Approximately 65 million of your fellow Americans suffer from back pain — and many of them are stuck in the same boat searching for relief.
Dr. Raul Lopez and our West Texas Pain Institute team have seen back pain become the focal point of our patients’ lives, and many have given up on their search for a solution and a pain-free life.
That’s why we’ve dedicated our practice to alternative back pain treatments that offer lasting pain relief and allow you to participate better in other pain relief therapies.
Here, we have all the details on one of our most popular treatments, kyphoplasty, and who’s the perfect fit.
Your back is a complex structure. Just below the surface lies a vast network of nerves, muscles, and bones, all working together to hold you up and help you move effortlessly.
But, for all its strength and flexibility, your back is also incredibly vulnerable, especially where your spine is concerned. It contains a long stack of vertebral bones that fit together like a puzzle, cushioned by spinal discs and connected by joints and ligaments. You also have countless nerves running in and out of your spinal column, delivering messages to and from your brain and body parts.
Your spinal space is narrow, so any deformation, bulge, or intrusion presses on the nerves and triggers pain messages. One of the most common causes of these spinal changes is a compression fracture in one of your vertebrae.
That’s where kyphoplasty comes in. Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that repairs fractured vertebrae. During the procedure, we carefully guide a thin needle into your damaged vertebra, insert a balloon through a catheter, inflate it to create space, and then fill in cracks with a special bone cement.
Kyphoplasty is versatile and effective for many, but not all. You may be a good candidate if you check the following boxes.
You have to have the right type of back pain
Back pain can stem from almost any problem with your nerves, muscles, and bones. Kyphoplasty is for those whose pain develops because of spinal compression fractures.
Spinal compression fractures occur when one or more of your vertebrae collapse and fracture. The result is significant pain and a slew of other debilitating symptoms.
Simple imaging tests can tell Dr. Lopez and our team if you have a spinal compression fracture and are eligible for kyphoplasty.
You’re at risk for spinal compression fractures
Spinal compression fractures rarely happen out of the blue; they usually stem from an underlying issue.
When you’re experiencing back pain and can’t understand why, talk to us about all of your health conditions, even if you think they’re unrelated. Your medical history may be key in uncovering a spinal compression fracture.
For instance, if you have osteoporosis, your chances of developing a spinal compression fracture go up. Osteoporosis is mainly an age-related degenerative condition that results in gradual bone loss. You can also have osteoporosis if you have other health issues, such as an eating disorder, calcium deficiency, certain types of cancers, or thyroid hormone imbalances.
It’s also important to note that women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis and the spinal compressions that can follow. That’s because women experience a significant reduction in estrogen levels as they reach age 51 and go through menopause — up to 25% of postmenopausal women experience spinal compression fractures.
You haven’t found relief anywhere else
Most can manage and recover from back pain with simple, conservative methods like bracing, medication, rest, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
However, if you’re in pain and nothing seems to be working, it may be because you have a spinal compression fracture that requires a procedure like kyphoplasty.
How your appointment will go
Kyphoplasty is a routine outpatient procedure Dr. Lopez performs in our office. It’s minimally invasive and only requires a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable, but we can supply a mild sedative to help you relax.
You lie on your stomach or side during the procedure while we clean and prepare the treatment site. Then, Dr. Lopez guides the needle into position with the help of a special imaging device called fluoroscopy. Finally, he inserts a catheter, inflates the balloon, and injects the bone cement.
Once we’re done, you rest comfortably in our office until we’ve made sure you haven’t had a reaction and you’re rested enough to go home. You should have a friend or family member drive you home, and we recommend resting for a day or two. If you’ve had more than one vertebra treated, you should stay overnight for observation.
After a few days, you should be feeling well enough to return to your regular activities; however, we strongly encourage you to avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for at least 6-8 weeks.
To learn more about kyphoplasty and whether it can help you, call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule a back pain consultation at our El Paso, Texas, office today.