A brain tumor is a collection, or mass, of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain. Your skull, which encloses and protects your brain, is very rigid. Any growth inside such a restricted space can cause problems. Brain tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous. MRI’s, CT scans, PET scans and biopsies are common tests used to diagnose brain tumors and help decide the best treatment. Treatment for a brain tumor depends on the type, size and location of the tumor.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel, a narrow canal in the wrist that allows the tendons and the median nerve to pass from the forearm to the hand. This results in pain and/or weakness in the hand. Nerve conduction studies (EMGs), where small needles are inserted into the muscles of the arm are used to diagnose carpal tunnel and determine the severity of the nerve inflammation. Standard treatment options typically include splinting, medication, occupational therapy, changes to the workplace environment and surgery.
Cervical Disc Herniation
A cervical disc herniation occurs when a portion of the cushion (disc) that sits between two bones in your spine has moved and is irritating a nerve or compressing the spinal cord. Pressure on the nerves in your neck can cause arm, shoulder, and/or hand symptoms. In some cases, weakness of the arms, hands or legs can occur.
The four standard treatment options to consider include medication, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections and surgery. We always recommend that you pursue the most conservative route of care first. Surgery is only recommended for those patients who present with concerning weakness or other neurological symptoms, or have exhausted all other options.
Myelopathy is an injury to the spinal cord due to severe compression that may result from trauma, stenosis, degenerative disease or disc herniation. The spinal cord is the central highway of nerves inside the center of the spine that runs from the neck to the top of the lumbar spine. When any portion of the spinal cord becomes compressed or constricted, the resulting symptoms are known as myelopathy.
Symptoms may include numbness of the hands or legs, difficulty with fine motor skills such as writing or buttoning a shirt, unsteadiness or difficulty walking and loss of urinary or bowel control. The exact symptoms will depend on the location of the compression in the spinal cord. Spinal decompression surgery is a common treatment for myelopathy to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.
Cervical and Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar stenosis occurs when the spinal canal in the lower back narrows, thereby squeezing and irritating the nerve roots along this area. This condition most often arises through the change in size and shape of the spinal canal as people age. Symptoms such as back and leg pain as well as numbness and weakness of the legs are common in patients with lumbar stenosis. Standing or walking causes increased discomfort because the spinal cord naturally expands as we move around. Sitting down or leaning over objects such as shopping carts or a walker typically alleviate the symptoms.
The four standard treatment options include medication, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections and surgery. Surgery is often advised for those patients who present with progressive difficulty walking or other neurological symptoms, or have exhausted all other options.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) describes the natural breakdown of the discs or cushions between the bones of the spine. Disc degeneration is often the effect of natural daily stresses and minor injuries that cause spinal discs to gradually lose their water content and strength. As discs weaken and lose water, they begin to collapse and allow the adjacent bones to rub on the disc. This rubbing, or “micro-motion”, is painful and causes nerves to become irritated and inflamed.
While not always symptomatic, DDD can cause acute or chronic low back or neck pain as well as nerve pain depending on the location of the affected disc and the amount of pressure it places on the surrounding nerve roots. Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common sources of back and neck pain.
Often, degenerative disc disease can be successfully treated without surgery. One or a combination of treatments such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications or epidural steroid injections often provide adequate relief of symptoms.
Surgery may be recommended if the conservative treatment options do not provide relief. If leg or back pain limits normal activity, if there is weakness or numbness in the legs, if it is difficult to walk or stand, or if medication or physical therapy are ineffective, surgery may be recommended, most often spinal fusion.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a watery fluid that normally flows through and bathes the brain and spinal column. Hydrocephalus is an abnormal buildup of CSF in the ventricles (deep cavities) of the brain. The excess fluid increases the size of the ventricles and puts pressure on the brain. The pressure of too much cerebrospinal fluid associated with hydrocephalus can damage brain tissues. Hydrocephalus can happen at any age, but it occurs more frequently among infants and adults 60 and over. Surgical treatment for hydrocephalus can restore and maintain normal cerebrospinal fluid levels in the brain.
Lumbar Disc Herniation
A disc herniation occurs when a portion of the cushion that sits between two bones in your spine has moved and is causing pressure on a nerve. The nerve becomes irritated and inflamed. Since your nerves run from your back to your leg, inflammation of the nerves in your back can cause leg pain, also known as sciatica.
The four standard options to consider include medication, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections and surgery. Surgery is often advised for those patients present with concerning weakness or other neurological symptoms, or have exhausted all other options.
Ulnar neuropathy (also known as cubital tunnel syndrome) is inflammation or compression of the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve runs through the elbow. Compression of the nerve can result in paresthesias (numbness, tingling and pain) in the outer side of the arm and hand near the little finger. Nerve conduction studies (EMGs), where small needles are inserted into the muscles of the arm are used to diagnose ulnar neuropathy and determine the severity of the nerve inflammation. Treatment such as night time splinting, avoiding repetitive flexion of the elbow, oral anti inflammatory medications and physical therapy are typically recommended. If severe symptoms persist or there is weakness of the hand, surgery may be indicated.