Low back pain is very common, but no two patients are exactly alike. So when a patient visits Dr. Harrod at The Spine Center, his goal is always for them to leave his office understanding what’s causing their pain and what the treatment options involve.
“My patient care philosophy is one patient at a time,” Dr. Harrod says. “In the stress of our daily lives, whether we’re doctors or patients, we are all very busy. When I walk through the door, my thought is that I want the patient to truly understand what’s wrong with them.”
Dr. Harrod takes the time to listen carefully to patients about their unique challenges. He reviews what may be abnormal during an exam showing X-rays, MRI results or other imaging so they can clearly see what’s going on. Then, he strives to explain treatment options in language they can understand. We want to empower patients with knowledge and understanding, allowing them to actively participate in their healthcare and decision making,” Dr. Harrod says. OW
If a patient is a good fit for specialized treatment, they can trust Dr. Harrod’s expertise in laser spine surgery, robotic minimally invasive spine surgery, endoscopic procedures, and robotic spine surgery. Dr. Harrod graduated first in his medical school class, has served as an anatomy instructor at Harvard Medical School, and contributes regularly to scholarly journals on spinal topics and general orthopedics.
Of the treatments he specializes in, kyphoplasty is a common non-surgical spine procedure for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the main cause of vertebral compression fractures, and oftentimes the disease is not diagnosed until a person has a fracture. After anti-inflammatory medications, limiting activity, and wearing a brace for four-to-six weeks to allow time for healing, Dr. Harrod may recommend a kyphoplasty. The procedure, where a special cement is injected into a patient’s vertebrae to repair small breaks in the bone, is considered a minimally invasive procedure and is performed in the office without general anesthesia. After a 24 to 48-hour recovery, the patient can usually return to normal activity.
Dr. Harrod’s office also recently concluded a research trial using stem cells to treat qualitative issues with the intervertebral discs, which provide cushioning between vertebrae and absorb pressure put on the spine. While some patients try to live with the pain, taking over the counter medicines, going to physical therapy or exercising and stretching at home, in some cases, injections or, as a last resort, surgery may be recommended to provide some relief for
certain low back conditions. Stem cells have been able to fill in the gap in the middle, Dr. Harrod says. While they are still experimental or investigative, they are an option for patients when a research trial is open. “Its scientific support is growing and emerging as a very reasonable non-surgical treatment alternative for certain patients’ low back pain,” Dr. Harrod says.