with stem cell treatment.

Lumbar Fusion

This minimally invasive procedure is done using fluoroscopy to pinpoint the accuracy of the small incision and the subsequent placement of hardware. This type of lumbar fusion lessens tissue trauma and improves optics for surgeons like Dr. Kamson, so he can visualize the spinal structures through such a small incision. When compared with traditional spinal fusion, minimally invasive lumbar fusion results in less blood loss, requires a much smaller incision, lowers the risk of tissue and muscle damage and infection, and allows for a quicker recovery post-surgery. Special bone screws are put into place to fix the two or more vertebrae together.

With regenerative medicine, Dr. Kamson worked to also alleviate pain and repair damaged tissue in addition to help minimize scar formation.

Recovery from Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion

Dave Patten reports that his recovery was a bit slow in the beginning, as the fusion needs time to become appropriately established. In about two months’ time, however, he was back at work. With time, his body became stronger and, as a result, he is now a more active person. In fact, Dave is acutely aware of the difference in his life now that he is pain-free.

Without the stress and pain he was enduring before the treatments, Dave can now spend more time with his children, and his quality of life has been greatly improved. He’s also happy to refer anyone he knows who is having back issues to get in touch with Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA.

Dr. Kamson Treats Sciatica with Minimally Invasive Surgery

Read how Dr. Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest helped his patients with sciatic pain problems using minimally invasive surgery. Here is a link to past patient reviews.

Melissa Drewery – Life Changed by Back Surgery

Melissa, who has always been on the heavy side, felt let down by all the doctors she saw prior to her treatment under Dr. Kamson dismissed her problem as purely weight related. Not one doctor offered her anything positive and just told her to lose weight to relieve her pain.

Dr. Solomon Kamson of Spine Institute Northwest, however, offered her a solution the other prior physicians did not – minimally invasive surgery to ease the pressure on her sciatic nerve which was at the root of her back pain.

Melissa recalls her treatment at Spine Institute Northwest:

“Doctor Kamson never judged us as a patient. In less than a year my life has changed dramatically for the best.”

 

Tim Watts: Pain is 100% Gone!

Rancher Tim Watts could no longer do farm work effectively when sciatic nerve pain struck. Tim tried all traditional treatments including steroid injections, physical therapy, muscle relaxants and pain killers just to deal with the pain. None of these helped address the underlying cause of his pain which were two ruptured discs and spinal stenosis.

All of Tim’s pain were addressed with minimally invasive treatments from Dr. Solomon Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest.

Jim Perri: No Longer Paralyzed with Back Pain

Jim Perri’s pain before coming in for surgery at Spine Institute Northwest was literally off the scale. “I was virtually paralyzed with pain, not being able to do anything but lie on the floor,” says Jim.

“As soon as I met Doctor Kamson, I liked him immediately. His meeting with the doctor put Jim at ease for the surgery he was to undergo.  Jim’s procedure went so well that, to his complete amazement, he was able get up without any pain immediately after the surgery. Watch as he recounts his story above.

Darrel Lewis: Relieved of Foot and Back Pain

Darrel Lewis used to work deliveries on his truck before pain in his back reduced him to living “a diminished standard of living.” A sciatic nerve problem was causing him pain in his foot and back to the extent that he was having great difficulty just moving around and doing normal everyday motions that he took for granted before.

Darrel had a successful procedure that completely removed the numbness in his foot and has greatly brought down the pain he feels.

His comments about Dr. Kamson and Spine Institute Northwest?

“They worked miracles on what was wrong with my back. Don’t even think about it just head on down.”

 

Stephanie Proulx – Back to Taking Hikes After Surgery

Stephanie Proulx, who does quite a bit of lifting at work, was saddled with great pain from a sciatic nerve problem that made her feel completely exhausted after work. More than a year after her successful procedure at Spine Institute Northwest, Stephanie is able to take hikes with her dogs again – something which she could not do prior to her surgery. “It’s usually my knees that hurt now first,” Stephanie explains.

Glenn Steig – “I’ve Got No Pain My Legs. It’s a World of Difference There.”

What he thought was a simple muscle pain turned out to be much more serious for Glenn Steig, a package delivery worker. Glenn was hurt in an accident while at work which triggered sciatic nerve pain in his legs. Glenn decided the best course of action was to have minimally invasive treatment on his back from Dr. Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest. Dr. Kamson relieved the pressure on Glenn’s sciatic nerve by repairing one of his discs . Watch his testimonial in his own words:

Herniated Disc Treatment- David Hurlbut

Having had to suffer unimaginable pain after a herniated disc led to sciatic pain in the right side of his body, Alaskan resident David Hurlbut was not willing to put up with traditional surgery to address his pain. Going through traditional surgery, which meant an extended hospital stay and an even longer recovery period, would mean another round of waiting and dealing with more pain and possible complications.

All I can say is Dr Solomon saved my back…within two hours in the recovery room I walked the bathroom, sat down on the toilet with No Pain.

Thankfully, David got in touch with Dr. Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest for a quick minimally invasive procedure. Almost right after the surgery, David was on his way back to Alaska – without any pain. Read more about his story in his own words here: https://www.facebook.com/david.hurlbut.96/posts/10204238407574656:0 

Helping College-Bound Students Deal with Chronic Pain

A recent story from NPR brought attention to the issues faced by teenagers who struggle with mental illness who want to go to college. These bright and motivated students face many complicated questions and concerns that their struggles with mental illness will cause them too much difficulty. In more serious cases, there’s the fear that the stresses of school and being away from home could exacerbate mental illnesses and lead to panic attacks and other problems.

But what about young people who deal with problems like chronic physical pain or injury that limits mobility or can hinder day-to-day activity? For these, students, trying to go to college can present many unknowns. In the case of chronic pain, many of these students also deal with depression or other mental illnesses that tend to coincide with pain disorders. Though we tend to think of chronic pain as an issue faced by older people, Dr. Sol Kamson notes that it can affect people of all ages.

Depending on the nature of the chronic pain, students may find it hard to perform basic tasks like getting up and getting ready for class, walking to and from buildings, carrying heavy books or backpacks, or sitting for long periods of time to do homework. For students dealing with an injury that limits mobility or functionality, college campuses can present all kinds of challenges, even with recent improvements that have been made to most old buildings to improve access for the disabled. While most schools have made appropriate adjustments to be in accordance with legal requirements that protect the rights of disabled students, these students are likely to still face challenges that their peers wouldn’t have to consider. For example, it may take them longer to get across campus, or they may need to have help provided by the school in order to get around. For some students, this can cause social concerns or can make students feel unfairly burdened. It’s hard enough to make the adjustment to attending college. What can parents do to help their children make the adjustment more easily?

• While you are with your son or daughter at orientation or while you are visiting the school in advance, take some time to explore the facilities to make sure your child knows how to get around during their first week. For example, if your teen needs access to a wheelchair ramp or elevators, visit the buildings where classes will be held to make sure they know where everything is. This will help alleviate some of their stress about being ready for the first week.

• Reach out in advance to the school to make sure you and your child have a thorough understanding about the support services available to your child. Know what your insurance will cover and what free supportive services the school offers. You may even ask to make a special appointment with a counselor or coordinator around the time of orientation so you and your child can have a good understanding of where they can turn if they need help.

• Know the emergency options. Make sure you know where the nearest hospital is and how they can get there. Understand what can be covered by your insurance. Know when the student health services office is open, and when your child will need to turn to outside services. If your child needs to come home or if you need to make a visit at short notice, figure out how you can make this happen. If you’re far away but you have family or friends living in the area of their school, make sure your child has all appropriate phone numbers in case they need help at short notice.

Going off to college is a scary time, no matter what your child’s situation. But being prepared for every scenario and understanding the options can take a lot of pressure off for both you and your new college student.

Looking at Future Cures for Spinal Problems

If you or anyone you know has ever dealt with a serious or chronic back problem, even if it isn’t a life-threatening problem, you understand how desperately some people want to find relief. In some cases, it can lead patients to consider medical options that are not yet widely available, either because they are still undergoing experiments in human subjects, or because they are unavailable due to bureaucratic restrictions.

In most cases, use of experimental procedures will not be appropriate for the majority of patients because the possible side effects or repercussions from pursuing experimental treatments can outweigh the advantages,. But in certain cases, people feel that they just can’t wait until a treatment option has become available in their area. For some of these people, the option to volunteer for clinical tests may be a good choice.

Why would someone want to volunteer for a clinical trial? The advantage is that patients will be able to get access to new treatment options right away. This can be very important for patients facing potentially fatal, extremely debilitating, or fast-acting diseases who are unhappy with the treatment they’ve had through more standard procedures. It can also be a more financially viable option for some people, if they might not otherwise be able to afford a new medication.

Why wouldn’t someone want to volunteer for a clinical trial? In most cases, standard medical options will be sufficient to treat most cases of common illnesses or injuries. For this reason, the potential cost and risk associated with pursuing an experimental treatment may not be worth it. In some cases, pursuing an experimental treatment may require visiting another state or another country.

What’s an example of an experimental treatment for back pain? Last year, researchers announced successful experiments in rats of a drug that released nerve fibers that had become trapped in scar tissue in the spine, preventing proper healing. After just a few weeks, rats had improved mobility in the back and improvement in bladder control. This was an especially significant result for patients who had experienced spinal injuries that caused issues with walking and bladder control. The next step is trial in human patients, which can take several years before the drug can be released to the general market.

Dr. Kamson recommends that any patients feeling frustrated with traditional treatment options for back pain talk to a specialist and get a second opinion before pursuing treatment through something like a clinical trial. There are a wide variety of treatments for back pain that are currently available and have FDA approval. It’s important to make sure that you have pursued all reasonable options before trying something else, especially if you aren’t clear on the potential side effects.

Therapies for Minor Back Pain

For many patients who deal with chronic back pain, there may come a point at which they feel that the standard available treatments are not adequately treating their pain. Back pain can at times be difficult to diagnose, which can mean that the process of finding relief can be long and complicated. This can be frustrating for patients who feel as though they need relief to their back pain right away. If you are experiencing pain that disrupts your life, Dr. Sol Kamson, founder of the Spine Institute Northwest, encourages you to see a back specialist in order to find the root cause of your pain.

For less intense back pain, however, lifestyle changes may help to improve your spinal health. Here are some of the common alternative treatments that can help ease minor or infrequent back pain.

Yoga
Yoga has not only taken off as a hugely popular form of exercise, it’s also become a popular option for relieving chronic back pain. Yoga is a form of exercise that emphasizes flexibility and muscle toning. This can be incredibly beneficial for individuals dealing with back pain, as weakness in the muscles that support the spine can exacerbate pain. Sometimes something as simple as targeted stretches can offer significant relief for back pain; however, it’s important that you work with an instructor who has experience with gentle yoga and who understands your limitations. In addition, yoga is a great way for people who don’t exercise regularly to pick up the habit. Lack of exercise is a common problem in individuals who complain of back pain, and yoga is a very gentle way to ease into it.

Dietary Management
A poor diet is often linked to chronic pain problems. You may have been able to eat whatever you liked when you were younger, but as you age it doesn’t take long before bad nutritional habits start to negatively impact your health. Being overweight puts extra strain on their muscles and bones, and as muscles become weaker, they are more likely to experience pain and cramping. This often leads people to avoid exercise, which only exacerbates the problem. Eating a nutritious, balanced diet can help improve your overall health, including your back health. Additionally, there are certain foods that are especially beneficial for back health that you can learn about when consulting a dietitian.

Massage
Massage can be very helpful for people who have already identified the underlying cause of their pain and need temporary pain relief. When the problem results from muscle overuse or underuse, massage can help isolate and relieve the particular areas of the back where you are experiencing pain. For some people, it will be necessary to get regular massage treatments, as the relief from massage is usually temporary.

Acupuncture
Similar to massage, acupuncture works by targeting the specific muscles or groups of muscles that are causing you pain. For most people, depending on the cause of your pain, you are most likely to feel the strain most in certain parts of your back. Acupuncture can be a good way to treat these specific spots. As with massage, it may be necessary to repeat this therapy regularly.

Make a Resolution for a Healthy Back

It doesn’t have to be the start of a New Year for you to make a plan to get healthy. If you have back pain, you may want to relieve the pain by resting your back. It’s actually much healthier to keep moving. Exercise will not only strengthen your core muscles, which are key to supporting your spine, it will also help to improve many other areas of your health. An important caveat: Before beginning any new exercise or diet, however mild, it’s important to speak to a physician like Dr. Solomon Kamson first. You want to be sure that you are not doing anything to exacerbate your back issues, either by doing the wrong type of exercise or by having improper form. Here are some tips for making healthy changes:
woman-running-outdoor-crop
Choose the exercise that feels the least like exercise. If you don’t like going to the gym, don’t make that the cornerstone of your health routine. Instead, choose an activity that provides good exercise specifically for your back, but that you find enjoyable enough to do every day. For example, you might try taking a bike ride or a walk around town. The more that exercise feels like something you want to do rather than have to do, the more you’ll do it.

Change out one food at a time. If you’re worried about committing to long-term changes to the way you eat, start small. If you try to totally revamp your diet in one go, you’re more likely to give it up—cravings for your favorite comfort foods have a way of taking over. Instead of dropping everything, transition into a new diet by substituting one new item at a time. Give up one unhealthy food and incorporate one new healthy item in its place. For example, you could cut out salty deli meats like pastrami and switch to salmon or tuna salad in your sandwich (oily fish like these have back health benefits).

Try to identify habits that may be intensifying your back pain. Start keeping a calendar or a diary to help you track when you are feeling back pain. Pay attention to factors including time of day and day of the week that you experienced pain, where you were, and what you were doing. One additional item to pay attention to: How long you were sedentary that day. Being sedentary does not necessarily refer to lack of exercise here, but to the duration of time you spend sitting. It’s not just that sitting with poor support or bad posture can contribute to back pain. Recent research has found that staying seated, without getting up and moving around periodically, can contribute to many health problems.

The Pros and Cons of Pain Medications

Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints reported in the United States—but in many cases, the cause of the pain cannot be linked to any definitive source. This can mean that doctors and patients must respond through use of pain management techniques that alleviate the symptoms, rather than minimally invasive spine surgery or other measures that actually treat the causes.
pills-pain-medication
For many people who experience severe, chronic pain, the desire to find relief can be extreme. Pain can insidiously take over your life, impacting not only your physical wellbeing but also your mental health, relationships, and work life. At the same time, prescription pain relievers have become something of a public health hazard in America. Particularly in the case of opioids or other medications that pose a strong risk of dependency, it’s important to work proactively with your physician to ensure that your medications are helping your symptoms.

Though pain relief medications can provide a lessening or cessation of pain symptoms, there are important risks to consider:

1) The efficacy of most pain medications decreases over time, as your body develops a tolerance for the drug. Your instinct may be to take a higher dose, but consult a doctor—switching to a different medication may make more sense.

2) Pain medication is often less helpful for chronic pain than it is for acute pain. Chronic pain is, by definition, pain that is constant in nature. This means taking pain meds all the time. Though that may sound like an obvious solution, issues can arise if you experience acute pain from an injury, medical procedure, or a change in the underlying cause of the chronic pain. When you really need pain medication to work, you could find that it is ineffective against different forms of pain.

3) Excessive amounts of pain medication can be extremely unsafe. In addition to risks from addiction, there is the possibility of overdose, particularly when more than one type of pain medication is used at once. Additionally, taking large doses of pain relievers or taking them for extended periods of time can place a substantial strain on your heart, liver, kidneys, and/or brain.

But you’re suffering—what are your alternative options? If you have been unable to get a diagnosis for your chronic pain, or if you would like a second opinion, make the call to get a consultation with Dr. Solomon Kamson of the Spine Institute Northwest. This outpatient treatment facility is certified by the World Institute of Pain, and offers a wide variety of cutting-edge options that may be able to help you find relief.