Spine Procedures in Miami, FL
Advanced Neuro and Spine Institute is one of South Florida’s leading neurologic treatment centers providing diagnostic and surgical procedures to effectively treat patients suffering from neurologic conditions. At Advanced Neuro and Spine Institute, we use cutting-edge technology to treat spinal disorders. We offer advanced medical care for spinal trauma, disc herniation, degenerative conditions, spinal tumors, spinal infections, and scoliosis. Spinal surgery is a major life event. We work with our patients to ensure they are comfortable through the entire process, making sure they have the tools to make informed decisions when creating their treatment plan. We also provide second opinions and restorative treatment for patients that have experienced previous failed surgeries. The neurologists and neurosurgeons at our Aventura, Kendall, Hialeah, and Fort Lauderdale offices deliver expert, personalized care in a welcoming environment.
The Cervical Spine
The cervical spine is made up of the topmost seven vertebrae which surround and protect the spinal cord. The top vertebra, known as C-1, connects to and gives support to the skull. The lowermost vertebra, known as C-7, is right above the shoulder blades. This column of seven bones is separated by cervical discs and supported by several ligaments and muscles. Small spaces in the column facilitate the exit of cervical nerves from the spine. These nerves are responsible for supplying sensation to the scalp, skull, and arms, as well as giving the arms control of their muscles.
Usually, a healthy cervical spine is quite flexible and has a large range of motion, however when subjected to odd sitting positions, involved in traumatic accidents or exposed to the degeneration that comes with overuse, abuse or aging, mobility and flexibility can be affected. Spinal issues can be as minor as experiencing temporary neck discomfort after a long drive or as serious and permanently disabling as a spinal cord injury resulting from an automobile accident.
Symptoms of Cervical Spine Disorders
Most patients that experience neck or arm symptoms are suffering from one of three types of cervical spine disorders. A neurologist will run tests and consider your specific symptoms to determine which of these disorders are most likely causing your issues.
Muscular and Ligamentous Injury
If you are experiencing issues in the soft tissue of your neck, your symptoms will usually include discomfort along both sides of your spine. Your pain might radiate toward your shoulders but seldom expands down your arms. Generally, with a soft tissue disorder, pain is at its worst when you hold your head and neck still, and your symptoms improve when heat or ice is applied. Pain is often increased with overuse, but stretching and massage can alleviate discomfort. Soft tissue issues are usually caused by injuries to the ligaments, muscles or even the bones and discs. Trauma causes the muscles to tighten, creating spasms and discomfort.
It is very common to experience headaches when you have this type of cervical spine complaint. Your neck muscles are attached to your skull, and when they tighten, they pull at your head. By the time you experience head pain, the tightness of your neck muscles has reached an advanced stage. Often the headaches they cause bring more discomfort than the actual neck tightness. Headaches that are the result of neck issues often start at the base of the skull and creep up the scalp creating a helmet of pain and pressure over the whole head. These headaches can occur on a daily basis, and the amount of pain they cause will vary from patient to patient as well as day to day. They can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, but also respond well to heat, stretches, and massage.
Injury to the cervical muscle or ligaments can also present itself with thoracic outlet symptoms. The trapezius muscles are located above your collar bones, and when they spasm, they can place pressure on your brachial plexus, affecting blood circulation to your arms. This can cause your arms to ache, feel heavy, go numb or even tire easily. These symptoms can radiate all the way to your fourth and fifth fingers and often grow worse if you lift your arms to perform everyday tasks such as driving or combing your hair. The discomfort can be temporarily abated through simple exercises that stretch your arms and shoulders and loosen your muscles.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degeneration of the discs and arthritis of the spine are common issues. These conditions may be accelerated or precipitated by aging, trauma or chronic use. The symptoms of degenerative disc disease are very similar to those caused by soft tissue damage in the neck, however, they tend to originate in the spine. When you are dealing with damaged discs, treatment for neck pain and headaches is usually temporary.
Most degeneration happens between the fourth cervical vertebrae and the first thoracic segment, which is also where most neck motion takes place. This degeneration causes the nerve root openings to grow smaller, producing nerve disorder symptoms in the arms. These symptoms often present themselves as you wake up in the morning and seldom come as a result of use or injury. The arm pain, tingling, and numbness is usually worse upon waking and improves as you stretch and go about your day.
A neurologist can use the location of your pain and tingle to determine which disc is damaged. Your discs and nerves are named according to their location on your cervical spine. For example, your C-7 nerve root presents itself between the 6th and 7th vertebra and is adjacent to the C 6-7 disc. If this particular disc has begun to degenerate, you will start to experience neck and shoulder pain which might also work its way down your arm to your hand. A C-7 disc injury could also cause numbness to your index finger or weakness in your triceps or forearm.
Arm weakness can often go undetected because patients are distracted by the severe pain and numbness caused by nerve root compression. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis to determine the level of nerve damage, and gauging arm weakness or paralysis is an important step in determining treatment. Depending on the severity of your damage, the treatment can range from physical therapy to more invasive surgical procedures.
Compression of the Spinal Cord
Compression of the central canal of the spine is a very common occurrence for those who suffer from degenerative disc or spinal diseases. The central canal has the important job of protecting your spinal cord. As discs degenerate they can protrude toward your back into your central canal, placing unwanted pressure on your spinal cord. At the same time, the internal ligaments that already exist in the spinal canal can thicken and protrude toward the front. Either of these occurrences on their own is enough to crowd the spinal cord and interrupt the currents that send messages from the brain to the lower body. When both of these compressions occur at the same time, the symptoms are worsened.
Symptoms tend to present themselves gradually, making it hard for you to notice the spinal compression as it is occurring. Symptoms of spinal compression are seldom painful, rather they cause mobility problems, bladder weakness, and difficulty with sensations. Because they start out small and slowly progress, they are often blamed for other illnesses and issues. If you suspect you have a spinal cord injury, the main symptoms to look for are balance issues, bladder control problems, general weakness and feeling worn out when walking.
When diagnosing your condition, your neurologist will take into equal account your medical history and your current physical condition. If you have a recent history of balance and bladder issues or difficulty walking combined with a physical the reveals reflex issues or troubles with position sense lead, your doctor will want to test you for various types of spinal cord disorder. Certain medical conditions can create spinal cord difficulties and, in those cases, treating the underlying illness is the only way to treat the spinal disorder. In most situations, however, the damage to the spinal cord originates as an injury or structural issue and can, therefore, be treated surgically.
Neck Pain/Cervical Spine Disorders Examination and Tests
In order to diagnose and treat neck pain and cervical spine disorders, your neurologist will need a detailed history of your symptoms. Your doctor will want to know how long you have been experiencing neck pain and whether or not it has radiated to your arms. You will be asked to describe its intensity. Is it mild or severe? Does it cause sharp or dull pain and does the pain lessen or intensify with different movements? Answer these questions as truthfully as possible because these symptoms will help your doctor pinpoint the exact origin of your pain, leading to a correct diagnosis.
The first symptom you will be asked about is a headache because it is the most common indicator of a spinal disorder. For the majority of spinal cord patients, headaches are a daily occurrence. These headaches start at the back of the skull and glide forward over the head until they reach the temples. Because they are chronic, they are often mistaken for migraines, but, unlike migraines, they can usually be relieved with mild over the counter pain medications.
Next, your doctor will want to examine any numbness you have experienced in your arms and hands. If you can pinpoint an exact location where tingling or numbness occurs in your arms or fingers, your doctor will have an easier time determining exactly which nerve is damaged.
Most spinal compression sufferers don’t realize they are experiencing weakness because they are distracted by symptoms that cause pain. Even if your weakness is moderate, you must let your doctor know. Tell your doctor immediately if certain muscle groups aren’t functioning as well as you think they should or if you are experiencing unusual fatigue.
It is also important to let your neurologist know if you are dealing with any bowel, bladder, gait or balance issues. These can offer important clues that will aid in your diagnosis and specific treatment plan.
This section of the website will cover:
- Arthritis of the Spine Surgery
- Bone Spur Surgery
- Facet Thermal Ablation
- Foraminal Stenosis Surgery
- Foraminotomy Procedure
- Laminotomy Procedure
- Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
- Minimally Invasive Stabilization
- Scoliosis Surgery
- Spinal Fusion
- Spinal Stenosis Surgery
Book Your Appointment Today
Advanced Neuro and Spine Institute Neurosurgeons are recognized experts in minimally invasive surgical procedures for the brain and spine. Our patients benefit from a faster recovery period, less time in the hospital, and lower risk of complications. We have offices conveniently located in Aventura, Kendall, Hialeah, and Fort Lauderdale. Please call 786-401-4599 today to schedule your initial consultation!