If you have been suffering with consistent back pain, you may be considering surgery. But how do you know if spine surgery is your next step?
There are several steps in treating back pain, and surgery is almost always the last one. Most back pain will resolve with conservative treatments. Conservative treatments involve the use of pain medications and other methods to reduce inflammation and restore normal function.
Self-care methods: Rest, ice/heat therapy, and exercise in conjunction with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) can often alleviate back pain. If pain and inflammation persist over 72 hours, then your next step is to consult your physician.
Conservative, non-invasive treatments: If self-care methods have failed to relieve the pain, then there are several options for non-invasive techniques that can be considered. We will walk through these options with you and help you determine which would be most beneficial for your circumstances and goals. These therapies may include spinal manipulation, medications, nerve blocks, or injections.
Spinal surgery: For patients who have tried conservative treatments and are still suffering from back pain, then surgery may be your next step. Surgery is most often indicated when serious neurological problems are present. These include weakness or numbness in your legs or arms, balance difficulty, and bowel/bladder issues. These symptoms must be addressed to avoid long-term nerve damage. Other serious spinal conditions or injuries such as stenosis, bone spurs, dislocation, or fracture may warrant surgery.
Most back pain will improve with self-care or conservative treatments. Surgery is almost always the last step. However, for the right diagnosis and when done appropriately, surgery does work. We are always working to further the advancement of minimally invasive spinal procedures for our patients. It can be life changing for those whose next step is surgery. There are several steps in treating back pain, and surgery is almost always the last one. Most back pain will resolve with conservative treatments. Conservative treatments involve the use of pain medications and other methods to reduce inflammation and restore normal function.
Dr. Brett Braly is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. Dr. Braly is a leading advocate for minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery. Dr. Braly is named in the top “20 under 40” best spine surgeons by the North American Spine Society.