Back pain is the most common type of chronic pain in the US. Almost everyone has had it at some point in their lives and it usually gets better with time if you modify your activities or use conservative treatments such as rest, pain medications, ice, heat, injections, or physical therapy. But when is the right time to have spine surgery?
Spine surgery is only recommended if you have been diagnosed with a serious spinal condition and conservative treatments have failed to alleviate your symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to an orthopedic spine surgeon to discuss the possibility of undergoing spine surgery in case of the following conditions:
- Significant spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
- Bone spurs probably due to arthritis that are pressing against your spinal cord
- A herniated disc that is causing worsening symptoms
- Dislocation or fracture of the bones in your spine
- Weakness or numbness in your extremities
- Trouble walking due to problems in the lumbar spine
- Clumsiness of the hands due to problems in the cervical spine
- Loss of bowel or bladder function
- Back pain with high fever, which could be a sign of a spinal infection
- Tumor of the spinal cord
Even if degenerative changes in the spine or structural abnormalities are noted on X-rays or MRI studies, your surgeon may sometimes recommend using non-surgical methods such as physical therapy for up to 6 weeks before suggesting surgery. But if you have severe pain or other serious neurological symptoms like foot drop, spine surgery should be performed without delay to maximize the likelihood of a positive surgical outcome.
Dr. PayamMoazzaz specializes in advanced minimally invasive spine surgery that allows patients to heal quickly after surgery and return sooner to their active lifestyles. Please call (760) 904 5444 to book your appointment.