FAQs

Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions to help gain a better understanding of what we do and how we can help! Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Call us at 361-883-4323 to speak with us today!

What are your hours of operation?

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm

What insurances do you accept?

Accepted Forms of Insurance:
Aetna Choice POS II
Aetna HMO
Aetna Managed Choice POS
Aetna Managed Choice POS Open Access
Aetna Signature Administrators PPO
BCBS Blue Card PPO
BCBS TX Blue Advantage HMO
BCBS TX BlueChoice
CIGNA HMO
CIGNA Open Access Plus
CIGNA PPO
Humana Choice POS
Humana ChoiceCare Network PPO
Humana HMO Premier
Humana National HMO
Humana National POS
Humana Preferred PPO
Multiplan PPO
PHCS PPO
UHC Choice Plus POS
UHC Navigate HMO
UHC Navigate POS
UHC Options PPO

If you do not see your insurance listed here please call us and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you may have.

What information should I bring to my first consultation?

During your Initial Consultation we aim to answer as many of your questions as we can. To be prepared we ask that you bring the following:

  • Health Insurance Card(s)/Information
  • Workers Compensation paperwork
  • A list of all medications you are currently taking
  • A copy of X-rays, CT, MRI films, along with the written reports
  • A list of your questions/concerns.

How does spinal disease affect the body?

  • Radiculopathy
    • Sharp, stabbing, shooting pain.
  • Myelopathy
    • Loss of coordination, weakness, ataxia, bowel and bladder incontinence.
  • Lumbago
    • Deep throbbing, aching pain.
  • Cervicalgia
    • Neck pain, jaw pain, headache.
  • Neurogenic Claudication
    • Leg cramp, limited immobility, bowel and bladder incontinence.
  • Neurologic Dysfunction
    • Motor and sensory abnormality.

What are treatment options for spinal disease?

  • Discectomy
  • Laminectomy/Decompression
  • Corpectomy/Stabilization
  • Open and Minimally Invasive Approaches
  • Complex Stabilization and Reconstruction with Instrumentation
  • Spinal Fusion
  • Micro Surgery
  • Navigational Surgery

What is Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring?

Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring (IONM) is the use of electrophysiological methods such as EEG, EMG, tcMEP and SSEP to monitor the functional integrity of the neural structures during surgery. The purpose of IONM is to reduce the risk to the patient of iatrogenic damage to the nervous system, and/or provide functional guidance to the surgeon and anesthesiologist.

Where is the sacroiliac joint?

The sacroiliac joint connects the last segment of the spine, the sacrum, to the pelvis.  The integrity of the sacroiliac joint depends on strong ligaments that encase and cover the joint.  These ligaments compress and stabilize the joint.

How does the sacroiliac joint causes lower back pain?

The ligaments that encase the sacroiliac joint may be disrupted due to injury or degenerate due to age, allowing the joint to have excessive motion. This excessive motion may inflame and disrupt the joint and surrounding nerves.

How do the symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain present themselves?

The most common symptom of sacroiliac joint disorders is pain in the lower back, buttock and legs.  This can present as sciatica like symptoms (leg pain, burning, numbness, and tingling) that mimic lumbar disc or radicular low back pain, pain that radiates down into the legs.  Causes of sacroiliac joint disorders

 

Causes of sacroiliac joint disorders can be split into five categories:

 

Traumatic (lifting, fall, accident)

Biomechanical (leg length discrepancy, prior lumbar fusion)

Hormonal (pregnancy / childbirth)Inflammatory joint disease (sacroiliitis)

Degeneration (age related wear and tear)

 

Diagnosing sacroiliac joint pain

In order to diagnose the sacroiliac joint as the pain generator, your physician will typically start with a history and a physical examination.  During the physical examination, your physician may try to determine if the sacroiliac joint is the cause of pain through movement of the joint. If this joint movement recreates the pain, the SI joint may be the cause of the pain.

 

Your physician may also use X-rays, CT-scan or MRI to help diagnose the sacroiliac joint. It is also important to remember that more than one condition (like a disc problem) can co-exist with sacroiliac joint disorders.
Finally, your physician may request sacroiliac joint injections as a diagnostic test.  Sacroiliac joint injections involve injecting a numbing medication into the sacroiliac joint. If the injection alleviates your symptoms, then your sacroiliac joint may be the likely source of your pain.

What are nonsurgical treatments for sacroiliac joint disorders?

As a first line of treatment, your doctor may prescribe any one or more of the following:

Medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Physical therapy can help provide strengthening and pelvic stabilization exercises to reduce the movement in the SI joint.

SI belt wraps around the hips to help squeeze the sacroiliac joints together. This supports and stabilizes the pelvis and sacroiliac joints.

SI joint injections can reduce inflammation and relieve the pain.

What surgical treatments do you offer for sacroiliac joint disorders?

If symptoms persist due to instability, your physician may recommend stabilizing your joint with sacroiliac joint fusion.

Sacroiliac Joint Fusion with the iFuse Implant System®  The iFuse Implant System is a minimally invasive option for patients suffering from sacroiliac joint disorders, including SI joint disruptions and degenerative sacroiliitis.

The iFuse procedure takes about an hour and involves three small titanium implants inserted surgically across the sacroiliac joint. The entire procedure is done through a small incision, with no soft tissue stripping and minimal tendon irritation. Patients may leave the hospital the next day after surgery and can usually resume daily living activities within six weeks, depending on how well they are healing and based on physician’s orders.

The iFuse procedure offers several benefits compared to traditional sacroiliac joint surgery:

  • Minimal incision size
  • Immediate post-operative stabilization
  • Minimal soft tissue stripping
  • Potential of a quicker recovery

iFuse Implant System Indications and Risk Statement

The iFuse System is intended for sacroiliac joint fusion for conditions including sacroiliac joint disruptions and degenerative sacroiliitis. As with all surgical procedures and permanent implants, there are risks and considerations associated with surgery and use of the iFuse Implant. You should discuss these risks and considerations with your physician before deciding if this treatment option is right for you.

What is back pain?

Back and neck pain arises, and is often attributed to a soft tissue injury to the spine. There are numerous small joints in the back that can be aggravated resulting in back pain, such as nerve root irritation, disc herniations, bone spurs, or scar formation, which may put pressure on the spinal nerves. Most spine conditions involve a combination of structures. Thus, it is important to identify and treat the various causes of your symptoms.

How long does it take to recover from spine disorders or injury?

The natural progression of recovery from minor spine disorders or injury should resolve within 4-6 weeks if no further aggravation occurs during that time period. Most spine pain should become better with time. If the pain persists, a MRI scan may be recommended to help identity the problem.

How do I treat minor back pain?

For minor soreness, heat is a simple beneficial treatment. Heat increases the blood flow to the muscles, ligaments and tendons. The increase of blood flow can decrease muscle spasms and pain. Consider use of a heating pad, whirlpool, hot shower, bath, steam room or sauna to alleviate pain and to promote healing.

Anti-inflammatories are often prescribed for inflammation of muscles, ligaments, and nerve roots. They should be taken on a short-term basis, i.e. 4-6 weeks. Because potential long-term usage could damage your liver and kidneys, anti-inflammatories are generally not prescribed for long-term usage.
Example: Advil, Celebrex, Lodine, Motrin, Naprosyn, Relafen, Medrol-Dose pack.

Muscle Relaxers are often prescribed to help decrease the muscle spasms as they occur. Recommended as short-term basis medication.
Example: Flexeril, Robaxin, Skelaxin, Soma.

Pain-Killers are often prescribed to help decrease acute pain. Long-term use of prescribed narcotics is not recommended due to the strength and addictive nature of these medications. Short-term use of pain-killers is okay for 3-4 weeks to ease recovery and rehabilitation. Patients who need long-term narcotics and do not have a surgical indication may be referred to a pain management center.Example: Darvocet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin.

Refills – It is recommended that you always use the same pharmacy to insure your safety, and to minimize the risk of taking medications that may have interactions with each other.

What steps can I take to prevent further back pain?

Take control of your spinal condition. It is encouraged that appropriate eating habits, exercise and proper body mechanics are followed to strengthen your spine. The very best treatment for spinal pain is prevention, not pills, shots or surgery. Your body is getting older every day, and it is important to avoid activities that aggravate existing conditions. The body is designed to wear out. Use proper body mechanics in all of your activities of daily living. Pay attention to your body and make it strong. Most patients are their own best doctors.

Being overweight does nothing good for your back and it is a factor that you can control. Excess weight strongly contributes to lower back pain and to almost all spinal conditions. Get motivated, lose weight, and feel healthy and better about yourself.

It is important to remember to rest a few days after an injury. However one should not sit around and wait for the pain to completely subside, unless directed by your physician. Doing nothing may actually increase the pain because muscles and ligaments will become unconditioned. Brisk walking one or two miles per day is a low impact manner in which to achieve cardiovascular and strength training.

Quit smoking now! Spine patients who smoke have been clearly identified to have a lower pain threshold than patients who do not smoke. Typically, smokers have a less predictable surgery outcome because smoking increases healing time. Smokers also have higher complications including an increased risk of infection when surgery is indicated.

Can I benefit from physical therapy?

Good for short term treatment (4-6 week). Therapy helps decrease muscle and ligament pain in the short term. You must slowly work your way into active long-term physical therapy, such as joining a health club, and start working out yourself. You must strengthen the upper back to indirectly support the lower back.Make exercise a habit. Exercise is important for your spine as well as your general health. Do not over do it at first. If you are unsure of how or where to begin, ask a physical trainer or physical therapist for a gradual exercise program. Some exercise is better than no exercise. Strength and flexibility are necessary for a healthy neck and back. Exercise at least three times per week. Make exercise fun and encourage your friends to join you. Do something for yourself and invest some time and effort in improving your body.

A healthy neck and back exercise program consists of 2 parts:

1. Cardiovascular – Treadmill, water aerobics, or recumbent bicycle for at least 20-30 minutes per session. You need to sweat and get the blood flowing.

2. Weight Lifting – Use light weights only (2, 5, 8, 10 pounds), with repetitions. 3 sets of 12 repetitions are recommended. Avoid use of heavy weights and do not strain yourself.

What are medical alternatives to deal with chronic back pain?

Often, injections are performed around the small joints in the spine (facet joints), nerve root, and the spinal canal itself (epidural injections). The amount of relief depends on what type of spinal condition is present. The injections consist of a combination of steroids, short and long-term anesthetics, and are utilized in an attempt to decrease pain in the hope of trying to avoid an operation.

Pain Centers offer specialists trained specifically to help patient deal with chronic pain. They provide a comprehensive treatment plan including the prescribing of medications, injections, psychological evaluations and occasional implantation of spinal cord stimulation.

Holistic medicine such as Acupuncture, Reflexology, Chiropractic adjustment, Bio-Magnets, and Yoga may give some temporary relief.

Surgery is always the last option, and performed only on clear and identifiable conditions as a solution to decrease pain. Numbness and tingling are not indications to operate because they are too unpredictable. Patients must have clear and realistic expectations of surgery, recovery-time, and maintenance of post-surgery health. As mentioned previously, muscles, ligaments, tendons, small joints in the spine, weight control, smoking, dedication to good back care, and the psychological profile of a person affect surgical results.

Corpus Christi Office

1227 3rd. St. Corpus Christi, TX 78404

 Phone: 361.883.4323

Fax:   361.883.4324

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Victoria Texas

302 E. Airline, Vitoria, TX 77901

 Phone: 361.576.1411

Fax: 361.883.4324

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