Electromyogram (EMG), also called electromyography, is a test that investigates the health status of muscles and the nerves controlling those muscles. A thin electrode is inserted through the skin and into the muscle. The electrode detects the electrical activity of the muscle as they react to nerve stimulation. The results are displayed on a monitor. EMGs are often performed on patients that show symptoms, including weakness, pain, or abnormal sensation. EMGs also help to differentiate between a lack of muscle response to nerve stimulation and nervous system diseases.
Endorphins bind to protein receptors in the brain and spinal cord which produces a pain-relieving (analgesic) effect. Research shows patients with chronic pain often have lower-than-normal levels of endorphins. Some back pain treatments include electrical stimulation that causes the release of endorphins. Some studies have also shown that acupuncture stimulates a release of endorphins. Aerobic exercise, such as running, also raises the levels of endorphins.
An endoscope is a surgical device shaped like a tube and with a light attached. It is used to observe the internal parts of a body cavity or organ in the body. Any surgery that requires the use of an endoscope is called endoscopy. The tube is inserted through a natural opening or a one-inch incision. There are different types of endoscopy named according to the area of the body on which the procedure is done. Back surgeons use endoscopes during minimally invasive spine fusion surgery techniques. Other types of endoscopy include anoscopy, colonoscopy, enteroscopy, sigmoidoscopy, upper endoscopy, bronchoscopy, cystoscopy, laparoscopy, and arthroscopy.
The epidural space is located in-between the outermost covering of the spine (the Dura) and the bones of spine. During certain procedures to treat back pain, epidural steroid injections to the epidural space are given to numb the pain. However, epidural injections should only be used when back pain is associated with nerves and not when back pain is present alone.
Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural steroid injections are used to numb the pain during certain procedures such as those used to treat back pain and inflammation associated with back or neck pain. The needle is inserted in-between the bones of the vertebrae and lowered into the epidural space using fluoroscopic imaging guidance (x-ray) or computed tomography (CT). Steroid injections are sometimes a preferred option to local anesthetics because they reduce the amount of swelling due to their anti-inflammatory action.
Erector spinae are a group of muscles that extend all the way up from the sacrum to the skull. They are found on both sides of the vertebral column and the vertebrae. The erector spinae muscles mainly function to keep the spine straight and maintain an upright posture.