Epidural Steroid Injections as Part of the Spine Healing Process

 

Spine Healing pic
Spine Healing
Image: fixmyspine.net

Paul W. McDonough, MD, is a recipient of the UCLA School of Medicine’s Longmire Medal for achieving the highest average in his graduating class in the area of surgery. Since completing his residency at UCLA Hospital and a spine surgery fellowship at University of Wisconsin, Dr. Paul McDonough has accumulated over 15 years’ experience as a spine surgeon.

Patients who are experiencing back, neck, and leg pain may opt for epidural steroid injections over surgery first, as a form of treatment. While the injections can often work to reduce pain and flush out inflammatory proteins that cause pain around the spine’s structures, they should not be viewed as a cure for spine pain; rather, the injections should solely be used to alleviate pain in order for the patient to progress with his or her rehabilitation program.

After a day of rest and light walking, you should begin post-injection rehabilitation with simple exercises that require little effort from muscles in your back. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, for example, recommends 8 to 12 reps of wall squats and ankle pumps in the beginning stages of rehab. As you begin to feel more comfortable, try performing knee and hamstring stretches.

Physical Therapy after Spine Surgery

 

Dr Paul McDonough MD pic
Dr Paul McDonough MD
Image: fixmyspine.net

As spine surgeon, Dr. Paul W. McDonough MD is the only fellowship trained spine surgeon between Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex and Lubbock, Texas. A graduate of UCLA Medicine School, Dr. Paul McDonough recommends physical therapy to patients who’ve had spine surgery.

After spine surgery, physical therapy is necessary to help patients maximize recovery. Many surgeons actually refer patients to physical therapy centers after surgery. This is because physical therapy strengthens the back muscles, reduces back pain, improves motion and flexibility in the hips and spine, and helps heal spine tissues. Physical therapy also helps strengthen the core muscles, removing pressure from the lower back.

A typical post-operation physical therapy rehabilitation process will start with the patient undergoing a physical evaluation to identify problem areas. Next, the therapist identifies motions that cause pain and then formulates manual exercise therapies that alleviate the pain. These exercises include body weight exercises, body ball exercises, aerobics, and resistance training. These are performed in the presence and direction of qualified physical therapists. Therapists may also recommend other treatment methods such as massage therapy, electric simulation, and ice application.

Importance of Maintaining Ideal Weight for Spine and Joint Issues

 

Maintaining Ideal Weight for Spine

A physician who performs spine surgeries exclusively, Paul W. McDonough, MD, is a respected presence in the Abilene, Texas, medical community. He is the only practitioner in his field with fellowship training in spine surgery between Lubbock and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Maintaining a personalized approach to medicine, Dr. Paul McDonough educates patients about how weight loss and smoking cessation can improve post-surgical recovery and overall wellness.

The overweight and obese weight classifications have long been associated with elevated risk for a wide range of conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, back pain, and osteoarthritis. Characterized by stiffness and joint pain, osteoarthritis can involve tenderness, swelling, and a grating sound when moving problematic joints.

Undergoing surgery that rebuilds or strengthens affected joints will not in and of itself solve the underlying issue. For those whose weight plays a role their joint issues, staying active and moving toward an optimal body weight are important steps in recovery and health maintenance after back surgery. Regular exercise, proper footwear, and weight reduction that reduces stress on the joints are important ways of minimizing reoccurrence of osteoarthritis.

Smoking Behaviors and Spine Surgery Healing

Dr Paul McDonough MD pic
Dr Paul McDonough MD
Image: fixmyspine.net

Paul W. McDonough, MD, serves as a spine surgeon with Orthopedic Associates of Abilene in Texas.
There, Dr. Paul McDonough guides patients through the process of undergoing and recovering from neck and back surgery.

Over the years, research into recovery from spine surgery has shown improved patient healing times and experiences. One of the most recent investigations into this topic has revealed that the impact of smoking on recovery correlates directly with lifelong intensity of the habit.

A recent study, presented at the North American Spine Society’s 31st annual meeting, followed 212 patients who underwent treatment for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Researchers assessed each patient both preoperatively and postoperatively using the Nurick scale, which evaluates patients’ challenges in walking.

Although the study found no difference in preoperative scores, nonsmokers returned postoperative improvement of 1.53 Nurick scale points, while smokers demonstrated improvement of only 0.6 points. Furthermore, and perhaps more significantly, scores lowered commensurately with a patient’s packs per day and number of pack-per-day smoking years.

Because smoking habits affected postoperative rather than preoperative scores, researchers hypothesize that tobacco use has a negative effect on the body’s healing processes. For surgeons, this finding reinforces the importance of smoking cessation counseling as part of preoperative preparations.

Prevention of Lower Back Pain in Golfers

Dr Paul McDonough MD pic
Dr Paul McDonough MD
Image: fixmyspine.net

Paul W. McDonough, MD, provides surgical intervention for neck and back pain. As a spine surgeon with Texas’s Orthopedic Associates of Abilene. In his free time, Dr. Paul McDonough enjoys playing golf.

Many golfers, both professional and amateur, suffer from low back pain. It often stems from a swing technique that places undue stress on the spine, back muscles, and facet joints. Golfers can help prevent this excess stress by improving mobility in the middle back and hips, as this can relieve some of the load and torque on the lower back.

The middle back has more natural rotation ability, and maximizing rotation there can help a golfer to reduce the need to rotate the less flexible lumbar spine. Stretches such as seated twists can be extremely beneficial, and hip exercises like clamshells, lunges, and stair work can strengthen the hips and support rotation from below.

Golfers can also keep their lower backs stable by establishing a strong standing balance, in which the feet are shoulder-width apart and the knees are bent. This engages the gluteus muscles and the quadriceps, while allowing the pelvis to move forward. The golfer then bends slightly forward from the hips and stands on the balls of the feet.

Benefits of TMA Membership — Physician Advocacy

Texas Medical Association (TMA)
Texas Medical Association (TMA)

 

A spine surgery specialist at Orthopedic Associates of Abilene, Texas, Paul W. McDonough, MD, performs operations on various neck and back deformities and injuries. In conjunction with his professional career, Dr. Paul W. McDonough is a member of the Texas Medical Association.

Membership in the Texas Medical Association (TMA) comes with a number of benefits. Among one of the most prominent of these is physician advocacy with the government.

TMA works on behalf of its 49,000 member physicians to help guide policy, both on the state and federal level, by lobbying against burdensome regulations, fighting for vital funding for physician programs, and reinforcing legislation that protects the independence of doctors to exercise their medical judgment in caring for patients.

Other efforts the TMA undertakes for its members in the court system include opposition to increasing the practice scope of non-physicians, holding payment networks accountable for timely reimbursement, and preserving the right of doctors to maintain complete control over their medical decisions.

Volunteering with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra

Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra Guild
Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra Guild

As fellowship-trained spine surgeon in Abilene, Texas, Paul W. McDonough, MD, treats patients at Abilene Regional Medical Center. Outside of work, Dr. Paul McDonough contributes to the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra.

Those who wish to contribute to the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra can volunteer with the organization’s guild. Members of the guild meet nine times per year to enjoy music in members’ homes and discuss upcoming concerts. Volunteers help in a number of ways, including by organizing seating for students during the Philharmonic Discover Music Series concert.

Guild volunteers can also help meet the needs of musicians and visiting artists by assisting with auditions, transportation, and concert logistics. Further, volunteers can help keep costs low by hosting visiting musicians in their homes.

Finally, the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra Guild offers youth an opportunity to take part in Belles and Beaus, a five-year program through which young people serve as ushers at concerts. Recognized by the governor of Texas, this program can enhance students’ future college applications.