Surgery for Back Pain: Try To Be Green About It

Reader Contribution by Seth Leitman
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Why Surgery is an Option When Needed

Nerves are coated by protein called myelin. When this myelin goes away, the nerve is unable to communicate with the brain. A procedure called cryoablation actually works by destroying the myelin coating. While the procedure is not permanent since the nerves eventually rebuild the myelin, it does provide patients with relief.


Bottom line, fibromyalgia is complex chronic pain condition that affects 10 million people and 90% of those diagnosed are women. The condition is often misunderstood and one in three people have never heard of fibromyalgia or do not consider it a disease.

The soft tissue pain of fibromyalgia is often described as a deep aching, gnawing, shooting or burning sensation that often ranges from mild to severe.  So what can anyone do to relieve these pain symptoms to get on with the basic daily activities in their life besides medical creams?

Mahir Reiss Procedure

Mahir Reiss is a physical therapist in San Diego, California, who regularly helps his clients ease their chronic pain. He is issuing comment on a new surgical procedure called cryoablation, which carefully freezes nerves in order to offer relief from chronic pain. Chronic nerve pain that disrupts daily living is a fairly common issue. A 2008 National Institute of Health manuscript explains that the situation impacts roughly 50 percent of those who have undergone chest operations. This is because surgeons can accidentally touch sensitive areas, thus causing the nerves to misfire and send pain signals to the brain. Once that connection from the nerve to the brain is built, it is permanent. David Hanscom, an orthopedic surgeon at Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle explains that diseases, physical injuries, and inflammation can also stem from this situation.

Dr. William Moore, a radiologist at Stony Brook University Hospital, specializes in the technique, which relies on frozen needles in order to numb the nerves that lead to chronic pain. Each day he performs multiple cryoablations. He states, “This particular technique has really worked very well because we’re going to the root of the nerve where it’s coming out of the spine.”

When therapy, organic creams or medicines fail to ease the pain, doctors now have the option of simply freezing the problematic nerve. Robert Suh, a radiologist at the Ronald Reagan University of California Los Angeles Medical Center, explains, “In some cases, chronic pain can be incapacitating. It can be debilitating.”

Mahir Reiss comments on this stating, “The news of this innovative new procedure is certainly uplifting. For many patients, chronic pain truly impacts their ability to lead a positive and full life. Any time that medical providers can offer a solution to this situation, it’s a positive step for the entire medical community, as well as chronic pain sufferers.

However, talks then about the healing process.

Rodale Institute Makes the Healing Green

Hospital patients who share a room with a live plant may need fewer painkillers. A bedside plant may also lower the blood pressure and improve the overall mood of a patient, according to a study published this month in the journal HorTechnology.


Researchers observed ninety patients who had had their appendixes removed and recovered in identical hospital rooms, some of them with potted plants. Both groups were on the same floor of a Korean hospital and had views of the sky, but no outdoor trees or plants were visible. Flowering and foliage plants included dendrobium, peace lily, golden pothos, kentia palm, arrowhead vine, cretan brake fern, variegated vinca, and yellow-star jasmine. The biggest reduction in stronger painkiller use came on the third day after surgery, when just 4% of patients in rooms with plants used moderate painkillers, compared to nearly 20 percent in the no-plant group. Researchers also found that patients with plants used less medication, had lower blood pressures and heart rates, felt less pain, anxiety and fatigue, and reported feeling more positive and satisfied with their rooms. While offering a more pleasant experience, the plants didn’t seem to help patients leave the hospital any sooner — both groups averaged about five days in the hospital following surgery.

Sources: Mahir Reiss, Rodale Institute, Article

Hey!  My name is Seth Leitman (The Green Living Guy). I have Sustainability and Eco Consulting Services and Green Living Guy Productions!  Plus, I host a radio show on Blog Talk Radio

I’ve authored and/or edited Nine Books with McGraw-Hill Professional on the Green Guru Guide series.

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