Spinal surgery is often a last resort after conservative treatments—which typically involve physical therapy, targeted exercise, and medication—have been attempted for several months without success. If surgery is now a viable option for you, you’ll be better prepared if you take some steps to reduce the risks associated with any type of spine-related surgical procedure—even a minimally invasive one such as extreme lateral interbody fusion. Santa Monica patients can use these five tips to achieve this goal.
You may be tempted to stick to your normal routine and hold off on seeing your doctor or a spine specialist, especially if you have work or other obligations. On the other hand, you might reduce your need for surgery or be a better candidate for a less risky, minimally invasive procedure if you seek treatment early and make appropriate lifestyle adjustments.
Excess weight can make many common spine-related problems worse by placing added pressure on spinal joints, bones, nerves, and discs. But if you make an effort to get closer to a healthy weight range, you may see a decrease in the severity of your symptoms. Related steps, such as making healthy changes in your eating habits, can be equally beneficial for your spine. Managing your weight can make spinal surgery less risky.
There’s no guarantee any treatment recommendations will be effective. That being said, if you only go through the motions of following conservative care suggestions, you’ll be more likely to end up in a position where surgery is discussed. Reduce this risk by fully committing to your initial treatment plan and making an effort to:
• Actively communicate with your physical therapist
• Provide honest feedback about your response to various treatments
• Ask about treatment modifications if you’re having difficulty sticking to what’s recommended
Rest is typically most effective within 24–48 hours of first experiencing spine-related pain. Too much rest beyond this point could make your symptoms worse by weakening spine-supporting muscles and placing more stress directly on your spine. But if your routine includes strength and conditioning exercises and similar active therapies, you’ll boost your odds of recovering enough to possibly avoid spinal surgery. Should this not be possible, active therapy post-surgery could also reduce your risk of experiencing future issues with your spine.
Lastly, you may be able to reduce risks associated with spinal surgery or eliminate the need for surgery altogether if you ask questions and educate yourself about your spine-related problem. One way to do this is to schedule an appointment with your doctor or spine specialist for this purpose. This will give you a chance to gather as much information as you can about what’s going on with your spine and explore various treatment options. By knowing more, you’ll be able to make well-informed decisions about what’s right for you going forward.
Patients who would like the advice of a trusted Santa Monica spine surgeon on how to minimize the risks associated with spine surgery should contact the spinal health experts at The Spine Institute. Our specialists can advise you on both conservative and surgical methods to ease your spinal pain and get you back to your normal level of activity. Call us today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.