Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center
Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality of care while serving the communities of southwest Las Vegas.

Why Is Lower Back Pain So Common?

It’s well known that colds and stomach bugs are common causes of absenteeism among workers. But did you know that lower back pain is also a common culprit? In fact, lower back pain is the leading cause of job-related disability. About 80 percent of American adults will report pain in the lumbar region at some point during their lifetime. While many of these cases involve mild, fleeting pain, other orthopedic patients suffer from chronic or debilitating back pain, which may be severe enough to seek emergency care. If you’ve been experiencing lower back pain in the Las Vegas area, you can find the medical help you need at Southern Hills Hospital.

Degenerative Changes

When you watch this video, you’ll hear Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin discuss one of the underlying causes of lower back pain. Dr. Khavkin, who is a neurosurgeon at Southern Hills Hospital in Las Vegas, explains that the cervical and lumbar regions of the spine have greater mobility and flexibility than the thoracic region. This means that the cervical and lumbar regions are more vulnerable to wear and tear damage over time.

Body Weight

Another reason why lower back pain is so common is that the five vertebrae that comprise the lumbar region are responsible for carrying the weight of the entire torso. The lumbar vertebrae, which are L1 through L5, are the largest unfused vertebrae of the spine. L4-L5 and L5-S1 are the lowest two spinal segments, comprised of both vertebrae and intervertebral discs. These segments bear the brunt of the weight of the weight, which means they are most vulnerable to sustaining injury and displaying degenerative changes.

Residents of the Las Vegas area who suffer from lower back pain are invited to view a “ Welcome to Spine Class” presentation to develop a better understanding of the causes of back pain and surgical treatment options. This presentation is available on the website of the Spine Program at Southern Hills Hospital. Call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (702) 880-2700 to request a referral to an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon, or to find out more about our hospital services.

How Osteoporosis Affects Your Spine Health

Many people associate osteoporosis with hip fractures. This is indeed a common problem, particularly among geriatric patients. However, another problem associated with osteoporosis is vertebral fractures, or spinal fractures. When you watch this video, you’ll hear a neurosurgeon explain the effect osteoporosis has on spinal health. Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin of Southern Hills Hospital recommends that viewers with osteoporosis visit their primary care provider at the hospital to discuss prevention and treatment.

Kyphotic Deformity

In this video, Dr. Khavkin explains that osteoporosis refers to the softening of the bone. In severe cases, activities such as coughing or sneezing may exert sufficient force on the spine to result in vertebral fractures. Vertebral fractures typically occur in a wedge shape; that is, the front of the vertebrae collapses, causing it to lose its height. However, the back of the vertebrae retains its height. This causes the segment of the spine to lean forward in an abnormal fashion, which is known as kyphosis or a kyphotic curve. It’s also commonly referred to as a dowager’s hump, recognizable by the characteristic forward stooped posture.

Segmental Instability

When osteoporosis results in vertebral fractures and kyphotic deformity, the patient is at a greater risk of segmental instability. The integrity of the spinal segments is crucial for proper function and for the strength of the spine. If a segment suffers a significant collapse, the resultant instability can contribute to accelerated degeneration of the spine in the affected area.

Neurologic Complications

Sometimes, vertebral fractures can result in the compression of the spinal cord. The fragmented pieces of vertebrae can push into the spinal canal, reducing the space available for the nerves and increasing the risk of nerve irritation. Additionally, the insufficient space can inhibit the supply of blood and oxygen to the spinal cord. When the blood vessels do not have enough space to expand and supply the needed quantity of blood, the affected nerves can cause symptoms such as pain and numbness.

Undergoing spine surgery at Southern Hills Hospital can stabilize the vertebrae, prevent further deformity, and provide relief of painful symptoms. Our community hospital in Las Vegas is pleased to provide a wide range of healthcare services in addition to our neuroscience care, including emergency care, stroke care, maternity services, and geriatric psychology. To speak with a registered nurse regarding non-emergent conditions, call (702) 880-2700 any time of the day or night.

Get Active Again with Joint Replacement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Joint pain leaves thousands of people watching life from the sidelines every year. When joint issues start, the problem is usually progressive. Over time, as the joint deteriorates more and more, the pain gets worse. By the time most people see an orthopedic doctor, they are experiencing pain while being active and while at rest. Initially, the first lines of treatment for joint pain are non-invasive and include things like pain medicines and steroid injections. However, when those methods don’t work, orthopedic surgery may be the answer. Find out how a knee or hip replacement could help you reclaim your active lifestyle in this infographic from Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center. If you’re suffering from chronic joint pain, make an appointment with one of our Las Vegas orthopedic surgeons to see if you’re a candidate for replacement, and please share this information to help others who may also be living with pain.

Everyday Habits to Minimize Your Back Pain

Maintaining good posture, lifting with your legs, and maintaining a healthy weight are all tried-and-true methods of minimizing back pain. But did you know that something as simple as changing your footwear might improve your symptoms or that smoking can compromise your spinal health? At Southern Hills Hospital, our orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, and other healthcare providers encourage Las Vegas residents to learn more about living life well.

Quitting Smoking

In this featured video, Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin of Southern Hills Hospital explains that many of his patients are surprised to learn about the role of smoking in back pain. Nicotine reduces the flow of blood to the intervertebral discs of the spine. This prevents the discs from getting the steady supply of oxygen and nutrients they need, which results in degenerative changes and a higher risk of disc herniation.

Reducing Back Strain During Pregnancy

When you visit your local hospital for prenatal care visits, consider asking the obstetrician or family doctor about ways of minimizing your back pain during pregnancy. Back pain is particularly common among pregnant women because of the added abdominal weight and the shift of the center of gravity. Making ergonomic changes and following a doctor-recommended exercise program can help.

Selecting Back-Friendly Footwear

If you wear stilettos, you should be aware that they drastically change your normal walking gait, which exerts stress on your back, hips, and knees. Stilettos also change the distribution of your body weight. To minimize your back pain, choose footwear that facilitates stability, such as athletic shoes.

Changing Your Texting Habits

Do you crane your neck to the side to hold your phone between your shoulder and your ear? Do you spend hours texting while hunched over your phone? These unhealthy habits strain your neck and may contribute to degenerative changes and chronic pain. Instead, consider using a headset for your phone. While texting, hold the phone up to eye level instead of bending your neck forward.

Southern Hills Hospital of Las Vegas has helped many patients with chronic and severe back pain get back on their feet. For general information about orthopedic care and neurosurgery, you can call the Consult-A-Nurse line at (702) 880-2700. Be sure to visit our website to discover the many ways our physicians can care for the health of your whole family, including our maternity care, emergency care, stroke care, and geriatric psychology services.

When Is Spine Surgery the Best Route of Care?

In the majority of cases, spine surgery is not performed on an emergency basis. While patients with severe back pain may seek pain relief at an emergency care department, they typically have time to consult a surgeon to determine if spine surgery is really the best choice. If you’re considering visiting your local hospital to consult an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon about spine surgery, you can watch this video for more information. It features Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin of Southern Hills Hospital in Las Vegas.

Is There a Neurologic Deficit?

Back pain by itself may not necessarily indicate a need for spine surgery. Dr. Khavkin explains that he assesses whether patients have a neurologic deficit in addition to back pain. Neurologic symptoms may include muscle weakness or numbness. These symptoms may affect a leg or an arm. Neurologic deficits may be caused by the compression of a nerve by problems such as spinal stenosis.

Do You Have Continuous Pain?

In many cases, back pain is a temporary problem. Patients can often find relief of their symptoms with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers. You could also try cold and heat therapy, physical therapy, and chiropractic care. Another option is to visit your local hospital to discuss whether steroid injections might be appropriate for you. However, if you’ve tried multiple non-surgical treatment options and your pain still persists, you might consider spine surgery. Good candidates for spine surgery generally have severe pain that persists for at least six to 12 months.

Do You Fully Understand the Risks of Surgery?

Every surgery has inherent risks, such as complications from the anesthesia, post-operative infections, excessive bleeding, blood clots, and the formation of scar tissue. It’s important that you are fully informed of the potential risks of the surgery and that you understand what’s involved with the procedure. You should also be advised as to what to expect from the recovery process and the outcome of the procedure.

If you’re ready to explore whether spine surgery might be right for you, you can consult a physician at Southern Hills Hospital. Request a referral to an orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon by contacting our Consult-A-Nurse line at (702) 880-2700. Our community hospital in Las Vegas is pleased to provide a comprehensive line of medical services, including stroke care, emergency care, and maternity services.

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