The Search For Relief From Back Pain

jasonskidmore_testimonialDr. Sol Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest understands that chronic back pain and sciatica can severely impact a patient’s quality of life. It’s important that patients receive a proper diagnosis from the outset so that the appropriate surgery or treatment can begin to get someone back to leading their lives to the fullest.

One such patient, Jason Skidmore, was lucky to finally find Dr. Kamson to help him with his chronic leg pain after looking into a variety of solutions that did not ultimately work for him. Jason was suffering from severe pains in his leg that seeped into every moment of his waking and sleeping life with no relief in sight. He had tried working with a chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapy with no success. He even endured injections, but the relief only lasted for a few days.

Meet Solomon Kamson MD at Spine Institute Northwest

Jason had gotten to the point where the pain was so severe, that he could no longer go to work. When he finally consulted with Dr. Kamson, Jason understood that his chronic leg pain was actually coming from his lower back. After undergoing minimally invasive endoscopically-guided lumbar decompression surgery, Jason could finally become free of pain and live his life to the fullest once again.

Patients like Jason Skidmore appreciate and find great comfort in surgeons like Dr. Kamson who take the time to explain things in detail and answer any and all questions involving their treatment.

Endoscopically-Guided Lumbar Decompression Surgery

It only requires about a one-inch incision to insert a needle-guided endoscope and use laser and radiofrequency (RF) technology to perform this minimally invasive technique to repair damaged disks from inside the body. Those who suffer from Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS) know firsthand how the pain of spinal narrowing and nerve pressure can affect their daily lives. Solomon Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest uses this advanced technology and other types of treatments to ease the pain of bulging disks and other fragments that can compress spinal nerves.

After undergoing surgery at our surgical center within a one-day period, you will be sent home to heal for a short six-week period of time. After recovery, you can expect a sharp decrease in pain, numbness or extremity weakness. In time, you should be able to experience complete relief from pain and a full return to normal activities.

Consult with Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA,  to learn more about this and other options to live to the fullest once again.

International Seminar on Cervical Spine Endoscopic Techniques in China

spineDr. Sol Kamson, Spine Institute Northwest Director, is globally known for his expertise in minimally invasive cervical spine surgery. Dr. Kamson recently presented at the first international seminar on cervical spine endoscopic techniques. This important conference was held in Chongqing, China.

Yue Zhou, MD, PhD, Director of the Department of Orthopedics at Xinqiao Hospital in Chongqing, China, presented a welcome gift to Dr. Kamson preceding his presentation regarding his cervical techniques used at the Spine Institute Northwest.

Dr. Kamson is a certified Fellow by the American Academy of Minimally Invasive Spine Medicine & Surgery. He is an expert on the diagnosis and treatment of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine conditions. For example, the doctor may help patients relieve their back pain when it’s caused by nerve root or spinal compression in the cervical spine using Anterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion Surgery (ACDF). This cervical spine endoscopic technique involves a discectomy to reduce compression followed by a fusion procedure to increase cervical stability. This minimally invasive procedure allows patients to go home within one day’s time.

Upon performing many ACDF surgeries, Solomon Kamson has experienced zero infections among his patients, though infection is always a possible risk with any surgery. Some of the other minimally invasive endoscopic techniques that Dr. Kamson performs include the following:

Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression

With a small incision, the doctor is able to ease the symptoms caused by lumbar spinal stenosis. Using a needle-guided endoscope together with laser and radiofrequency technology, the damaged disk in question can be readily seen and repaired without performing more invasive surgery. In this way, patients can have their outpatient surgery completed and go home the same day.

Lumbar Interbody Fusion and Facet Fixation

For patients who experience pain due to degenerative joints, Dr. Kamson may suggest an interbody fusion and facet fixation. This safe alternative to traditional, invasive surgery results in less pain, quicker recovery time, and a higher rate of success for patients.

Endoscopic Assisted Nerve Excision

When nerves are irritated due to herniated or worn spinal joints, this minimally invasive technique uses ablation to treat nerve pain using a local anesthetic and intravenous sedation. Dr. Kamson sends patients home after the procedure, and most people are able to return to work within days afterward.

To learn more about minimally invasive surgery, please contact Dr. Kamson and the team at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA at (425) 486-1000.

Doctor Kamson- Latest Patient Reviews

Jesus Omar Belloso-Soza: Relief for a Pinched Nerve

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Jesus, a mechanical worker, was suffering from numbness and back pain that prevented him from performing his job, driving, or working with his hands. Sleeping eventually became hard for him, too because of the pain he felt. Knowing something had to be done but not convinced because of negative things he heard about surgery. After speaking with Dr. Kamson and learning how less invasive the procedure was going to be, he underwent an operation. Six months later, Jesus has no regrets and has resumed normal activities without pain.

Sciatic Pain Ended After Procedure at Spine Institute

Glenn Steig had to endure intense leg cramps from sciatics after an accident at work. Refusing to believe that nothing could be done after many other doctors told him that “surgery was not an option” , Glenn finally got the help he was searching for from Dr. Solomon Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest.  After speaking with Dr. Kamson, all his concerns were addressed. “When I first met Dr. Kamson he was very open, he seemed knowledgeable, he seemed friendly, he seemed to really care.” After Dr. Kamson relieved the pressure on his sciatic nerve through decompression, all the pain in his legs disappeared.

89-Year Old Undergoes Successful Spine Surgery

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Irma had been suffering from back pain but got passed over for treatment by physicians because of her age. She got a very different reception from Dr. Solomon Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest, who scheduled her for a lumbar fusion after careful screening. Today, Irma is without pain and back to working in her garden, her favorite hobby.

Michael Reitz: Decompression and Fusion

Michael Reitz found it harder and harder to perform at his job from the intense back pain he was experiencing. Convinced that minimally invasive surgery was best for him, he contacted Spine Institute Northwest and spoke with Dr. Kamson. Michael had no concerns about his procedure and even got assistance with the paperwork for his health insurance. “It took a couple of weeks before I really got rid of all the pain,” Michael says, “but today it’s gone.”

Lori Kuzior: Recovery After Car Accident

Lori has bouts of numbness in her leg after a car accident which left her with an injured back. Lori could not work nor stand up at times and says, “I felt like an invalid.”  She did not want traditional open back surgery which would put her out for up to 10 days in a hospital. The services offered by Dr. Solomon Kamson at Spine Institute Northwest, where Lori could be an outpatient was, in Lori’s words “just fantastic.” After her successful procedure Lori had this to say: “This is such a relief to become normal again.”

Michael Shaffer: Convinced by Minimally Invasive Surgery’s Effectiveness

Michael Shaffer’s back pain was a 9 or 10 after a slipped disc incapacitated him. After trying to tolerate the pain for a couple of weeks, he finally went to see his doctor and got a referral to a surgeon. What the surgeon proposed was a traditional open back procedure which would require a large incision and very long post operative care. Fortunately, Michael got in touch with Dr. Kamson at Spine Institute NW who offered him a better alternative. After his successful procedure, Michael advises those like him “not to wait any longer and just get it done.”

 

 

2016 Patient Testimonials

Here are the latest patient testimonials from patients helped by Dr. Solomon Kamson.


The End of a Decade Long Battle with Pain For Jeremiah Dawson

Jeremiah Dawson emerged victorious after a decade long battle with back and neck pain. While working as a field training officer for the police force in 2006, he started feeling back pain. Ignoring it at first, it finally dawned on him that the pain was something more serious than a simple backache.

Jeremiah was experiencing ‘sharp pains that went down his legs every time his feet touched the ground. Traditional therapies like pain meds from his doctor were ineffective in addressing the level of pain he was feeling. Soon he could not do his work at all, and worse, the pain also made his life at home difficult. Most times Jeremiah was bedridden, unable to be there for his family.

Jeremiah was finally referred to Doctor Solomon Kamson by his doctor to get his back looked at and fixed. He ended up having minimally invasive fusion procedures for his cervical and lumbar areas.

Defying predictions that he would never walk without a cane again, Jeremiah is now walking normally, without one.

Watch as Jeremiah relates how his life has changed after surgery:

Cameron Reyes: Freed from Back Pain

Cameron Reyes is a 6’ foot 1”, 300-pound indivudual, who was, (in his words) a  “meat and potatoes” man who used to play football and was into amateur wrestling before debilitating back pain incapacitated him.

Cameron did not go the traditional open-back surgery route to treat his back problem, since that method would mean more recovery time of as long as 6-months after the operation.

 It just got worse, every year was worse than the last. I got a new start. It is the closing of a horrible, horrible long chapter.

– On suffering through chronic back pain for many years before getting                               treated

Feeling very grateful for the care Cameron got from Spine Institute Northwest and especially from Doctor Kamson, he relates his experience.

“I don’t really think how you can fathom how I feel on what you guys did for me.” I really do genuinely appreciate what Dr. Kamson did to me and how he fixed my back. It’s just a new life,” Cameron explains.

Cameron advises similar people like him to seek help and not just suffer through their ordeals, as he did through minimally invasive surgery.

Watch as he tells his story of recovery below:

 

Why Protecting Your Back Protects Your Brain (and Vice Versa)

It may seem intuitive that any damage to your back could negatively affect your brain, and the other way around. These are intricately connected parts of the nervous system. In practical terms, this means that any time you put your back at risk of injury, you are putting your whole nervous system at risk. Even the smallest injury can have a ripple effect, leading to bigger cumulative problems throughout your body due to nervous system damage.

What should you do to prevent damage to the brain as a result of spinal problems? In cases of disease, doctors will only be able to prevent damage to the spine and brain insofar as they are able to control the disease. However, spine health specialist Solomon Kamson notes that patients do have the ability to work to prevent certain injuries that can harm the back and brain. Here are a few things you can do to prevent nervous system injury:

• Avoid engaging in high-risk behaviors. This can mean everyday situations, like riding a motorcycle, but also more unusual activities like bungee jumping. While you are of course always at some risk in a car, your risk of serious injury goes up considerably when you ride a motorcycle, and motorcycle fatalities are often related to injury to the head, neck, or back.

• When you do engage in risky behaviors, always take every possible precaution. Wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. When participating in extreme sports that require safety equipment, never assume that your equipment is safe and solid. Always double-check the equipment before using it, and make sure back-ups and fail-safe measures are in place in case of any equipment failure.

• Always seek prompt medical attention following an injury that involves your neck and back, no matter how minor it may seem. Certain injuries that affect the spine can take hours or even days to show, so if you suffer a serious blow or collision, seek medical attention right away. Prompt care can spell the difference between life and death in these kinds of situations. This is why medics will often insist on evaluating all people involved in a car crash, even when they appear to be fine.

While back surgery may not be indicated in many cases, if it has been recommended it is important to know that you have treatment options. People who live active lifestyles are often especially hesitant to consider surgical intervention because they are wary of long recovery periods, but the minimally invasive laser spine surgery that is available today can often be performed as an outpatient procedure, and generally has a faster recovery time than earlier types of treatment. It is important to remember too that physicians are also hesitant to recommend spine surgery: It is generally only indicated for an injury that is severe or for a problem that has not responded to more conservative treatments. It makes more sense to undertake treatment when it is needed rather than to take a “wait and see” approach.

Are You at Risk for Developing a Back Problem?

Just about everyone has experienced a back pain or problem at some point in his or her life. But if you’re concerned that a back problem you’ve been experiencing has gone on too long, increased in severity, or if you’re worried about a family history of disease, Solomon Kamson MD, PhD, a specialist in back health, recommends that you familiarize yourself with some of the basics of back health.

Here’s an overview of some of the factors that put the average person at risk for developing some form of a spine disease or injury at some point in their lives. Keep in mind: This is a general list that covers a broad spectrum of diseases and injuries that can occur at varying levels of severity. If you’ve experienced a couple of these things, there’s no reason to panic! Dr. Kamson just recommends that any patients who have persistent pain schedule an appointment to get a proper diagnosis.

Of course, there’s the big one: genetics! If you have a history in your family of any kind of back disease, especially if it occurred in a close family member like a parent or sibling, you should be very careful about monitoring yourself for the symptoms. Though many back problems are not hereditary in the way that other diseases can be, family members’ back problems may indicate areas where you may be more susceptible to developing an issue. Osteoporosis is a good example of this type of disease.

The second big one is lifestyle. Factors as varied as the type and intensity of exercise you do, how you eat, and how you sleep can affect your back health. You should, of course, make sure you are getting enough exercise as recommended for someone of your age and weight, but you want to be careful not to overwork yourself. Overuse can lead to injury and trauma through putting your muscles and spine under stress. Other things to watch out for include keeping your weight under control, avoiding drugs and excessive consumption of alcohol, and finding ways to manage your day-to-day stress level.

And speaking of stress… let’s talk about your job. Whether it’s through physical or emotional stressors, how you spend your eight-plus hours a day can have a big impact on your back health. If you have a job that keeps you on your feet all day, that causes you to have to repeat awkward motions like bending over, or if you regularly have to lift heavy loads, you may be at increased risk for an injury or strain. Poor ergonomics and sitting for extended periods of time put those who work behind a desk at risk, too. Emotional stress can also be a factor in back problems. Though some people tend to discount the damage that emotional stress can do to your physical health, its impact on your physical wellbeing is very real. If you have high levels of stress in your life, it’s important that you find ways to relax and unwind.

What the Medical Future Looks Like for Spine Surgery

Becker’s Spine Review, a journal that runs a weekly series of questions for spinal surgeons, recently asked a group of surgeons how they expected the medical field to change in the next five to ten years. Responses were varied, with some doctors pessimistic about how the FDA and insurance companies will continue to impact the way doctors and medical researchers do business, while other doctors focused on what patient needs will look like over the coming decade. There wasn’t much consensus, but here’s some of what we might see peering into the crystal ball:
fortune-teller-crystal-ball
1. Patients can expect that there will be more innovative spinal solutions in the market, but that access to these innovative solutions may continue to be limited. Hospitals are not always likely to adopt new technology quickly, particularly if it is focused on a niche patient population. While research in pain relief and minimally invasive spine surgery will continue to advance, patients are likely to have to continue searching and researching to find ways to get access to the newest options. This is a major reason why patients travel from across the United States and from abroad to work with Dr. Solomon Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest.

2. Back pain isn’t an area where there’s likely to be a major influx of new patients due to aging baby boomers. When it comes to Americans’ overall likelihood to develop back pain, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the American population is becoming increasingly sedentary, which is a risk factor for many kinds of back pain. But there’s also good news: According to recent studies, Americans are actually starting to cut back on excessively large and fatty meals. This means that one cause of back pain, obesity, could become less common.

3. In Becker’s, some doctors worried that between monitoring from the FDA and bottom-line driven practices in research institutions, researchers will not be so free to take risks and make new discoveries in researching ways to relieve common back issues like spinal stenosis. However, the degree to which this is likely to be true isn’t clear. Clashing interests between researchers and patrons is as old as the tradition of patronage itself.

4. More doctors are using technology to help patients not just in terms of laser surgery, but also as a way to communicate with patients and do some consultations. Anything that does not require a physical exam or testing can be simplified by this process, as you don’t have to schedule an in-office visit (and figure out how to rearrange your day). One way that the Spine Institute Northwest has taken advantage of new technologies is with the patient portal, which allows patients to communicate directly and privately online with Dr. Kamson.

Catching Spinal Cancers Early

Though relatively uncommon, if you have a family history that includes spinal cancer, you are likely to be especially vigilant for signs or symptoms of the different kinds of spinal cancers. Here are some of the basic facts about these diseases.

What Kinds of Spinal Cancers Are There?
While any kind of cancer can potentially metastasize such that it begins to damage the spine, it is very rare that a spinal cancer would result from anything other than a cancer that is specifically spinal in origin. The two types of cancer that predominantly affect the spine are intramedullary tumors, which begin in the cells of the spinal cord, and extramedullary tumors, which begin in the cells of the tissue that support the spine. Spinal tumors are not always cancerous, but even noncancerous tumors can cause pain and numbness due to the compression of the spine or adjacent nerves because of the growth of the tumor.
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What Are the Symptoms of a Spinal Tumor?
The symptoms of spinal tumors are similar to the symptoms caused by many back problems. Only a doctor will be able to determine if a spinal tumor is the source of your pain. Getting a proper diagnosis is the first step in treating any kind of back pain, whether you are looking at problems caused by a tumor, stenosis, a slipped disc, or any of a wide range of back problems.

Common symptoms of spinal tumors include:
• Pain that may radiate out through your hips, legs, hands, arms, or neck. This is an extremely common symptom of many types of back issues. If you are experiencing back pain over an extended period of time, it’s best to get a diagnosis rather than to assume the pain will go away. A specialist like Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest can help you understand the causes of your pain, and the noninvasive or minimally invasive options that may be available to help treat it.
• Weakening of the muscles, which may be coupled with difficulty walking and performing other basic functions and movements.
• Loss of normal sensation, possibly including the loss of the ability to feel pain, cold or warmth. This is especially common in the extremities.
• Development of incontinence.

Though the first symptom could have a wide range of causes, if you experience the onset of weakened muscles, loss of sensation, or incontinence, it is important that you see a doctor as quickly as possible.

Preventing the Development of Serious Cancers
It can be extremely difficult to predict with any certainty the likelihood that an individual will develop a spinal cancer, even if she or he has a family history. However, there are a few things you can do to decrease your likelihood of developing a spinal tumor.
• Make sure your doctor knows your medical history and is aware of your concerns, especially if you have a personal or family history of neurofibromatosis 2, Von Hippel-Lindau disease, or any other type of cancer.
• Know the risks. Your risk of developing spinal cancers goes up if you smoke, have a poor diet that is high in red heats, are obese, or have worked or lived in an area where you were exposed to potentially dangerous particulate matter.
• Act quickly. If you or a loved one experiences any severe symptoms that may indicate the presence of a spinal tumor, seek medical help right away.

What is a Slipped Disc?

Slipped discs represent one of the most common back health complaints that doctors see each year in the United States. Fortunately, much is known about slipped discs and they are highly treatable. Dr. Solomon Kamson regularly sees patients who have slipped discs, and similar questions tend to crop up again and again. Let’s look at the basics.

What Actually Happens When a Disc Slips?
A disc that is made up of a gelatinous inner ring and a stronger outer ring cushions each of the 26 vertebrae in your spin. A slipped disc, sometimes called a herniated disc, occurs when the soft inner ring begins to protrude through the outer ring. This may be caused by an injury or a genetic predisposition that causes the tougher outer ring to weaken, allowing the inner portion to slip through. While the outer ring may start to gradually weaken over the course of many years due to a genetic predisposition, or simply as a result of old age, you can cause the disc to slip suddenly by performing a sudden jerking or twisting motion, which is why people often complain of a slipped disc following exercise or heavy lifting.

How Do I Know If I Have a Slipped Disc?
The primary symptom of a slipped disc is pain, specifically if you first experienced the pain following some heavy lifting or if the pain intensifies when the spot is touched. If you have a slipped disc, you may also experience some numbness or tingling in certain regions of the body. This occurs when the slipped disc ends up putting pressure on a particular nerve. If left untreated, this can become a serious condition.

Other telltale symptoms include pain that worsens at night, after standing or sitting, or after short periods of walking. You may also experience burning or tingling at the location of the slipped disc. Once a doctor suspects that a patient has a slipped disc, tests like an x-ray or MRI can be used to determine if the problem is in fact a slipped disc. If you have already had imaging done, Dr. Kamson can provide a second opinion with a free MRI review.

What’s the Long-Term Outlook?
In some cases, a slipped disc will eventually fix itself. However, if you are experiencing pain that is disrupting any of your normal activities or if you are experiencing numbness or lack of mobility in your extremities or large sections of your body, you should be sure to seek out medical attention so that action can be taken to prevent any long-term complications. A proper diagnosis is critical to determining a plan of action for treating your slipped disc.

How Do You Treat a Slipped Disc?
Treatment generally depends on the severity of the problem. Your doctor will depend on you to report how much pain you are feeling and how much that pain interferes with your daily life. While you are waiting to see a doctor, you can start taking over the counter pain medications to help deal with any pain. Of course, you’ll need to make sure to check for potential interactions between OTC pain medications and any medications you may be taking regularly.

While severe slipped discs will likely need to be corrected with surgery, less severe cases can be treated via a guided exercise course that stretches and strengthens the spine. Though you may need to avoid heavy lifting, you should be certain that you do not stop exercising altogether, even though this can be tempting when you are dealing with a pain issue. Failing to stay active can cause stiffness and healing problems, and strong core muscles are your spine’s best defense when it comes to staying healthy.

While slipped discs may cause lots of pain and worry, they are a highly common and highly treatable issue. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor right away to start addressing the problem. If you are experiencing pain that you think may be related to a herniated disc, call the Spine Institute Northwest today.

When Should You Consider Regenerative Medicine?

If you’ve heard news stories about regenerative medicine, you might still be wondering what exactly that phrase means. Regenerative medicine refers to the regeneration of cells. Following minor injury or wear, the body will respond by sending signals to the cells at that location to repair the injury. In regenerative procedures, a doctor will stimulate the cells at the location of tissue or organ damage to encourage healing at sites that could previously not be repaired by the body’s natural repair mechanisms.

It is a type of stem cell therapy that uses undifferentiated cells for task-specific purposes, for example, repairing the damaged tissue of the spine. Why don’t we just call it stem cell therapy, then? Regenerative therapy is considered a type of translational research. This means that it is an application of findings from basic research, in this case stem cell research, for the improvement of the human condition. It is just one type of application of stem cell research that can be specifically used to help people recover from certain types of injury. At the Spine Institute Northwest, Dr. Solomon Kamson and his colleagues have used regenerative medicine to treat back pain and injuries.

Who is Regenerative Medicine For?
Regenerative medicine is a good option for patients dealing with bulging or herniated discs, certain sports injuries and auto accident injuries that may have resulted in torn discs or bone injuries, or mild degenerative disc disease. Effectively, it is a type of stem cell therapy useful in situations where pain and problems resulting from wear or tear to discs and spinal tissue cannot be fixed by the body’s automatic repair response but can be addressed by encouraging the body to increase its natural response. Current research in regenerative therapy also suggests that regenerative medicine also has applications in treating Type 1 diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and central nervous system problems.

What Can You Expect During Your Procedure?
If you pursue regenerative therapy as an option with Dr. Kamson, you can expect to spend just over 30 minutes in the office as it can be completed quickly as an outpatient procedure. Different types of regenerative therapy used in his office include BioD Regenerative Therapy, MatriStem A-cell injection, and platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy. The stem cells used are adult stem cells that are taken from your own body. In the case of PRP, your own blood is drawn and processed to create the mixture that is injected.

What Are the Advantages of Regenerative Therapy?
Regenerative therapy is minimally invasive, can be performed quickly and with few advance preparations, is less likely to leave scar tissue, and promotes long-term healthy bone growth. It also has minimal chances of allergic reaction, because the materials are coming from your own body, not a donor. However, regenerative therapy is most effective only for certain types of back injury, so it is not an effective option for everyone. If you have not been recommended regenerative therapy, this just means that your back injury cannot be characterized by the presence of damaged tissue that is unable to heal itself.