Improve Your Quality of Life and Walk Without Pain

If you’re having pain in your foot, legs and/or lower back that’s making you unable to take even a few steps without feeling burning agony, it’s time to find a solution so you can take back your life.
pain free Alfred Gatti
One person who was living a diminished lifestyle because of his pain is Alfred Gatti. But once he found Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest, Mr. Gatti was in good hands. Dr. Kamson suggested a minimally invasive procedure to help Mr. Gatti’s painful burning symptoms. The doctor performed lumbar region decompression surgery at Spine Institute Northwest and, within three weeks’ time, Mr. Gatti was walking comfortably again with no burning. He now is able to return to a more active lifestyle, though he still may need to take pain medication as needed. The important thing for Mr. Gatti is that Dr. Kamson solved his most significant complaint, and the burning, searing sensations in his foot are all but completely gone.

Lumbar Region Decompression

During this minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Sol Kamson uses advanced technological devices, such as radiofrequency and ultrasound, to target and then remove sections of a bulging disc or other fragments that are causing pain by compressing on spinal nerves. Patients are in the operating room for roughly 90 minutes per vertebrae level being worked on. Either a local anesthesia or general anesthesia can be used during the procedure to keep you comfortable. Using fluoroscopy, Dr. Kamson can find the disc in question and enter it with an endoscope. The material causing the patient’s misery is removed and the inner disc tissue is then shrunk using other technologies, such as a Holmium laser or an RF electrode.

The experts at the Spine Institute Northwest are firm believers in first treating patients using the least invasive types of therapy to help relieve pain. With a lumbar region decompression procedure, most of our patients are done with surgery within just one day. After about six weeks, your disc(s) will start healing. Right after the surgery, you may experience some discomfort where the incision was made and its surrounding area. As time goes on, however, relief from pain, numbness, burning, and weakness will happen. In fact, some patients find complete relief right almost immediately.

If you’re anything like Alfred Gatti, who could no longer bear his pain or walk without feeling the burn of a blowtorch that would bring him to tears, it’s time you did something positive towards getting your life back. Contact Dr. Solomon Kamson today at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, for a consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

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.

Regenerative Medicine for Degenerative Discs

Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, can help your body heal as recovery takes place following damage to muscles, ligaments, spinal discs and bone. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest, is particularly interested in the use of stem cell therapies to help those who are suffering from degenerative disc disease.
doctor treating patient with chronic back pain
One of the most encouraging aspects of regenerative medicine’s use in the orthopedic field is that this type of therapy uses your body’s own cells and other organic substances to stimulate self-healing and regrowth of healthy cells in the damaged areas being treated. Research in this field is ongoing, but when it comes to treating back pain at the Spine Institute Northwest, a focus on regenerative medicine is reaching new heights, as positive research results are very exciting.

St. Louis Study

In 2013, researchers at the Columbia Interventional Pain Center in St. Louis extracted bone marrow rich in adult stem cells from 24 patients who have degenerative disc disease. The stem cells (bone marrow aspirate cellular concentrate or BMAC) were injected in the patients’ damaged discs in order to aid in the growth of healthier tissue. Stem cells have the potential to adapt and grow into different types of new cells within the body. The hope of this research was to discover that, when injected into a spinal disc, the cells would change into healthy new tissue for the damaged disc.

The patients in this St. Louis study had been battling chronic lower back pain, some for up to 12 years. More conservative treatments had been attempted or were no longer an option for these patients, and they were now spinal fusion candidates as a last resort, until the pain center researchers offered the bone marrow treatment to them. Of the 24 people who underwent stem cell therapy in St. Louis, 12 of them underwent other procedures to relieve pain over the next 30-month period. The other 12 patients did not seek other treatments. They reported feeling pain relief 2-4 months following the treatment, with 8 of them still feeling relief after a year’s time. As expected, none of the patients reported any complications of side effects from the stem cell therapy procedure.

The Promise of Stem Cell Therapy

As research in regenerative medicine continues, Dr. Kamson understands the lasting relief these therapies can offer his patients right now. Knowledge about stem cell treatments continue to offer more exciting results, and here at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, we are ready to share our excitement with you and keep you up to date on the latest information.

If you suffer from degenerative disc disease and would like more information about how regenerative medicine can help you, contact Dr. Kamson today at (208) 496-0630 for a consultation.

Q&A: Injections for Pain Relief

Question: Hi Dr. Kamson! I suffer from lower back pain that often causes muscle spasms and pain in my hip. I’ve been told that injections can help relieve my pain. What kind of injections are there, and how long will they last?

Answer: Spinal injections are a quick and more conservative option for treating lower back pain. Generally injections are performed after medications, or you have finished therapy, they are also given prior to surgery or in conjunction with it. These types of injections are not only useful for relieving pain, but also work as helpful diagnostic tools to determine the source of your pain. Spinal injections are much more effective in relieving pain than with oral medication because this medicine is injected directly into the area where the pain is generating. Generally a steroid is injected, which delivers an anti-inflammatory solution to the area of pain.

There are several different types of injections, and depending on which one you receive, you can experience either long lasting, or temporary relief from pain. The most common types of spinal injections include epidural, selective nerve root block, facet joint block, sacroiliac joint block, and extremity joint block. The Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) injects steroids directly around the sac that contains the fluid that nerve roots are bathed in. This procedure is able to be performed at the lumbar level, thoracic, cervical, or by per caudal approach. The steroid that is injected can help decrease the inflammation that is associated with conditions like; disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis.

The primary use of a Selective Nerve Root Block is to diagnose the exact source of the pain, and then provide relief for lower back pain, and/or leg pain. A nerve root can become compressed and inflamed which is what causes pain in the back or leg, and sometimes image studies are unable to show the nerve that is producing the pain. This injection helps the physician isolate the source of pain so it can be treated. This type of injection is also useful for treating herniated discs.

When the facet joint is known to be generating the pain, the facet injection can be used to provide relief. This injection is similar to the selective nerve root block and is used as a diagnostic tool to isolate the exact source of pain. A facet joint block relieves the pain by numbing the source and soothing the inflammation. These injections can also be performed at the lumbar, thoracic, or cervical regions of the spine.

The Sacroiliac Joint Block is an injection used to diagnose lower back pain that is associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. With the use of a live x-ray, a needle is inserted into the joint, and a numbing agent and anti-inflammatory medicine is injected to relieve the pain. The Extremity Joint Injection works the same way but can be performed at the knee, wrist, elbow, shoulder, or other joints.

Talk to your doctor about your options, and which type of injections are best for you. He or she will also help you determine if injections seem like a good solution, or if you may require minimally invasive spine surgery to truly get at the root of your pain.

Q&A: Diagnosing Chronic Pain

Question: I constantly live with chronic back pain that continues to get worse over the years. Some of my symptoms include muscle spasms, pain down my left leg, as well as tingling and numbness in my foot. I’ve tried chiropractors, physical therapy, and medications, but they only offer temporary relief, and my doctor says I would require back surgery which I’m not a fan of being cut open. Dr. Kamson what would you recommend be my next step to figuring out the exact problem and fixing it?

Answer: It’s unfortunate that you have been living with back problems like this for several years with no relief! This is an all too common complaint, and the reason patients seek treatment at the Spine Institute Northwest. There could be several different issues causing these problems, and for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, a consultation would be needed along with a review of your medical history and any MRIs or scans that you have had performed. However, I can give you a sense of some of the options that are available including different minimally invasive surgical procedures.

Many patients don’t like the idea of traditional surgeries where they use a large incision in the back to perform the operation, which can take hours. Not only that, but afterwards patients can experience post-operative complications from infection or scar tissue, usually followed by a long and painful recovery that in itself can cause other issues. Then there is always the possibility of the surgery being unsuccessful, leaving you in pain and possibly with more issues than before.

There are many great benefits of minimally invasive surgical procedures, beginning with the amount of time they take. Most procedures will take around an hour and a half, and only a very small incision needs to be made in the back. Since a minimal amount of muscle and tissue is disturbed, patients generally experience much less pain with a considerably faster recovery. Instead of having to stay several days stuck in the hospital, several hours after the procedure you can be released from the facilities. These procedures have a higher rate of success, and patients are able to get back to living a pain-free life.

A couple of procedures that could be options based on your symptoms are the Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression and the Lumbar Interbody Fusion and Facet Fixation. An Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression procedure uses a small incision for a needle guide, and then uses a Laser and radio frequency to fix the problem. This is done by shrinking portions of intervertebral discs that are causing the pain. This prevents nerves and the spinal cord from being compressed, which causes pain. The Lumbar Interbody Fusion and Facet Fixation is a procedure for those who require a spinal fusion. This procedure uses a facet screw system that stabilizes the spine to aid with fusion. The surgeon removes the material causing the issues, and then inserts an implant. A spacer is then installed to ensure proper height as the spine begins to fuse.

Again though, to get a truly accurate diagnosis, you would need to come in and get an examination and a review of your case. You can get started though by actually submitting your MRI or CT scan to the Spine Institute Northwest online to have a free review. You can also feel free to contact our dedicated and helpful staff if you have any questions, or would like to set up a consultation. There are many different alternatives to traditional surgeries that can alleviate your pain and give you back the life you deserve.

About Dr. Solomon Kamson
Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, is the founder of the Spine Institute Northwest, a Seattle, Washington area practice dedicated to helping people who suffer from chronic back pain with minimally invasive spinal surgery options. Dr. Kamson’s philosophy for treatment is that less is more, and his research and practice are focused on finding strategies for pain relief and management that are effective yet unobtrusive. Learn more about Dr. Solomon Kamson and the Spine Institute Northwest at www.spineinstitutenorthwest.com.

Q&A: Epidural for Arthritis Pain?

Question: I was told that my lower back pain is from arthritis and can be cured with an epidural. What exactly is an epidural, and is the relief permanent?

Answer: Although epidurals are a great way to relieve pain, unfortunately they do not permanently relieve back pain. Epidurals have a different effect on each individual, depending on the area and severity of the pain. There are over 100 different types of arthritis along with many root causes and treatments.

Arthritis is caused by the inflammation of one or more of the joints in the body. This can cause pain as well as stiffness and will usually get worse with age. The two main types of arthritis are rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that will affect multiple joints in the body. Most often it will occur in the smaller peripheral joints like the feet and hands. Other joints that can be affected include hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, wrists, and elbows. Most often, this disease will be found in those between the ages of 20 and 40.
Osteoarthritis is what is known as a degenerative joint disease. This is caused by wear and tear on the joints, especially those that support weight like the back, knees, and hips. As this disease continues to progress, the continuous wear on the joints will result in the loss of cartilage. Symptoms of osteoarthritis can include stiffness and soreness, particularly in the mornings, and can be felt with changes in the weather.

For many years now the Spine Institute Northwest has been treating patients who suffer from back pain with Interventional Spinal Injection Techniques. Injections have been shown to be a much better alternative to oral medication. It is more effective because the anti-inflammatory solution is delivered directly to the area that is producing the pain. Some of the common injections include epidurals, selective nerve root block, facet joint block, sacroiliac joint block, and extremity joint injection.

The Epidural Spinal Injection is when the anti-inflammatory steroid is injected directly into the area surrounding the nerve root. This can decrease the amount of inflammation and is believed to help flush out toxins that contribute to pain. A Selective Nerve Root Block is another procedure that can relieve lower back pain and help diagnose the specific areas that are generating the pain. Nerve roots that become compressed and inflamed will generate pain in the back as well as down the leg. This procedure is helpful in identifying the source of pain and treating it.

The Facet Joint Injection relieves the pain that is generated by the joint itself. This will numb and block the pain and is also a useful tool for isolating the source of pain. A Sacroiliac Joint Block is primarily used to diagnose and treat pain due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Another procedure is the Extremity Joint Injection which may be used on the shoulders, wrists, elbows, knees, and other joints. For more information or questions about Interventional Spinal Injection Techniques, visit our website.

As you can see, there are many different types of injections that are used for not only diagnosing pain but treating it as well. Generally, the injection procedure will take between 15 and 30 minutes with about 10 minutes of recovery time, and relief can be felt usually within an hour. In most cases, a ride will be required for your safety when leaving the facilities.

Almost ready for launch

Hello everyone.

I’m Solomon Kamson, but you can call me Dr. Sol, Dr. Kamson, or just Solomon.

We are very excited to get this website up and running! The site will allow anyone to jump in and ask a question about back pain, spine surgery or anything related to pain relief or pain management.

I’m here to provide “plain English” answers to your questions!

Please use the comment form below to ask any question you’d like, and I will address them here, either in-line with the comments or as a separate blog post.

Once again, welcome! And stay tuned…