According to the American Association of Trauma, statistics show that about 500,000 people suffer from craniocerebral trauma (head injury) every single year. It is estimated that between 7,000 – 9,000 die as a result, while a good lot remain either partially or fully paralyzed. Fortunately with the advancement of science there are novel treatments that are done to patients with head injuries that give them a better fighting chance than it would have been some 20 years ago.
Neurosurgery is a specific medical area that squarely deals with surgical treatment of problems of the nervous system. However, practicing neurosurgeons could also treat patients who don’t actually need invasive surgeries, such as patients who suffer from back pain or neck pain. Anything that is related to the nerves, neurosurgeons can competently treat them.
Neurosurgeons can treat a variety of nerve-related injuries and diseases:
• artery blockages in the neck and brain
• Neck pain
• Spine arthritis
• Erniated spinal discs
• Spinal stenosis
• Spinal fractures
• Head injuries
• Spinal cord injuries
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Hydrocephalus or “water on the brain”
• Acute and chronic pain
• Brain aneurysms
• Brain hemorrhages
• Brain tumors
• Pain caused by cancer
• Parkinson’s disease
Practicing neurosurgery for treating neck pain, back pain and brain injury is very technical and is very dependent on special equipment. Most neurosurgeons associate with hospitals where specialized machines are available, though there are a growing number of physicians who perform out-patient diagnosis and treatments.
“Pain in the back is a pain in the neck”
Neck and back pain are related because the feeling emanates from the same source: the spine. When one suffers from acute or (worse) chronic pain, the pain normally comes from the compression or irritation of root nerves within the spine.
Back pain can be felt in different ways. First, the pain may be constant, sporadic or only occurs in certain positions or activities. Second, the pain may stay on a single area or it may spread to other spots in the body. Third, it could manifest itself as a dull aching sensation, a sharp stab or a burning sensation. Finally, the problem might involve the neck or lower lumbar region but the pain might spread into the limbs like the arms and legs.
Neck pain that develops slowly (often over a number of years) and tends to occur during or after certain activities or neck positions is frequently caused by cervical foraminal stenosis. Usually, impingement of one nerve root on one side of the spine causes most of the symptoms.
This type of spinal stenosis is caused by wear or aging related changes in the joints of the neck (facet joints) or at the margins of the discs. These changes may be diagnosed by either an MRI or a CT scan with a myelogram.
As with a herniated disc, the mainstay of treatment for stenosis is medical care (medicine, therapy, exercise, injections, etc.).
If the pain is severe or prolonged, or the functional impairment is sufficient, surgery may be recommended to open up the disc space and give the nerve root more room.
A brain injury happens when there is trauma suffered by a patient on the skull area. Depending on the impact, damage could be minimal to fatal. In many cases, patients survive, but due to the damage on the nerve functions and synaptical exchanges in the brain it could cause anything from paralysis, sensory attention disorder, headache, irritability, neuroticism, concentration, memory barriers, obstacles, insomnia, dizziness etc. However, with the advent of better medical procedures and equipment, a head injury is better treated now than it was treated even as late as 15 years ago.
A neurosurgeon can help you a great deal if you are suffering from back pain, neck pain or some form of head injury. They have the knowledge and the skills as well as the equipment to competently diagnose your ailment and make recommendations on the proper treatments. Thanks to 21st Century medicine and technology, and exceptional doctors in Bradenton, people’s lives are now better. So if you have any acute or chronic pain, best consult your local neurosurgeon right now. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.