Quality of life is often a determining factor when considering spine surgery as an option. Over-the-counter and prescription medications may provide some relief for you, or you may find that you feel better for a day or two after physical therapy. Yet a time will come when you’ll have to ask yourself “How much am I really willing to give up?” in terms of the activities that matter most in your life. When you reach this point, it’s time to schedule a consultation with a Beverly Hills spine surgeon to evaluate your options.
While the number of spinal fusion surgeries performed annually more than doubled between 2001 and 2011, the current trend in the medical community is to save surgery as a last rWhen spinal instability or deformity is involved, it’s easy to make a case for spine surgery. For other situations, however, it’s a judgment call based on the severity of symptoms and the response to more conservative treatments. While each case is different, here are some general guidelines you can use to help determine if spine surgery is necessary.
For non-urgent situations like persistent lower back pain, the general recommendation is 4-6 weeks of conservative treatments before fusion surgery or motion-preserving spine surgery becomes a consideration. At that point, more imaging will be done to determine if there’s a specific cause for your lower back pain beyond the symptoms you’re reporting. Surgery becomes more of a necessity if:
• Disc or vertebra damage is involved • Pain becomes progressively worse • Pain is affected by movement(s)
Spine surgery often becomes a necessity when neurological complications exist. While medications can help to some extent, you’re not likely to experience substantial relief without surgery if nerves or nerve roots are affected. Spine conditions that may have neurological complications include:
• Disc herniation • Spinal stenosis • Kyphosis (curvature of the thoracic spine) • Sciatica (irritation of the sciatic nerve)
esort. When in doubt about a surgery recommendation, get second and third opinions, ask a lot of questions, and determine if you’ve considered every non-surgical option that may make your pain or discomfort manageable.
To learn more about your treatment options for back pain, including lumbar artificial disc replacement and spinal decompression surgery, call The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation with one of our experienced spine surgeons.