Mathur Orthopedic & Spine Surgery Blog

Sep 6

What’s Causing My Back Pain and Do I Need Back Surgery?

woman experiencing back pain

From simple strains to slipped discs, millions of Americans deal with back pain every day. As your body’s main structural support, the back endures plenty of wear and tear while remaining flexible to meet your movements.

There are different kinds of back pain, though, and the type of pain you experience matters to your short term and long-term health. That’s why we’ve put together this high-level overview of different kinds of back pain and what your options are for dealing with each type.

Causes of Upper Back Pain

If you’re suffering from upper back pain, it could be caused by:

  • Overexertion
  • Improper lifting techniques
  • Accident or collision
  • Poor posture

These are some of the more common causes of upper back pain. If you can’t think of a recent event that would be the underlying reason for your suffering, you could have an issue that can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. More serious back issues include:

  • Thoracic herniated disc
  • Compression fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Severe spinal deformity

You’ll want to have these issues diagnosed as soon as possible so you can have them treated.

Causes of Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain could have similar causes to upper back pain, including lifting a heavy object or twisting while lifting, recently suffering a fall, sitting or standing with poor posture, or a sports injury.

However, if you’ve been experiencing chronic lower back pain — defined as lasting for longer than 3 months and exceeding your body’s natural healing process — then you’ll want to see a doctor for a thorough examination. Causes of chronic lower back pain may include:

  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint dysfunction
  • Spinal stenosis

How Would You Describe Your Pain?

When you seek medical attention for your back pain, the doctor will ask you to describe the pain in order to diagnose the underlying cause.

Back pain can be sharp or dull, constantly present, or it can come and go at will. This is typical of a muscle strain. Back pain can also be dull and achy, can move around, and even vary in intensity. It can also be a deep and searing pain that moves along the path of the nerve to the arm or leg that is also accompanied by weakness or numbness.

When talking to your medical professional, it’s important to describe the pain you’re feeling as best as possible because it will help them determine the most likely cause and the best treatment plan.

When It’s Time for Back Surgery

Depending on what is causing your pain, and if conservative approaches to treatment haven’t worked, it might be time to talk to your doctor about back surgery.  

For back surgery in Raleigh, NC, contact Mathur Spine Surgery at (919) 297-0000 to set up a consultation with Dr. Sameer Mathur. Dr. Mathur will work with you to find the best treatment for your needs.

Aug 2

Why You Can Trust Dr. Mathur for Back Surgery in Raleigh, NC

back surgeon shows patient x-ray

At Cary Orthopedics Spine Center in Raleigh, NC, dedicated surgeon Dr. Sameer Mathur offers specialized solutions for patients struggling with back or neck pain.

Dr. Mathur strives to give patients relief, whether it involves a minimally invasive treatment or a complex surgery. With years of experience as a spinal surgeon, Dr. Mathur is also the perfect person to ask for a second opinion on surgical procedures.

Comprehensive Care from Dr. Mathur

There’s a reason patients put their trust in Dr. Mathur. He has a career’s worth of successful back surgeries on record, and his experience, combined with the support of the team at Cary Orthopedics Spine Center, help him determine the best treatment for your case.

Treatment Options

Major surgery usually isn’t the only option. Dr. Mathur starts by considering less-invasive procedures that target your pain with small incisions. When you feel tremendous pain in your neck or back, it could be due to a damaged spinal disc, fused vertebrae bones along the spine, overgrown vertebral bone or tissue that intensifies nerve root compression, and more.

To relieve you of pain while maintaining your range of motion and mobility, Dr. Mathur might perform any of these minimally invasive surgeries:

  • Disc replacement
  • Cervical laminoplasty
  • Laminectomy
  • Lumbar fusion
  • Microdiscectomy

He might also follow through with any of these complex outpatient surgical options as the best course of action for your back or neck pain:

  • Stem cell injectional therapy
  • Cervical fusion
  • Kyphoplasty for spine compression fractures
  • Permanent spinal cord stimulator implantation
  • Interspinous process spacers for spinal stenosis

With a range of different treatment options, Dr. Mathur will find the procedure that will work best to relieve you of back or neck pain and return you to your everyday routine.

Expert Second Opinion

Before you commit to back or neck surgery, receiving an unbiased second opinion can reaffirm your initial decision or open your eyes to other available treatment options that are less invasive or more cost-effective.

In addition to being an expert surgeon in his own right, Dr. Mathur has years of experience studying, researching, and performing different procedures. He can evaluate your condition and provide you with a knowledgeable second opinion before back surgery to validate whether or not you should follow through with your decision.

Schedule Back Surgery in Raleigh, NC

If you are in Cary, Raleigh, or Durham, NC, contact Dr. Sameer Mathur and his team of spinal surgeons for a consultation today, or call our office for more information.

Jul 6

What You Should Expect From Your Orthopedic Surgeon

orthopedic surgeon holds up model spine to explain second opinion

If you find yourself in a position where you need orthopedic surgery, slow down and take the process seriously. Choosing the right surgeon can have a profound impact on the procedure itself and the recovery period afterward.

Below, we’ve put together a step-by-step to having surgery done, including an explanation of why you should always get a second opinion before having orthopedic surgery. Read on so you can be well informed before you commit to anything.

Orthopedic Surgery, Step by Step

The Consultation

During your initial consultation with the surgeon, you’ll likely discuss the general history of your condition, such as the causes and symptoms. After examining your X-rays and assessing your condition, they might propose surgery as the best course of action. In this case, your surgeon will thoroughly describe the surgical process, including the duration of your recovery.

Remember, you should always seek a second opinion before you agree to have surgery done. For example, if you’re looking for a second opinion on a spinal matter, you can make an appointment with our own Dr. Mathur.

An unbiased second opinion can prevent you from receiving an unnecessary operation when other less invasive treatment options are available. If surgery is not a mandatory procedure, you can also avoid the expenses associated with it.

Even if you’re prepared to pursue surgery, hearing from a second surgeon will provide you with more information about the procedure and the risk factors involved. That way you can feel confident about the operation as well as your choice in surgeon.

Preparing for Surgery

For the surgery and recovery process, you want to feel physically and mentally prepared.

Your body will heal faster if you’re in good health aside from the condition being treated. Leading up to surgery, eating right and exercising can also help your body recover from surgery more quickly.

When you arrive on the day of your surgery, you will likely have to fill out paperwork before you get started. Anesthesia often requires an empty stomach, and your doctor will tell you how long to fast before the procedure. Wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothes is also a best practice.

Post-surgery

For a quick, successful recovery, it’s important to follow all of the instructions given to you after the surgery has been completed. If you dismiss your physical therapy sessions or refuse to take certain medications post-op, your only making the recovery process harder. Be prepared to follow protocol following your surgery to promote proper healing.

Seek Spinal Treatment Options in Raleigh, NC

If you’re considering orthopedic spinal surgery or are in need of an unbiased second opinion, contact orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mathur of Mathur Spine Surgery. Dr. Mathur only performs surgery when he is sure it is the most effective method of treatment for your spine.

To learn more, reach out to us or schedule a consultation at our practice in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Oct 10

New Treatment for an Old Problem

As a spine surgeon, I frequently see patients with back pain.  Most of the older patients that I see are told that spine pain is part of the aging process and there is nothing that can be done.  If you are older than 60, your back pain may be coming from small fractures in your spine called compression fractures.

A compression fracture is usually defined as a vertebral bone in the spine that has decreased at least 15% to 20% in height due to fracture. Compression fractures can occur in any area of the spine but most commonly occur in the upper (thoracic spine) and mid back (junction of the thoracic and lumbar spine).  The most common locations are T7, T8, T12, and L1.

Compression fractures can cause severe pain in the location of the fracture and radiating pain to the ribs or to the legs.  If left untreated, compression fractures can lead to thoracic kyphosis (dowager’s hump-forward stooped posture of the spine).  Multiple fractures can cause breathing issues, difficulties with balance, and height loss.

The most common cause of compression fracture is osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is the most common in the follow groups:

  • Race: White and Asian women have the greatest risk.
  • Age: The chances are higher for women over 50 and go up with age.
  • Weight: Thin women are at higher risk.
  • Early menopause:  Women who went through it before age 50 have higher chances of getting osteoporosis.
  • Smokers: People who smoke lose bone thickness faster than nonsmokers.

Measuring bone density

Bone density and fracture risk are closely related. The most common way to measure bone density is with a DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan. If you are a postmenopausal woman taking an osteoporosis medication, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density to be repeated every 2 years (or more frequently, depending on your medical history).

Routine testing of your bone density is very important—even if you know you have postmenopausal osteoporosis and are taking steps to manage it with prescription medication, along with calcium and vitamin D, diet, and exercise.

Imaging

If you are having back pain especially due to trauma, we start with getting an x-ray of the area of the spine that is the most painful.  If the x-ray shows that there is a fracture then we get an MRI of the spine.  On x-ray it is very difficult to tell whether the fracture is new or old.  The MRI will show if there is edema (swelling) in the fractured bone.  The edema in the bone is a sign of a new fracture.

Treatments

If you have a new compression fracture, we always try to treat the problem conservatively.  We may give you medications that help with your pain, modify some of your activities, and give you a brace to wear. Usually compression fractures take about three months to heal.

If the pain is not improved with medications, activity modification or bracing, then we consider performing a kyphoplasty.   

The kyphoplasty is performed in our office under local anesthesia.  A needle with a cannula is inserted into the broken bone under the guidance of x-ray.  The needle is then removed and through the cannula, a balloon is inserted and placed near the fractured area.  The balloon is then inflated under x-ray restoring the height of the compressed vertebral bone.  The balloon is then removed and liquid cement is then placed into the vertebrae.  The liquid cement serves as glue between the fractured parts of the bone.  The body temperature causes the cement to harden and support the fractured bone.  

In most cases, pain relief is immediate.  The procedure takes about 20 minutes to do and patients go home within an hour.  There is no need to wear a brace after the procedure and patients can resume their normal daily activities.  It is one of the most successful procedures.

To learn more about the procedure, or to request an appointment, please contact us at (919) 297-0000 or request an appointment through our website.

Kyphoplasty (Balloon Vertebroplasty)

Oct 5

Announcing Our New Website!

Dr. Sameer Mathur, a minimally invasive spine surgeon at Cary Orthopaedics in Cary, NC, is excited to announce the launch of his brand new website! After months of hard work and dedication, we are delighted for the website to officially launch.

We designed this website with our patients in mind. Our goal is to provide our patients an easier way to request an appointment, learn more about their upcoming surgery, and access additional information about Dr. Mathur. Additionally, we wanted a way for referring physicians to submit referrals in a simple manner.

Dr. Mathur and staff want to provide each patient, soon-to-be patient, and any one out there suffering from neck and back pain with the most dynamic and helpful website browsing experience. The new website is interactive and gives better access to information such as:

  • About Us
  • Spinal Conditions and Treatments
  • Educational Info and Videos
  • Patient Forms
  • Patient Testimonials and Success Stories
  • Workers Compensation and
  • Contact Information and Appointment Requests

We invite you to explore our new website to learn more about all the services that Dr. Mathur offers. Dr. Mathur and his team provide comprehensive spine care for musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction in the neck and back, including treatments from conservative, non-surgical procedures and spine physical therapy to traditional spine surgery, to cutting-edge minimally invasive spine surgery.

Amongst the new features, the site contains integrated social media buttons for Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter to provide improved communication with patients. We will be constantly updating our content with helpful information, blogs, company announcements, and patient testimonials.

Dr. Sameer Mathur and his clinical staff hope you find the new website useful. Not only does it have a fresh look, but it also provides easy access to information, appointment requests, and a simple way for referring physicians to submit referrals to our site.

We also plan to use the new website to share exciting information with our followers, such as Cary Orthopaedics recently being voted the 2017 Best Orthopaedics practice! We are grateful to all of the voters, to our community, and to our current and past patients for the support we receive year after year.

We hope you like the changes, and if you have any feedback, questions, or comments, please let us know.

To learn more about Dr. Sameer Mathur, or to request an appointment, please contact us at (919) 297-0000 or request an appointment through our website.