The medical name for your lower back is the lumbar spine, one of the most common places that people damage their back. If you live in or near Salt Lake City and have pain in your lumbar spine, Kade Huntsman, MD, is an exceptionally skilled orthopedic spine surgeon who can diagnose your problem and find the right treatment for you. Find out more by calling Dr. Huntsman today, or book an appointment online.
The lumbar spine is your lower back, the five vertebrae between the bottom of your rib cage and your pelvis.
Conditions that affect the lumbar spine can cause leg problems as well as pain and loss of movement in the lower back.
Some of the lumbar spine conditions seen regularly by Kade Huntsman, MD, are:
Discs are the spongy pads that sit between your vertebrae to provide cushioning. If a disc herniates, the softer jelly-like interior squeezes through the tough outer layer, often pressing on nearby nerves and causing pain and dysfunction.
With the effects of age, the discs in your spine gradually get drier, flatter, and harder, which makes them less effective.
Your spine should run in a straight line down your back, but if you have scoliosis, it curves to the side. This could be a mild curve that doesn’t cause too many problems or can be severe enough to be disabling.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which the degeneration of the spinal discs causes one of your vertebrae to slip forward onto another one.
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of your spinal canal typically brought on by degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, or spondylolisthesis. Spinal stenosis causes spinal cord compression.
Spondylolysis is damage to the bones between the facet joints in your spine.
Other causes of pain in the lumbar spine include vertebral body fracture or pain in your sacroiliac joint located in your pelvis.
Conservative treatment options like physical therapy, steroid injections, regenerative medicine, and medication are the first approaches Dr. Huntsman uses for most lumbar spine cases.
If conservative approaches aren’t working, Dr. Huntsman offers a selection of the most advanced procedures for lumbar spine conditions, including:
Typically a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, microdiscectomy is a form of decompressive surgery for removal of a herniated disc that’s pressing on a nerve root.
Laminectomy is another form of decompressive surgery in which Dr. Huntsman removes a portion of bone to allow spinal nerves more room and relieve pressure. He also may implant a coflex Interlaminar Stabilization® device to replace the bone he removes.
A procedure that places titanium alloy hardware into the vertebrae, through the portion called the pedicle. Dr. Huntsman uses a combination of rods and screws to complete this procedure, often using the ExcelsiusGPS® robot to assist.
XLIF is a minimally disruptive technique where Dr. Huntsman accesses your spine through your side. XLIF surgery is often an alternative to more invasive procedures for patients who’ve had chronic back or leg pain and undergone many other treatments.
ALIF is used mainly to fuse the last mobile joint in your spine, which is one of the most likely places for joint problems.
PLIF is the traditional approach to spinal fusion surgery. Dr. Huntsman accesses your spine through your back and uses small plates in the fusion process.
A minimally invasive procedure that involves using screws to immobilize the sacroiliac joint. Dr. Huntsman uses ExcelsiusGPS® for this procedure.
Disc replacement in the lumbar region is less common than cervical disc replacement in the neck, but new methods are making this a good option for some patients. It involves replacing the damaged or degenerated disc with an artificial disc, meaning you retain some flexibility in the spine that you don’t always get with fusion surgery.
Fusion surgery can also help correct the problems caused by scoliosis in mature spines. In children, Dr. Huntsman uses growing systems with implanted rods that help correct the spine’s curvature as the child grows. While they’re growing, your child has regular surgeries to ensure the rods are keeping up with growth rates; then when they reach maturity, they can undergo fusion.
If you have pain or dysfunction in your lumbar spine, find out why and start your treatment by calling Kade Huntsman, MD, today or book an appointment online.