Does Spinal Stenosis Cause Pain?

Spinal stenosis is the medical term for a condition where the spinal canal becomes abnormally narrow and begins to exert pressure on the spinal cord. According to the American College of Rheumatology, it is a fairly common condition, especially in patients over 50, who regularly develop spinal stenosis as a result of osteoarthritis. As of yet, there is not a direct cure. However, regular treatments and surgery can be used to ameliorate the symptoms of spinal stenosis.

Common Symptoms

Although spinal stenosis can cause pain, not all individuals with the condition will develop pain as a symptom. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons states that weakness, numbness, and cramping are also common symptoms that typically affect the extremities depending on the location of the narrowing.

If the spinal canal is noticeably narrowing in the cervical region of the spine, then patients will typically experience these sensations in the arms. The legs are more likely to be the site of symptoms if the patient has developed lumbar spinal stenosis. In addition to abnormal sensation and pain, some cases of spinal stenosis can negatively affect motor function or limit bowel and bladder function.

In some cases, spinal stenosis is largely asymptomatic. However, as the spine continues to degenerate and pressure on the spinal cord increases, patients will typically experience a gradual, parallel increase in their symptoms. As symptoms develop and worsen, your regular physician and neurosurgeon will work together to adapt your treatment plan. Surgery is typically considered to be a last resort, so do not be surprised if your medical team wants to experiment with other treatment options first.

Spinal Stenosis Before 50

Although most cases of spinal stenosis occur after age 50 due to normal wear and tear combined with the onset osteoarthritis, there are several conditions that can cause the spinal canal to narrow long before reaching middle age. Healthline lists birth defects, spinal trauma, spinal curvature, Paget’s disease, tumors, and achondroplasia as other common causes of spinal stenosis.

In many of these cases, the condition is influenced by abnormal growth present from birth. As a result, your regular physician should already be aware that your pre-existing conditions put you at risk for spinal stenosis. Speak with your doctor if you begin to regularly experience pain, tingling, numbness, or cramping in any of your extremities. This group of symptoms is referred to as myelopathy and typically points to a potential spinal cord injury.

For patients without pre-existing conditions related to spinal stenosis, Healthline states that your doctor will likely want to go through the same diagnostic tests including the possibility of an X-ray, MRI scan, CT scan, electro myelogram, and bone scan. Without age-related factors or clear pre-existing conditions, your doctor may require more than one test to positively identify the cause of your symptoms.

Treatment Paths

If your regular physician is able to positively identify spinal stenosis as the cause of your symptoms, then it is recommended that you also enlist the help of a neurologist. Dr. Yashar will be able to help take you through the early stages of managing the condition by helping to build a treatment plan based on early interventions including rest, bracing, over-the-counter pain medications, and weight management.

However, if your condition has already progressed past the initial stages, then your neurologist will begin to include pain management injections, physical therapy, and spinal decompression into your treatment plan. If symptoms continue to progress, then your neurosurgeon will likely move forward to the surgical phase. Cervical laminectomy, ACDF, and cervical laminoplasty are three common procedures used to ameliorate spinal stenosis symptoms. The best surgical option will depend on the individual patient, so contact your local neurosurgeon and take the first steps toward a pain-free life.

Spinal stenosis is the medical term for a condition where the spinal canal becomes abnormally narrow and begins to exert pressure on the spinal cord. According to the American College of Rheumatology, it is a fairly common condition, especially in patients over 50, who regularly develop spinal steno...

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Is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Serious?

The honest answer is, it depends. The symptoms can be uncomfortable or even debilitating depending on the type and severity of your thoracic outlet syndrome, so let’s start by looking at what TOS is and the different forms it takes. To get in touch with a top neurosurgeon in Los Angeles, look no further than Dr. Yashar.

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is identified as any one of a number of disorders that result in the compression of blood vessels or nerves located between your collarbone and first rib. This space is known as the thoracic outlet, giving the syndrome its name.

According to the Mayo Clinic, physical trauma is the most common cause of TOS. Mainly, it is associated with car accidents, repetitive injuries, or pregnancy. However, anatomical anomalies, such as having an extra rib, can also cause the compression associated with TOS.

Types of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

TOS is actually a broad term used to identify several similar conditions. There are three primary types of TOS listed by Johns Hopkins Medicine.

1. Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

NTOS is the most common form and occurs when the nerves leading from the neck to the arm are compressed. NTOS makes up for more than 90% of all TOS cases. The symptoms of NTOS include:

  • Shoulder or arm pain and weakness
  • Tingling or discomfort in the affected fingers
  • Affected arm tires quickly, and in very rare cases…
  • Atrophy of the muscle in the palm, which leads to the thumb

2. Venous Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

VTOS is only responsible for about 5% of all cases, and it occurs when a vein is compressed in the thoracic outlet. Unfortunately, the nature of the condition can cause blood clots. The symptoms of VTOS include:

  • Swelling in the affected arm, hand, and fingers
  • A blue tinge to the skin on the affected arm and hand
  • Painful tingling in the affected arm and hand
  • Very prominent veins in the neck, shoulder, and arm

3. Arterial Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

ATOS is responsible for less than 1% of all cases, and it is identified by the compression of an artery in the thoracic outlet. The symptoms of ATOS include:

  • The affected hand is cold and pale
  • Pain in the hand and arm, particularly during any motion above the shoulder
  • Blockage of an artery in the affected hand or arm
  • Aneurysm of the subclavian artery

Dangers and Treatment

Overall, ninety percent of all TOS cases are relatively harmless though it can cause you pain and limit the use of your affected shoulder, arm, and hand. Therefore, in the case of Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, physical therapy is typically the first and only treatment. Your doctor will only consider surgery if all other options fail.

In contrast, both Venous TOS and Arterial TOS can have major consequences for your health, with ATOS presenting the most immediate danger. In most cases, surgery will be a necessary part of your treatment plan. However, these cases are extremely rare in comparison to NTOS, so if you are initially diagnosed with TOS, you probably have nothing to be seriously concerned about.

The key is to recognize possible symptoms and speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Dr. Yashar, a board-certified neurosurgeon, states that the following are tests your doctor may suggest.

  • Pulse Volume Recordings
  • X-rays of the neck and shoulder
  • Doppler Ultrasound
  • Nerve Conduction Velocity Test
  • MRI
  • Venography
  • Arteriography

Based on your initial examination and review of your medical history, one or more of these tests will help your doctor to definitively identify the form of TOS you may have, allowing them to put together a comprehensive treatment plan that could relieve your discomfort and potentially save your life.

The honest answer is, it depends. The symptoms can be uncomfortable or even debilitating depending on the type and severity of your thoracic outlet syndrome, so let’s start by looking at what TOS is and the different forms it takes. To get in touch with a top neurosurgeon in Los Angeles, look no f...

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Weighing the Risks of Back Surgery

Chronic pain due to back problems is one of the worst things in the world to live with. Being in constant discomfort without relief is irritating, depressing, and maddening. There are some major procedures available to help relieve or eliminate this pain. Most patients are curious about whether the benefits outweigh the risks. When it comes to the risks of back surgery, you should understand your considerations thoroughly before making a final decision.

Continue reading “Weighing the Risks of Back Surgery”

Chronic pain due to back problems is one of the worst things in the world to live with. Being in constant discomfort without relief is irritating, depressing, and maddening. There are some major procedures available to help relieve or eliminate this pain. Most patients are curious about whether the ...

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Why Does Your Spine Crack So Much?

Have you ever stood up after being seated for a long time, and you can feel your spine crack as you move? What about when you stretch after waking up? Hearing and feeling the cracking of your spine may be alarming to you, but in many cases this is completely normal.

At Yashar Neurosurgery, it’s our job to help your spine stay fit and healthy. Therefore, we like to inform our patients when a creak or crack in the spine is cause for alarm. It is most likely a normal bodily function, but there can sometimes be other causes of back cracking that you should be aware of. Below, we will discuss some of the ways in which your spine can crack, and whether or not it merits concern.

Common Back Cracks

The spine will crack naturally due to the nature of its movements. When you stretch or turn in a certain direction, gas bubbles can form in between the joints of your spine. These gas bubbles then pop, which is what causes the cracking sound and sensation.

When you move around, you are constantly changing the level of pressure in between each vertebra in your spine. This means that lots of bubbles will form throughout the course of your day, causing it to crack.

This is completely normal and never cause for concern. If your back cracks for other reasons, though, you may want to schedule a consultation with our certified neurosurgery experts.

Uncommon Back Cracks

If the cracking in your back is painful or more intense than you’re used to, there could be an additional reason why this is happening. This may include:

  • Damaged cartilage or ligament. Tight muscles force your ligaments to work harder to move around, and this can cause them to rub against your bones or cartilage, causing a popping sound and sensation. Stretching your muscles more often may be a good way to prevent this from happening too frequently.
  • Deteriorated cartilage. Cartilage is a substance softer than bone that fits in between each of your bones, preventing them from touching each other. If the cartilage is worn down or deteriorated, your bones will rub against each other and cause an array of pops that may be loud or feel painful.

You might have a problem with your spine if you feel a lot of pain and swelling. Some at-home remedies may be able to alleviate this pain and pressure; for example, stretching your muscles and your back in a variety of different positions can be a great way to loosen the ligaments. Healthline provides a guide for some common back stretches and exercises you can do at home to alleviate pressure and prevent frequent popping.

Keep an Ear Out for Abnormal Popping Sounds

There’s a way to determine whether the popping from your spine is a normal, natural sensation, or whether it is cause for concern. Abnormal sounds are usually ones that are repeated often or may be louder than usual. They are also almost always associated with swelling, pain, and fluid buildup.

It is especially important to identify whether these abnormal sounds and feelings are coming from a place in your spine that has suffered from an injury. Damage, fractures, or other signs of injury can exacerbate the symptoms of your popping spine. If you feel that this is the case for you, it is imperative that you make an appointment with your local spine specialist as soon as possible.

Get a Top Neurosurgery Consultation Today!

If you are feeling even the slightest discomfort in your spine, or you are concerned about the way your back is popping, you can schedule a consultation with us right away. You can get in touch with our friendly experts by contacting us online or by giving us a call at (424) 361-0923.

Have you ever stood up after being seated for a long time, and you can feel your spine crack as you move? What about when you stretch after waking up? Hearing and feeling the cracking of your spine may be alarming to you, but in many cases this is completely normal.At Yashar Neurosurgery, it’s our...

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Signs You May Have Osteoarthritis

Do you have pain and stiffness in your joints? Have you noticed swelling or a loss of flexibility at those same sites? If the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” then you may be suffering from the early signs of osteoarthritis.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis affects approximately 27 million Americans, making it the most common chronic condition in the nation.

In healthy joints, cartilage covers the connections between the bones, protecting them from rubbing against each other as you move. As you develop signs of osteoarthritis, cartilage begins to breakdown, causing friction between the bones. Unfortunately, as a degenerative disease, it will generally advance, leading to increased difficulty as you age.

Who can Develop Osteoarthritis?

Anyone of any age can develop osteoarthritis. However, it is most prevalent in people over the age of 65. Genetic factors and previous injuries can contribute to early-onset, as can obesity, which puts the joints under additional strain.

What are the Signs of Osteoarthritis?

In the early stages, you may only notice some discomfort and stiffness in the affected joints. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases notes that you are most likely to notice these symptoms in your hands, knees, hips, or spine, as they are the most common areas affected by the disease.

It is true that some discomfort and stiffness can occur normally, so don’t panic. However, if you regularly notice an increase in stiffness when you first wake up in the morning or after staying in one position for an extended time, then there is an increased chance that your symptoms could be linked to this degenerative condition.

As the cartilage continues to break down, bone spurs may begin to form in an effort to protect the area. Other parts of the bone may also break off in small pieces as a result of friction. All of these injuries will trigger an inflammatory response, causing swelling at the site of degeneration. Of all these symptoms, the most obvious will be the pain, which will increase as the disease progresses.

Spinal Osteoarthritis

Of all the regions primarily affected by osteoarthritis, the most painful and debilitating is the spine. In the case of spinal osteoarthritis, it isn’t just the cartilage and bone that are at stake. As the key protective layer surrounding your spinal cord, the breakdown of cartilage in your spine can be excruciating.

Essentially, as the premier LA neurosurgeon Dr. Yashar explains, as the cartilage separating your vertebra breaks down, it can cause a “pinched nerve” effect. As a result, the early stages of your osteoarthritis may be a bit different. Still, watch for pain or swelling, but also pay attention if you experience any tingling, numbness, or muscle fatigue in your extremities.

Treating Osteoarthritis

Despite the initial grim outlook of being diagnosed with a degenerative disease, there are a number of treatment options. The Mayo Clinic organizes these into four basic categories.

1. Medication

Dr. Yashar may use medication to treat your pain and any swelling you are experiencing. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are both common; although, he may opt for something slightly stronger if your condition is more advanced.

2. Therapy

Physical and occupational therapy is often prescribed in addition to medication and/or surgery. The aim is to preserve your range of motion and show you new ways of doing everyday tasks that are less likely to aggravate your affected joints.

3. Injections

Cortisone and lubrication injections offer extended pain relief for many patients. However, you should keep in mind that you can only receive cortisone steroid injections a few times a year without causing further damage to the joint.

4. Surgery

Your surgical options will vary greatly depending on the location of your osteoarthritis. In the case of spinal degeneration, your Beverly Hills neurosurgeon will always begin with the most conservative means of treatment prior to moving towards surgery in an effort to save you the pain and recovery time involved in spinal surgery. If you think you are experiencing early signs of osteoarthritis, get in touch with Dr. Yashar immediately.

Do you have pain and stiffness in your joints? Have you noticed swelling or a loss of flexibility at those same sites? If the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” then you may be suffering from the early signs of osteoarthritis.What is Osteoarthritis?Osteoarthritis is sometimes referred t...

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Why Do Backs Spasm?

Because of the way humans have grown and evolved, back pain is one of the most common - and the most inevitable - conditions that will happen to all people at one point or another. In fact, approximately 80% of the human population deals with back pain. Back pain frequently reveals itself by spasming, which is when the muscles in the back involuntarily contract or get tense for short periods of time. But what causes back spasms?

Some people may experience this on occasion, while for others, it may be a more chronic thing. At Yashar Neurosurgery, our mission is to help you understand the causes and symptoms behind your back pain, in order to figure out why the spasms have occurred. If you are dealing with back spasms or chronic pain, the following information can help you get some insight into why this may be happening to you.

Don’t wait for back pain to get worse. Get in touch with your top neuro and spine surgeon to root out the solution as quickly as possible.

Main Causes of Back Spasms

Back spasms usually occur when there is damage in the back’s muscles or ligaments. Sometimes, something as simple as lifting a heavy box can cause the back to spasm.

Anything that puts a lot of strain on the muscles and ligaments in the back can make it prone to injury and spasming. For example, playing a physically-heavy sport like football can damage the back, as you are constantly and suddenly twisting it to get into different positions.

There can be other medical conditions that lead to back spasms, such as if you have a ruptured disc or arthritis in your spine. Pre-existing conditions, especially those in the spine, can lead to the development of further damage as it puts pressure on the spine, vertebrae, back, and legs.

How are Back Spasms Diagnosed?

At the office of Dr. Yashar, we take precautions to diagnose back spasms based on symptoms that you will be asked about. Symptoms involve tightness in the muscles, chronic pain, and unnecessary pressure. Questions will be relating to:

  • How severe your back pain is
  • If there’s anything that relieves it (assuming a certain position, applying pressure, etc.)
  • When the back pain started, and whether you have pre-existing conditions
  • How often your back spasms

It’s important to let your doctor know when you started noticing the spasms, and whether you’ve recently been involved in a lot of physical activity or labor.

How to Get Immediate Relief

There is no one single cure that can get rid of back spasms or cure you of your back pain. There are, however, certain exercises or practices you can use to get immediate relief when your back is bothering you. Medical News Today offers the following solutions:

  • At-home massage on the affected area for one minute
  • Application of heat or ice to reduce tension and inflammation
  • Using a foam roller on the affected area to soothe the muscle tightness
  • Over-the-counter medicines and muscle relaxants prescribed by a doctor

There are also a couple of things that Dr. Yashar can recommend to prevent your back spasms from developing further. It is a good idea to work on standing and sitting up straight as much as possible, as it will strengthen the core of your lower back. Regular physical activity that strengthens the back and abdomen will also help keep the muscles formidable and can prevent spasms.

Back problems can worsen if you are stagnant. The more you remain in bed or in a seat during the day, the more prone you become to developing spasms. If you notice an issue with your back, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor ASAP.

Visit Yashar Neurosurgery to Stop Your Spasms Today!

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Back problems are serious, especially when spasms have developed. If you need help with your back, contact our office to schedule an appointment. You can reach out to us online or call us at (424) 361-0923 to plan a consultation.

Because of the way humans have grown and evolved, back pain is one of the most common - and the most inevitable - conditions that will happen to all people at one point or another. In fact, approximately 80% of the human population deals with back pain. Back pain frequently reveals itself by spasmin...

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Best Exercises for a Pinched Nerve in Your Back

More often than not, if you feel as though you have a pinched nerve, the origin is in your spine. According to the North American Spine Society, even 95% of cases that patients label as sciatica is actually caused by compression of the spinal nerve. Are their exercises for a pinched nerve you can incorporate into your routine?

For a top neurosurgeon in Los Angeles, look no further than Dr. Yashar. With international experience and an expertly trained team, Yashar Neurosurgery specializes in treating patients suffering from pinched nerve symptoms.

What is a “Pinched” Nerve?

Radiculopathy, aka a “pinched” nerve in the spinal column, is caused by increased pressure on the nerves, usually as a result of a narrowing of the point where the nerves exit the spine. This narrowing can be caused by a variety of conditions ranging from a herniated disk to stenosis.

Symptoms of Radiculopathy

  • Sharp pains in the back, shoulders, neck, or extremities
  • Weakness
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Numbness or “Pins and Needles” sensation

Types of Radiculopathy

The type of radiculopathy will depend on the location of the compressed nerve.

  • Cervical radiculopathy indicates that the compression is occurring in your neck. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the arms and hands are the most common sites for symptoms in these cases.
  • Thoracic radiculopathy indicates that the compression is occurring in your upper back. This is the least common form and will sometimes result in painful sensations that can wrap around the front of the body
  • Lumbar radiculopathy indicates that the compression is occurring in your lower back. This is the most common form. You will normally experience symptoms in your buttocks and legs. Lumbar radiculopathy is often what people mistake for sciatica.

Treatment Options

The treatment options available to you will depend largely on the cause of the compression and where it is occurring along your spine. Dr. Yashar, an experienced neurosurgeon in Los Angeles with a specialization in spinal surgery, offers treatment for all of the major causes of pinched nerves with surgical options for extreme cases. Depending on the source of your discomfort, you’ll find the anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections are some common first steps before surgery will even be considered.

Pain Relief & Exercises for a Pinched Nerve

Waiting for diagnosis and treatment can be frustrating particularly if you’re suffering more severe symptoms. In the meantime, there are several stretches and exercises for a pinched nerve that can be used to give you much-needed relief.

For Lumbar Radiculopathy

The Bent Knee Stretch: Start by sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Lie back gently and bend one of your knees. Clasp both hands around the knee, keeping the foot flexed, and gently pull it towards you.

Once you feel the stretch in your buttock and lower back, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Hold for 30-60 seconds, pulling a little closer if you can without straining yourself. Then try the other side.

If the full stretch is too much, then try it while you’re still sitting up. Lower your head for a more complete stretch in the sitting position. You can see a video of both versions here.

For Cervical Radiculopathy

The Chin Tuck: Start by sitting or standing in an upright position. Many guides, such as the one provided by Healthline suggest grabbing your chin and gently pushing it down, helping you to elongate your neck. An alternative is a deeper stretch achieved by using your fingertips to exert slight pressure at the crown of your head.

The Shoulder Roll: This exercise for a pinched nerve will target your shoulders and the lowest part of your neck. You’ll start by standing up straight, pushing your shoulders forward and your thoracic region slightly back, then rolling your shoulders upwards and around until they’re all the way back. You can reverse the process for a more complete stretch.

For Thoracic Radiculopathy

Scapular Retraction: Stand up straight and gently pull your shoulders back as though you are trying to get your shoulder blades to touch behind you. It’s a simple exercise with excellent relief potential. A similar effect can be achieved by standing in a doorway with a hand on either side and just barely walking through.

Though exercises for a pinched nerve are not a permanent solution, they may help bring you some much-needed pain relief. Contact Dr. Yashar today for more questions about the condition and strength of your spine.

More often than not, if you feel as though you have a pinched nerve, the origin is in your spine. According to the North American Spine Society, even 95% of cases that patients label as sciatica is actually caused by compression of the spinal nerve. Are their exercises for a pinched nerve you can in...

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What are the Symptoms of a Spine Tumor?

There’s no such thing as a fun tumor, but spinal tumors can be particularly frightening due to the effects on your nervous system. Fortunately, these effects act similar to an early warning system. They let you know something is wrong so you can immediately seek professional help. For more information regarding spinal tumor treatment in Los Angeles, contact Dr. Yashar. Let’s take a look at some common symptoms of a spine tumor.

What is a Spinal Tumor?

The Columbia University Department of Neurology explains that spinal tumors occur when an abnormal and potentially cancerous cell multiplies to form a mass of abnormal cells on the spinal cord or the area around it.

If the tumor began at the site of the spine, Dr. Yashar will refer to it as a primary tumor. A secondary tumor originates from another tumor. Usually, a secondary spinal tumor will be a result of cancer originating in the chest cavity or abdomen, which has traveled through the body to metastasize to the spine.

It is important to note that not all spinal tumors can be treated. The key factor is time. The earlier it is diagnosed, the more likely you are to receive successful treatment options. If you notice any of these persistent symptoms, seek a professional diagnosis from your spine specialist.

You may not have a spinal tumor, as they are relatively rare, but it is always best to know what is causing your neurological symptoms. Even if it isn’t a spinal tumor, it is in your best interest to diagnose a neurological condition as quickly as possible.

Symptoms of a Spine Tumor

John Hopkins Medicine suggests that patients seek professional diagnosis if any of the following symptoms of a spine tumor persist:

  • Back or neck pain. If your persistent back or neck pain cannot be explained by your lifestyle or another condition, it is possible that it could be the result of a spinal tumor. As the tumor grows, it puts pressure on the nerves and forces a slow change in the alignment of the spine.
  • Incontinence. If you suddenly lose the ability to control your bowels or bladder, it could be a neurological symptom resulting from the tumor blocking impulses through the spinal cord.
  • Numbness, Trouble Walking, or Paralysis. From the relatively innocent to the debilitating, all of these symptoms can be a result of a growing tumor increasing pressure on the nerves. As the pressure increases, more advanced symptoms are likely to present.
  • Spinal deformity. If you notice that the alignment of your spine seems to be changing, resulting in scoliosis or similar spinal deformity, then you should seek medical attention. It could be that a tumor is forcing your spine to move. In any case, you will need to see your doctor to rectify the issue.

If one or more of these symptoms present, you should speak with Dr. Yashar. He will want to do a full exam, and they will most likely require an MRI before recommending you to a specialist.

Spine Tumor Treatment

According to Dr. Parham Yashar, a skilled neurosurgeon specializing in spinal surgery, treatment options vary depending on the type of tumor and its size at the time of treatment. Most spinal tumors fit one of five categories.

  1. Spinal Gliomas: Typically treated with corticosteroids to relieve swelling, helping to decrease pressure on the spinal cord. Surgical resection of the spine and postoperative radiation therapy gives the patient increased long-term results.
  2. Meningiomas: These tumors arise in the membrane protecting the spinal cord. Their location tends to result in somewhat different symptoms separate from those caused solely by a physical blockage. Headaches, seizures, nausea, weakness, mood changes, and visual impairment are more common. Complete resection of the affected area is often the best course of action, but complete resection is not always possible.
  3. Schwannomas: These homogenous tumors can usually be removed with minimally invasive surgery if they need to be removed at all. They are almost always benign and grow very slowly. However, they will need to be monitored if surgery is not performed.
  4. Multiple Myeloma: These are cancerous tumors that attack white blood cells. In these cases, therapies will be used to decrease the clonal plasma cell population. Surgery may also be required to relieve pressure from the spinal column.
  5. Spinal Metastases: These are secondary tumors, which will be treated as part of your oncologist’s attempts to help you fight cancer. Depending on the damage to the spine, neurosurgery may be required.

Your Spine and You

Spinal tumors are scary due to the effects they can have. However, it is also these effects that can help you to identify a problem before it’s too late. So, if you are experiencing the major symptoms listed or any of those tied particularly to meningiomas, then speak to your doctor for your own peace of mind.

There’s no such thing as a fun tumor, but spinal tumors can be particularly frightening due to the effects on your nervous system. Fortunately, these effects act similar to an early warning system. They let you know something is wrong so you can immediately seek professional help. For more informa...

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Can Headaches Be Deadly?

Headaches are extremely common and occur for a multitude of reasons. The majority of the time, they are harmless. Many headaches are relatively mild and dissipate quickly. Stress can lead to a tension headache. Staring at a screen too long can cause a headache. Not drinking enough water can cause a headache. With so many normal reasons that a headache might happen, we may not realize that it could be severe. The pain in your head may sometimes be an indicator of something more deadly. Dr. Yashar is a top neurosurgeon in Los Angeles who can help you discern the difference between a normal headache and a potentially dangerous headache. Can headaches be deadly?

Why do I get Headaches?

This is a loaded question because there are so many different triggers for a headache. There are two classifications of headaches.

The first type is a primary headache. This is the type of headache that is the condition and the symptom. The headache is not caused by an exterior force and is due to pain sensitivity in the brain. It is a stand-alone condition, and the most commonly known form of a primary headache is a migraine. Chronic migraines are not an indicator of a more severe condition because the migraine is the condition.

The second type is a secondary headache. These are the headaches that are caused by external forces. Secondary headaches are the symptom of another underlying problem. These problems can be mild in nature, such as stress, a hangover, brain freeze, and dehydration. There can also be more serious conditions that can cause a secondary headache, like blood clots, concussions, stroke, and brain tumors.

When Should I Call a Doctor?

With so many causes for headaches, when do you know it’s time to seek medical attention? Can headaches be deadly? The most straightforward answer would be the severity of the headache. If it’s extremely painful, there’s probably something wrong. These conditions can be time-sensitive, so your life could literally depend on when you decide to see a doctor. Here are some of the signs to look for that indicate a larger problem:

  • A severe headache immediately after, or during, intense physical activity
  • A headache accompanied by dizziness, blurry vision, numbness, paralysis, loss of cognitive abilities, mental confusion, or seizures
  • An intense headache randomly, especially if it feels unbearable (known as a thunderclap headache)
  • Nausea, vomiting, or fever associated with headache
  • A headache that lasts over two days
  • A headache that continues to get worse over a long period of time
  • Observable redness around an eye where the headache epicenter is

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s extremely important to seek medical help immediately. Dr. Yashar is an expert brain and spine specialist that can help you decipher any headaches you suffer from. The most important thing to remember is that intense pain can mean an intense problem.

Can Headaches be Deadly?

Your headache may be caused by a blood vessel rupture or bleeding in your brain. This is a very serious problem, and can be caused by the following conditions:

  • Experiencing a stroke
  • Brain aneurysm
  • A hematoma, where blood is around or in the brain
  • A condition called arteriovenous malformation, which is a problem that usually happens at birth

There are some other serious medical conditions that can symptomize as intense headaches. They are:

  • A brain abscess or brain tumor
  • Fatally high blood pressure
  • Brain swelling, or pressure buildup in the brain
  • Any artery swelling or closure that supplies blood to the brain

With nearly half of the worldwide population predicted to experience some type of headache each year, it is definitely a common occurrence. Since the chances are you will feel a headache too, it’s good to know how to differentiate between a common one and a deadly one.

Headaches are extremely common and occur for a multitude of reasons. The majority of the time, they are harmless. Many headaches are relatively mild and dissipate quickly. Stress can lead to a tension headache. Staring at a screen too long can cause a headache. Not drinking enough water can cause a ...

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Your Spine after 50 and the Risk of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a scary name for what can become a frightening condition. In layman’s terms, it is when your spine narrows to the point of putting pressure on your spinal cord. According to the American College of Rheumatology, spinal stenosis is typically a result of osteoarthritis, which is why the vast majority of cases occur in patients over the age of fifty. The Mayo Clinic explains that osteoarthritis results from wear-and-tear damage, which can lead to the formation of bone overgrowth along the spine. It is this overgrowth that causes the narrowing of the space given to the spinal cord and the eventual “pinching,” which produces the symptoms associated with spinal stenosis. To learn what your options are for spinal stenosis surgery, reach out to Dr. Yashar today.

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

The symptoms of spinal stenosis can be difficult for an everyday person to recognize, as it primarily affects the nervous system away from the site of the damage. Although Johns Hopkins Medicine does note that back pain can be a symptom, most patients present with one or more of the following:

  • Numbness in the extremities: It could present as a loss of feeling or simply a tingling in the hand, arm, foot, or leg.
  • Weakness: Having trouble performing tasks that would normally be easy for you.
  • Cramping: Particularly in the legs. This often also results in a pain that radiates down the leg.
  • Loss of bowel, bladder, and/or sexual function.

All of these symptoms point to a communicative failure in your nervous system, which could originate from spinal stenosis. However, your doctor will need additional tests to be sure.

Spinal Stenosis Testing

An x-ray to check for bone overgrowth in your spine will be the first stop. From there, your physician may request a variety of scans, including a CT (computed tomography) scan, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and/or EMG (electromyogram) to check the effect on your spine and extremities. If it is determined that you do have spinal stenosis, there are a variety of treatment options available to you.

Spinal Stenosis Surgery

As with any spinal condition, treatment can be a tricky business as the options vary widely from medication to surgery.

With minor cases, medication is the most common option. Physicians can use anti-inflammatories as well as pain medications to keep you comfortable, but they will likely also encourage regular exercise in order to keep your arms and legs strong enough to improve your quality of life.

In more severe cases, which can threaten a patient with permanent paralysis, spinal stenosis surgery may be your only option. Dr. Yashar is an exceptional neurosurgeon in Beverly Hills with a specialization in spinal surgery. For patients exhibiting more advanced spinal stenosis, there are generally three approaches a specialist can take: laminectomy, fusion, or laminoplasty. These procedures vary slightly depending on whether the compression is affecting the lumbar (lower back) or cervical (upper back) portion of the spine, but each procedure works toward a similar goal using a specialized method.

Surgeries

Cervical laminectomy or Lumbar laminectomy: Both of these procedures aim to decompress the area putting pressure on the spinal cord. In these cases, a small portion of the bone (lamina) is removed in order to give the cord room to decompress and heal.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) or Lumbar Interbody Fusion: These procedures actually remove the problematic bone and replace it with a spacer. The spacer promotes healing and effectively fuses the vertebra together with the help of screws, plates, and rods in an effort to further stabilize the spine.

Cervical Laminoplasty: Unlike a laminectomy, this procedure does not remove this portion of the bone. Instead, Spine.org explains that, in this case, the operating surgeon makes small cuts on both sides of the lamina, allowing to act something like a hinge. The surgeon moves the bone into a more “open” position, allowing the spinal cord to decompress. A spacer is then inserted to keep the channel open for the spinal cord.

All of these procedures have inherent risks, so it is vital that you speak to a surgeon with an impeccable record who shows you the empathy you deserve. Discuss your options, and do what is best for your own well-being.

Spinal stenosis is a scary name for what can become a frightening condition. In layman’s terms, it is when your spine narrows to the point of putting pressure on your spinal cord. According to the American College of Rheumatology, spinal stenosis is typically a result of osteoarthritis, which is w...

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Are You Experiencing Upper Back Pain During Your Pregnancy?

Upper back pain during pregnancy is most common during the third trimester. Still, it can occur at any point in the pregnancy. It is caused by the many changes the body goes through due to the pregnancy. Dr. Yashar recommends you take steps to prevent upper back pain during pregnancy. If you already have it, there are things you can do to ease your pain.

Causes

Center of Gravity

As the baby grows and the uterus shifts, the mother’s center of gravity moves forward. This places increased pressure on the muscles in the back, causing back pain.

Weight Gain

The mother typically gains 25%-30% of her body weight in a short period. This stresses the back muscles.

Hormones

Pregnancy hormones also have an effect on back pain. Particularly the hormones released during the third trimester. These hormones prepare the mother’s body for delivery. They loosen the ligaments and muscles. Consequently, the pelvis and back become less stable. This causes the muscles to work harder and can sometimes cause muscle spasms.

Breast Growth

The enlargement of breast tissue places new demands on the thoracic spine, neck, and shoulders. It alters posture and can often cause upper back pain.

Maintain a Neutral Posture

Standing

Keep your chest high and shoulders back but relaxed. Keep your knees slightly bent. Maintain a good base of support. Keep a wide stance and distribute weight evenly between legs. If you must stand for a long time, try to rest one foot for a while, then the other. For instance, see if you can find a step stool to alternate resting your feet on.

Sitting

Make sure to sit in a chair with good lumbar support. Even better, buy a lumbar support pillow. Supporting the lower back allows the muscles in the upper back to relax. Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. The hips should always be at a 90-degree angle. Make sure to sit in a chair which is high enough for this. If it is too high, try setting the feet on a footstool or ottoman.

Sleeping

Pregnant women should sleep on their side during their second and third trimesters. A trick for maintaining a neutral spine during sleep is to use pillows. Place a pillow between the knees. You can also place one under the abdomen. Other places to use pillows are under the neck and cervical spine.

Avoid Heavy Lifting

Avoid heavy lifting and use proper body mechanics when lifting. Keep objects close to the body. This decreases force placed on the back. Bend from the knees and hinge at the hips. Never bend from the back when lifting heavy objects. Never twist when lifting. Wait until the object is up and close to your body before pivoting or turning.

Supportive Clothing

It is important to wear a strong, supportive bra. Supportive shoes can also be a big help. To keep the spine neutral, make sure you shoe does not have a heel. Choose comfortable clothing throughout your pregnancy.

Exercise

Exercising throughout your pregnancy keeps your back muscles strong. It helps them support your growing baby. It prevents back pain and eases the pain you already have. Always consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. This is especially true if you are pregnant.

Stretch

Daily stretching can prevent or ease upper back pain. These two exercises are helpful because they reduce postural stress:

Doorway Pectoral Stretching

“Stand in a door frame and place your arms on the door frame at shoulder height with the elbows bent to 90 degrees. Place one foot forward and gently lunge forward until you feel a moderate stretch at the front of the chest into the front of the shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times several times a day.”

Scapular Retraction

After you have completed the above stretch, keep your arms at your side and relax. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together. Imagine you are attempting to grip a pencil between them. Hold this pose for 5 seconds. It is best to repeat this several times a day.

Spine Surgery Los Angeles

Dr. Yashar is a preeminent neurosurgeon in Los Angeles. He puts a special emphasis on brain and spine surgery. Dr. Yashar provides his patients with the tools to direct their own care. In addition, he guides them through each step of the treatment process. That process may include surgical and non-surgical options. He cares for patients before, during, and after surgery. Contact Dr. Yashar to schedule a consultation today!

Upper back pain during pregnancy is most common during the third trimester. Still, it can occur at any point in the pregnancy. It is caused by the many changes the body goes through due to the pregnancy. Dr. Yashar recommends you take steps to prevent upper back pain during pregnancy. If you already...

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Keeping Sane At Your Desk Job

A full-time desk job may seem comfortable, but it actually takes quite a toll on your body. The average person spends the majority of their day at the office, and the majority of that time is spent sitting down. This inactivity at the workplace has led to a rise in obesity for those that have desk jobs. Most employees only burn 120 to 140 calories a day during work hours. It’s not only the physical toll but the mental toll of being sedentary as well. Without proper stimulation, your mind cannot work efficiently. If you are concerned about your desk chair posture, get in touch with Dr. Yashar today. As a premier neurosurgeon in Los Angeles, Dr. Yashar has the knowhow to keep you sitting straight.

Be Aware of Desk Chair Posture

The trick to keeping your body healthy while sitting at a desk for hours at a time is creating proper habits. Desk chair posture is a huge problem because it is easy to have poor posture while sitting in a chair. It might have been cool to slouch when you were in high school, but it’s not cool to have a sore back every day after work. Poor posture can also lead to a plethora of other bodily injuries, which are hard to recover from.

Try to be as cognizant of your desk chair posture throughout the day, and set reminders every 30 minutes to check your posture. Once you have found the sweet spot to sit with good posture, now you need to move your screen. In the 21st century, we do the majority of our work on a computer screen. If the screen is set too high or low, your neck will become strained. Your eyes can become strained from prolonged work on a screen as well. Be sure to look away from the screen to give your eyes a break throughout the day.

Finally, take little breaks throughout the day to keep active. It is recommended to get up every hour for a small walk. It can even just be around the office or to the bathroom. While you walk, take a minute or two to stretch your legs and back. By staying aware of your desk chair posture, you will increase productivity.

How to Keep Your Mind Healthy

The mind is just as important as the body, especially when it comes to productivity at work. First, create an environment that you feel comfortable in. If you don’t like clutter, focus on keeping the clutter off your desk. Make a friend or two that you really feel comfortable with at your job. This will allow you to blow off some steam and vent to someone that actually understands what is going on. By having people at your office that you look forward to seeing will help you keep your mental positivity.

Plan your week with a to-do list or organizer so that mental clutter doesn’t become a problem. Finally, compartmentalizing work life and personal life will help keep the stress of work out of your own time. When you leave work, leave work behind. Each day is a new day, and ending each workday with a clean slate will help you be refreshed for the future.

Lumbar Support is Extremely Helpful

The biggest concern at a desk job is spine health. Sitting at your desk for most of the day puts you at the mercy of your chair. If you have a chair that doesn’t offer lumbar support, you’re just asking for back problems. When you are seated, it puts three times the stress on the lumbosacral discs, which puts stress on the joints around the spine. Getting the proper chair, and pillows will help alleviate some of this load. It is much easier to keep good posture with a proper chair as well. Here are a few things to look for in a chair that will be helpful for your desk job:

  • Elbow supports
  • The ability to change the height
  • High chair back to support the neck

If you are concerned about your desk chair posture or have questions about spine surgery, contact Yashar Neurosurgery today.

A full-time desk job may seem comfortable, but it actually takes quite a toll on your body. The average person spends the majority of their day at the office, and the majority of that time is spent sitting down. This inactivity at the workplace has led to a rise in obesity for those that have [&hell...

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