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Dr. Michael Rimlawi Discusses: Why Choose the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute?

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Minimally Invasive Spine Institute BuildingBy: Dr. Michael Rimlawi, Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained spine surgeon and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints among both men and women in the U.S. In fact, as many as two-thirds of adults in the U.S. experience back pain – but nearly 4 out of 10 of those people won’t seek medical treatment for their pain, primarily because they aren’t aware of the non surgical options that are available to them or they mistakenly believe that treatment involves a lot of pain or a long period of recovery.

In the past, many treatment options – specifically surgical options – used to involve long periods of hospitalization and recovery, as well as large incisions and scars. But the fact is, today’s minimally-invasive surgical techniques have changed that, and most people can experience significant relief from their symptoms without long periods of recovery and without significant post-op discomfort.

Feel Better Faster

Minimally-invasive spine surgery uses very small incisions – often just an inch in length – while utilizing special instruments to perform a wide array of spine-related procedures, helping patients get the relief they need without the tissue damage, discomfort, blood loss and potential complications associated with traditional open spine surgery. Most minimally-invasive surgeries can be performed on an outpatient basis, which means patients can return home the same day they have their procedure. And often, those patients are able to return to their jobs within a few days or weeks– not the months required following traditional spine surgery.

Although minimally-invasive surgery has become much more common during the past decade or so, not every medical facility offers these state-of-the-art tools. The key to excellent results is to select a surgeon and facility that offer both advanced treatment options and a skilled, dedicated staff with experience in minimally invasive spine surgery.

Team Approach

I founded the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute to provide patients a full spectrum of treatment options for back and neck pain and related symptoms, from bulging discs and nerve impingement to scoliosis, spinal stenosis and spondylosis. We focus exclusively on the spine and its disorders and diseases so our team of spine surgeons, pain management physicians, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, imaging specialists and patient care coordinators are highly skilled and have decades of experience with treating the spine. Plus, having an on-site team makes it easier for each member of our staff to consult and communicate, which means you can expect coordinated care aimed at helping you achieve optimal results at every step of your treatment journey.

We have helped over 30,000 patients with treatment plans customized to meet each of their needs. If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain, don’t put off getting medical attention. Call the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute at 855-466-6741 and schedule an evaluation today.


Dr. Michael RimlawiMichael Rimlawi

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon, Board Certified, Fellowship-Trained

Spine Surgeon Dr. Michael Rimlawi is director and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute. Dr. Rimlawi is a board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeon who completed unique training in both orthopedic-spine and neurosurgery-spine at the renowned University of California San Diego. Dr. Rimlawi treats all aspects of spinal disease including degenerative and traumatic conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. More than just a back doctor, he is a leader in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery and a pioneer in endoscopic laser spine surgery.

Pain Mapping

Dr. Michael Rimlawi Discusses: Pain Mapping Offers Optimal Pain Management

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By: Dr. Michael Rimlawi, Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained spine surgeon and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

Some types of pain are easy to diagnose: You stub your toe or you get a paper cut on your fingertip, and you know exactly what’s causing the pain and how to treat it. But sometimes the source of pain is less obvious, especially if an injury causes what’s known as referred pain – pain that’s felt in an area away from the injury site. Referred pain typically is associated with nerve impingements like slipped or herniated discs in the neck or back. These injuries can press on nerves as they exit the spine, causing pain anywhere along the nerve pathway and making it more difficult to determine the exact source of pain. For instance, chronic arm pain may actually emanate from an injury in the neck; leg pain might be caused by a disc herniation or nerve impingement in the lower back.

Other times, referred pain symptoms can be associated with trigger points, local areas of tenderness that often form in the upper back, neck or shoulders. These areas of “knotted” muscle fibers can cause chronic headaches along with persistent pain in the arms, back or neck.

Pain Mapping: The Key to Accurate Diagnosis

Obviously, treating pain effectively depends on knowing the source of the pain. But with referred pain, identifying the source can be problematic, even with the use of diagnostic imaging like X-rays or CT scans. The good news: Pain mapping can be extremely effective in pinpointing discrete causes of pain that otherwise may be missed during a traditional diagnosis.

The Minimally Invasive Spine Institute’s pain mapping uses a series of special techniques to “zero in” on the sources of pain so treatment can be optimized for the patient’s specific needs. During the mapping process, the doctor injects pain-relieving medications at different locations depending on the patient’s symptoms and their medical history. Based on the effects of each injection – specifically, whether or not the injection provides a temporary relief of pain – the doctor will be able to identify the original source of painful symptoms so a treatment plan can be “mapped out.” Before the procedure, the injection sites are numbed with local anesthetics and light sedation is administered to ensure the patient remains relaxed and comfortable.

Pain Mapping for Optimal Pain Management

Because it’s a highly specialized technique, pain mapping should only be performed by a trained pain specialist. At the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, we rely on the most advanced pain mapping techniques using state-of-the-art tools for accurate diagnoses of most types of chronic pain, including pain emanating from the spinal nerves. If you have chronic pain, pain mapping can provide critical insight into the underlying cause so you can enjoy more targeted therapy and faster, more meaningful relief of your symptoms.

To learn more about pain mapping or to have your chronic pain issues evaluated, visit https://www.mispinerelief.com/ or call the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute at 855-466-6741 and schedule a consultation today.


Michael Rimlawi

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon, Board Certified, Fellowship-Trained

Spine Surgeon Dr. Michael Rimlawi is director and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute’s team. Dr. Rimlawi is a board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeon who completed unique training in both orthopedic-spine and neurosurgery-spine at the renowned University of California San Diego. Dr. Michael Rimlawi treats all aspects of spinal disease including degenerative and traumatic conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. More than just a back doctor, he is a leader in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery and a pioneer in endoscopic laser spine surgery.

Best Sleeping Positions for People with Back Pain

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By: Dr. Michael Rimlawi, Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained spine surgeon and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

Sleep is meant to be peaceful and rejuvenating, but what happens when back pain prevents this? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “Adults should sleep seven or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health. Getting less than seven hours of nightly sleep increases your risk of several adverse health outcomes.”

The addition of an extra pillow paired with various doctor-recommended sleep positions can help alleviate lower back pain. To help those suffering from back pain, we have mapped out a few tips to obtain a restful night’s sleep.

  1. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees

    Side sleepers

    Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo

    This position isn’t the key to relief, but the added pillow is. By tucking a pillow between your legs, the spine, hips and pelvis are in better alignment.

  1. Sleep on your stomach with a pillow under your lower stomach

    Adding a pillow under the stomach can take pressure off the space between your discs.

  1. Invest in a good memory foam pillow

    Many people research and research their bed but pay little attention to their pillow. Memory foam pillows molds itself around the curve of your head keeping every small bone carefully aligned.

  1. Sleep flat on your back with a pillow under your knees

    According to Health.com, this position takes stress off your pressure points and allows for better alignment of your spine and internal organs.

  1. When traveling, use a seat sleeper pillow

    Sleeping with a neck pillow

    Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo

    Travel pillows come in all shapes and sizes. Supporting your head and neck while seat sleeping is important. Check out Travel +Leisure’s 14 Best Travel Pillows for Every Type of Seat Sleeper to help find a pillow that will  keep the head from being pushed forward when you are sitting.

While sleep positions alone won’t solve back pain, making small adjustments to your sleeping style can make a big difference.

Healthy Sleep Duration

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine


Dr. Michael RimlawiMichael Rimlawi

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon, Board Certified, Fellowship-Trained

Spine Surgeon Dr. Michael Rimlawi is director and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute’s team. Dr. Rimlawi is a board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeon who completed unique training in both orthopedic-spine and neurosurgery-spine at the renowned University of California San Diego. Dr. Michael Rimlawi treats all aspects of spinal disease including degenerative and traumatic conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. More than just a back doctor, he is a leader in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery and a pioneer in endoscopic laser spine surgery.

Man using phone

Back pain? There’s an app for that.

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By: Dr. Michael Rimlawi, Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained spine surgeon and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

According to one of the leading statistics companies, Statista, as of March 2017, there were 2.8 million apps to choose from on Android and 2.2 million apps on the Apple App Store. There is pretty much an app for almost everything, including apps that help you manage back pain.

  1. My Pain Diary offers users a chronic pain and symptom tracker so they can better understand their pain and its patterns. With the app you can do the following:
  • Keep an accurate record of your condition for your doctor.
  • Learn how much you are affected by humidity, barometric pressure, temperature, precipitation and more.
  • Identify triggers, remedies, patterns and trends.
  • Email or print a report for you and your doctors.
  • Track your complex medical condition multiple times a day.
  • Track your simple pain condition as it occurs.Created by a chronic patient after being diagnosed with RSD/CRPS, My Pain Diary strikes the perfect balance between utility and ease-of-use. It is available for purchase in the App Store and Google Play for $4.99.
  1. The #1 Rated Yoga AppDown Dog: Great Yoga Anywhere brings yoga to you! Rated the number one yoga app by The Wall Street Journal, this is a fantastic tool to have in your possession in the fight against chronic lower back pain. With the app you can do the following:
  • Provides a home yoga workout to help relieve back pain.
  • Provides the closest thing to the actual experience of taking a yoga class in a studio.
  • New vinyasa flow sequences every time you log in. You’ll never see the same one twice.
  • 3 sequence types to choose from (full practice, on your feet, and restorative).
  • 4 levels (beginner 1, beginner 2, intermediate, and advanced).
  • Set practice time for between 15-80 minutes.
  • Clear demonstrations of all the poses with easy to follow instructions.
  • This music is tailored to your workout and constantly updated. You’ll never hear the same order twice.
    The app is free to use (with an optional upgrade to a membership of $3.99 per month) and is available for download in the App Store.
  1. The Backache app reminds users to get up and walk around to relieve the back after sitting for long periods of time. With the app you can do the following:
  • Backache app will send you regular notifications when to take a micro break throughout the day.
  • Simply follow the physiotherapist as he shows you which of the 31 exercises to perform.
  • The micro breaks can be performed anywhere as no special equipment is needed.
  • Set up your own schedule to suit your requirements.
  • Backache app includes 31 exercises that target all areas of the body including back, neck, legs, chest, feet, arms and hands.

With so many options, there’s an app for everyone. Some may help you identify issues to discuss with your doctor since back pain can result from a variety of things. However, if you are experiencing severe back pain, consult a doctor immediately.

The most important word of advice I have is don’t try and play Dr. Google and don’t rely on apps or the internet to self-diagnose your pain. If you are experiencing back pain, see a Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained spine specialist. These apps are not in any way an endorsement or recommendation.


Michael Rimlawi

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon, Board Certified, Fellowship-Trained

Spine Surgeon Dr. Michael Rimlawi is director and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute’s team. Dr. Rimlawi is a board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeon who completed unique training in both orthopedic-spine and neurosurgery-spine at the renowned University of California San Diego. Dr. Michael Rimlawi treats all aspects of spinal disease including degenerative and traumatic conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. More than just a back doctor, he is a leader in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery and a pioneer in endoscopic laser spine surgery.

Ryan Shazier Injury

Spinal Injuries in Football

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A Closer Look at Ryan Shazier’s Injury

By: Dr. Michael Rimlawi, Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained spine surgeon and founder of Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

Concussions and football are (and will continue to be) hot topics – especially in youth football. However, it’s important to note the other risks associated with the sport. Take for example the Pittsburgh’s linebacker Ryan Shazier who made a head-first tackle in Monday’s game against Cincinnati. Shazier was taken off the field, seemingly unable to move his legs at the time.

On Dec. 7, a press announcement was issued, “Last night, UPMC neurosurgeons and Pittsburgh Steelers team physicians Drs. David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon performed spinal stabilization surgery on Ryan Shazier to address his spinal injury.”

While the exact type and extent of the injury and subsequent procedure has not been made public, from the video it appears as if Shazier hyper-extended his back. As noted by the grabbing motion to his back immediately after the hit, he may have also fractured, broken or possibly dislocated one or more bones in his lumbar spine. The injury likely centered in his lumbar spine region because he was seen moving his upper extremities immediately after the injury. If the injury extended to his cervical (neck) region, he likely wouldn’t be able to move either his arms or his legs.

When this type of injury occurs, the key concern is the stabilization of the patient’s spine. In cases where the spine is broken and unstable, even the slightest movement can cause the spine to shift, putting pressure on the spinal cord. Pressure on the spinal cord increases the risk of permanent paralysis.

One way to stabilize a spinal break is to fuse the spine together using instrumentation (also known as spinal screws and titanium rods). In laymen’s terms, let’s assume L2 is the injured area, the surgeon will fuse L1 to L3 with screws and rods to hold it in place, creating spinal stabilization. Prior to the fusion, the surgeon will examine the spinal cord for loose bone fragments that could be pressing on spinal cord nerves and remove them. This procedure is called decompression.

Will Shazier recover fully? No one can know the answer right now. His recovery is dependent upon the size and severity of the bone or tissue damage that may have impacted his spinal cord.

It is important to note that not all spinal fractures require spinal stabilization surgery. Various non-surgical treatments are available, depending on the type of spinal fracture. For less serious spinal fractures, non-surgical treatments can include bracing, pain management, physical therapy, medication therapy, activity modification and rest.

If you would like to learn more about minimally invasive spinal procedures to treat spinal fractures, contact us today.


Michael Rimlawi

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon, Board Certified, Fellowship-Trained

Spine Surgeon Dr. Michael Rimlawi is director and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute’s team. Dr. Rimlawi is a board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeon who completed unique training in both orthopedic-spine and neurosurgery-spine at the renowned University of California San Diego. Dr. Michael Rimlawi treats all aspects of spinal disease including degenerative and traumatic conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. More than just a back doctor, he is a leader in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery and a pioneer in endoscopic laser spine surgery.

Back Pain Myth Busters

Back Pain Myths

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Common Myths About Back Pain

By: Dr. Michael Rimlawi, Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained spine surgeon and founder of Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

Back pain is bad enough, and myths about the issue can make it worse. Roughly 8 out of 10 people in America will experience back pain at some point in their life, and being able to separate fact from fiction can be important in dealing with it and knowing when to take it easy for a while or when to get help from a spine specialist.

Back Pain MythsMyth 1 – Rest heals back pain

While rest is important and recommended for back pain, it is not always the key to a healthy recovery. Some instances require more extensive recovery methods, and rest can actually be harmful to recovery. When experiencing severe or prolonged back pain, you should always consult a doctor.

Myth 2 – Sitting up straight can prevent back pain

Back Pain and PostureWhile slouching is bad for the back, sitting up straight for too long can strain the back. Lean back in your chair occasionally to create a curve in your back, and walk around during the day as much as possible. If you sit at a desk for long periods of time, chairs that allow you to place your weight on you legs and knees can help remove pressure from your spine. Below is a video of a few key preventative stretches from the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute that you can easily do at the office to help avoid back or neck strain.

Back StretchesMyth 3 – I’m active, so I won’t have back pain when I’m older

Active Back PainAnyone can experience back pain, regardless of their lifestyle. Being active can decrease the likelihood of back pain, but no one is immune from pain regardless of their lifestyle. Excessive weight gain can increase or lead to back pain so maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise will help ensure a healthier spine.  However, excessive or improper exercise can put extra stress on our spine.  Using proper form and techniques when exercising can help protect you from injury.

Myth 4 – My spine is fragile, so I need to take it easy to avoid hurting my back

The spine is surrounded by muscles and tendons, which give it strength and flexibility. A spine without fractures is strong, and activities like walking or aerobics can strengthen it even more.  If your doctors instructs you to avoid specific activities, it is important to follow his or her instructions.

Myth 5 – Since I have back pain, I must have torn something

Back Pain from TearPain does not always equate to damage. Sensitivity from overuse can often cause pain in the back area. However, if you are experiencing intense or chronic pain, contact a spine specialist immediately.

Myth 6 – The only way I can fix my back pain is with surgery

Many of our patients at The Minimally Invasive Spine Institute don’t need surgery to relieve their pain. Through innovative pain procedures, non-surgical therapy, and rehabilitation — pain relief is possible with no incision at all.

At the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute our goal is helping patients find relief. In many cases, that means assisting them in determining the exact cause of their pain through testing and diagnostic imaging so we can accurately treat the source of their pain.  Pinpointing the cause of their pain can often allow us to avoid unnecessary procedures or large surgeries.

When I opened the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, my goal was to build a patient centric center that incorporates a team of patient care advocates, therapists, chiropractors, pain management specialists, radiologists and fellowship-trained spine specialists to work as a team to help care for our patients. No patient is ever treated the same because each patient has their own specific conditions and symptoms. Each patient’s pain is unique to them. Each one of our patients has had a customized treatment plan specific to their condition, symptoms and needs.

If you are suffering through pain and chronic symptoms contact us today to speak with one of our compassionate patient care coordinators and learn more about our effective treatment process.


Dr. Michael RimlawiMichael Rimlawi

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon, Board Certified, Fellowship-Trained

Spine Surgeon Dr. Michael Rimlawi is director and founder of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute’s team. Dr. Rimlawi is a board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeon who completed unique training in both orthopedic-spine and neurosurgery-spine at the renowned University of California San Diego. Dr. Michael Rimlawi treats all aspects of spinal disease including degenerative and traumatic conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. More than just a back doctor, he is a leader in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery and a pioneer in endoscopic laser spine surgery.