Suffering a herniated disc (also called a slipped disc or ruptured disc) may be one of the most serious injuries of your life so far. Although it is a very common injury for people 35-55 years old who are active, it does cause significant distress and disruption to life. Unfortunately, the recovery time may be longer than you expected—and the lingering pain might be the bane of your existence for a few months. What can you do to make sure that you are getting the most effective treatment to fix this temporary medical problem?
What is a herniated disc or slipped disc?
The 26 vertebrae that make up your spine are cushioned by soft, rubbery discs. They allow the spine to bend and flex while also acting as shock absorbers. Discs can experience wear and tear over time and they can be aggravated by certain activities or conditions like improper lifting, excessive body weight, smoking, sudden pressure, and repeated strenuous activities. When a cushion ruptures, you now have a condition known as a herniated disc or slipped disc.
The common symptoms of a herniated disc? It’s the lower back pain or neck pain you may be experiencing right now. The protruding disc can also inflame nerve roots and lead to sciatic nerve pain. Not treating a herniated disc can lead to permanent nerve damage that causes an array of potential complications in the future, such as losing sensation in the inner thighs and legs.
Therapies for a herniated disc or slipped disc
Our experts at Baldwin Bone and Joint recommend several types of therapies for a herniated disc, depending on the situation.
Medications and Injections – Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or Advil for mild to moderate discomfort. If you’re suffering from more severe pain, he or she may prescribe a narcotic or anticonvulsant, to be used for a limited duration of time. Other recommended treatments might include a muscle relaxer if you are experiencing muscle spasms.
Injections – An epidural steroid injection is a quick and simple procedure that can quickly relieve pain. For the procedure, the irritated spinal nerve (caused by the protrusion of the herniated disc) is bathed in steroids, a powerful anti-inflammation medicine.
Core Strengthening – Strengthening your core is critical to keeping your spine healthy. It means relieving some of the burden your back muscles have in supporting your spine, which can result in less back pain. That could mean heading to your local Pilates or yoga studio and practicing your favorite poses. For more personal support from a trained specialist, you can participate in a lumbar stabilization program supervised by a physical therapist.
Physical Therapy – Going to physical therapy is an investment in the optimal functioning of your body. When your muscles work together effectively, they pave the way to a healthier spine that will reduce the chances of future injuries. Physical therapists can help improve your strength, flexibility, and motion by teaching you proven exercises and stretches, using proper techniques that will provide the safest possible training program. They can monitor and holistically evaluate your progress in order to determine the best combination of exercises that will help you reach optimal spine health.
To request an appointment with the team at Baldwin Bone and Joint, please click here.
Elizabeth “Hill” Luscher is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) who earned a Masters of Nursing degree in 2014. A registered nurse since 2008, she transitioned solely to orthopaedic care in 2014, treating patients and assisting in spine, general orthopaedic and orthopaedic trauma surgeries among others.
Shireen Knowles has been a nurse since 2002 and a nurse practitioner since 2010. Her professional focus has been in orthopaedic and neuropathic conditions, including spine health, since graduating from UAB. Since 2016, Shireen has worked with Dr. Paul Canale, medical director for The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint.
Patrick Hall Dunn Jr. has been a Certified Physician’s Assistant for 20 years. For the last 14 years he has worked alongside Dr. Paul Canale, Medical Director for The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint PC. During his 20-year career he has worked primarily in a surgical setting specializing in spine and orthopaedics.
Dr. Paul Canale is a board certified, fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon who has successfully treated patients with neck and spine conditions for more than 30 years. He specializes in complex spinal reconstruction surgery. Dr. Canale serves as medical director of The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint.
- BS Mechanical Engineering: University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1980
- Masters Program, Mechanical Engineering: University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1981
- The Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, IL, 1985
- General Surgery: Wayne State University,Detroit, MI, 1985-86
- Orthopaedic Surgery: Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 1986-90
- Foot/Ankle/Complex Lower Extremity Reconstruction:
The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, 1990-91
- Spine Disorders/Surgery:
University of Missouri/ Columbia Spine Center: Columbia, Missouri, 2003-04
Certification and Licensure
- State of Alabama
- American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, 1993
- Alabama Orthopaedic Society (AOS)
- Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)
- American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
- North American Spine Society (NASS)
- Baldwin County Medical Society
- Medical Association of Alabama
- Medical Director, The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint
Dr. Charles Gordon is a board eligible, fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon with specialized training and emphasis in minimally-invasive spine surgeries. He practices with The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama.
- B.S., General Physics, Millsaps College, Jackson, MS 2007
- M.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, AR, 2011
- Orthopaedic Surgery, State University of New York at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY, 2017
- Spinal Surgery, University of Maryland and Shock Trauma Hospital
Baltimore, MD, 2018
Certification and Licensure
- American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Board Eligible
- Alabama Board of Medical Examiners
- AO North America Spinal Surgery, Fellow
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Fellow
- North American Spine Society
- Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society
- Medical Association of the State of Alabama
- Alabama Orthopaedic Society
As an athlete, you know all too well that taking care of yourself is the #1 most important factor of success. No weekend warrior can win without putting his or her health first. Why let a preventable neck or back injury keep you from scaling every Kilimanjaro and all the amazing scenic trails to run?
Back and neck injuries, along with severe neck and back pain, are some of the most common issues that athletes and fitness enthusiasts face.
Common back and neck injuries
Muscles strains and ligament sprains – some of the most common injuries that can be caused by heavy training, improper techniques, insufficient stretching, and trauma.
Cracks and stress fractures in the vertebrae – often experienced by athletes who practice sports that require intense twisting or hyperextension of the spine, like gymnastics.
Stingers – injuries to the nerves around the neck and shoulder most often occurring with contact and collision sports like football. (North American Spine Society)
If you are having problems with neck injury or back injury, the physicians at Baldwin Bone and Joint can help. We are experts on sports medicine with extensive education in the musculoskeletal system, trusted by several athletic teams in the state, including the University of South Alabama Jaguars.
Injuries can put you out of commission for awhile, meaning you’ll be stuck at home instead of out and about basking in the sun, so here are a few tips from us help you prevent them:
Do this and you’ll reduce the risk of neck and back pain
1. Warm up – Loosen your joints and get your blood flowing to the muscles. A warm up session before you start your workout will help prevent injuries by improving flexibility. Since most of us are tied to sedentary 9-5 desk jobs, you’ll need to warm up your spine by moving it in ways that it’s not used to before you start exercising. It really only takes a few minutes to get your spine ready for a great workout.
2. Strengthen the core – If your abdominal muscles are weak, it means that back muscles are working extra hard to support the spine, and the extra burden can cause back pain. A stronger core will reduce the strain on back muscles and reduce the risk of back pain.
3. Make sleep a priority – Your spine needs to rest just like the rest of your body. Make sure you are getting a good eight hours of sleep every night so that you can give your neck and back some much needed time off.
4. Choose the sport that fits you best – If you have a past or ongoing issue with neck pain or back pain, you may want to consult your doctor on the best sport to play. Some sports that require intense twists or jumping (think about making a slam dunk) may not be the most ideal. Other alternatives like swimming or skiing could actually be fun and exciting, yet safe to practice.
Click here to schedule an appointment with us today.
DAPHNE, ALA. (April 25, 2019) The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint is expanding its practice with the addition of Elizabeth “Hill” Luscher, a board-certified Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) who has focused her career on treating patients with orthopaedic injuries and conditions.
Luscher became a registered nurse in 2008, working in hospital and outpatient specialty settings in the Mobile area. In 2014, she earned a Master of Nursing degree with honors from the University of Massachusetts, then returned to the Gulf Coast to practice with a private orthopaedic physician group until most recently.
“We are delighted Hill Luscher joined our team at The Spine Institute,” said Charles Gordon, M.D., The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint. “Her extensive experience working with patients who suffer from neck and spine injuries makes her a great fit for our practice. We can’t wait for our patients to get to know her.”
A spinal procedure that gets you out of the hospital faster
Every fitness lover who lives for the exhilarating highs of training for the Boston Marathon or the weekends filled with rugged adventure in unexplored terrains dreads the day when their body needs a tune up.
Back and neck pain is an incredibly common problem for people, and even the most savvy weekend warriors may not be able to escape it. When it’s gotten so serious that you may be looking at spine surgery, you’ll find out that there is a way to make it as painless as possible.
Undergoing spine surgery may seem like a scary idea, but our surgeons at the Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone and Joint want you to know that new and innovative techniques in spine surgery may be effective for you.
What is minimally invasive spine surgery vs. traditional spine surgery?
Traditional spine surgery is an “open surgery” that requires the surgeon to make a 5” to 6” incision in your back to view and access the anatomy. Spinal procedures may include laminectomy, microdiscectomy, and traditional lumbar fusion. (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
In open surgery, the pulling of muscles around the area where the incision was made may cause damage to the muscles and soft tissues surrounding it. You may experience pain that’s different from the back pain you experienced before the surgery—and you may face a lengthy recovery time.
With minimally invasive spine surgery, the surgeon will use advanced technologies to make smaller incisions that cause less injury to the muscles. Because there’s less trauma to the muscles and soft tissues, it’s a technique that’s proven to be effective but also has several advantages over traditional spine surgery.
The potential benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery
- Less pain
- Less blood loss
- Less risk of infection
- Less reliance on pain medications during recovery
- Shorter recovery time
Visit The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone and Joint to learn more about our fellowship-trained surgeons and specialized spine care team. Find out if minimally invasive spine surgery is right for you by setting up a consultation today.
The best part? You may need to have surgery, but you can get back to your awesome, active life faster than ever before.
Local Students Contribute 70% of Shoes Donated to Homeless Outreach Organizations
Daphne, AL (April 5, 2019) – Hundreds of people – primarily students and teachers – in Baldwin and Mobile Counties recently donated gently used shoes to Baldwin Bone & Joint’s 16th Annual Many More Miles Campaign, resulting in 2,728 pairs of shoes finding new life. Last year’s campaign resulted in just over 2,000 pairs donated.
Baldwin Bone & Joint, P.C., Dr. Glenn Glass, the University of South Alabama Student Recreation Center, and local schools partnered to collect shoes for the homeless outreach programs of Family Promise of Baldwin County and Wings of Life. The campaign, now in its 16th year, got off to a running start in January and concluded at the Azalea Trail Run held on March 23rd.
Mobile and Baldwin County students were challenged to collect shoes for homeless families in the area while earning money for their schools’ P.E. programs. Baldwin Bone & Joint awards cash prizes to the top three participating schools who donate the most shoes. Fairhope Intermediate won first place, collecting 1,100 pairs of shoes and received a $300 cash prize. Rockwell Elementary took second place ($200), and Mary B. Austin Elementary received third prize ($100).
The 1,906 pairs of shoes (out of the total of 2,728 pairs) donated by local schools have provided the largest collective donation to this important campaign. The response from schools this year has shown significant growth. Other schools participating in this year’s campaign include Dixon Elementary (MC), Bayside Academy (BC), and Spanish Fort Elementary (BC).