According to some estimates, medical experts have been making an effort to treat spine-related conditions as far back as 1550 B.C. Today, spine surgery is much more reliable and often performed with less-invasive techniques that reduce risks and recovery times. Even so, there are many factors to consider when deciding if surgery is right for your situation. As you weigh your options to determine if spine surgery is worth it, ask yourself the following questions.
In most cases, the first attempts at treating spine-related pain will be various conservative treatments. However, if you’re not experiencing meaningful relief after about two months, it may be time to discuss surgical options with a Beverly Hills spine surgeon. Common non-surgical remedies include:
• Medication • Therapeutic exercises • Massage therapy • Hot and cold therapy
“Quality of life” means something different to each person with spine pain. For athletes, it might mean being able to play sports again at a competitive level. Other individuals may be hoping to sleep through the night without being woken up by pain or get back to favorite activities like riding a bike or playing in the backyard with their kids. If the way you define quality of life is being seriously affected even after trying other treatments, spine surgery may be worth considering.
Some conditions that affect the spine tend to become progressively worse. With spinal stenosis, for instance, age-related changes may increase nerve irritation. If it’s clear your condition will likely produce increasingly disruptive symptoms over time, proactively having surgery may protect your spine from further damage. Preemptive spine surgery may also result in:
• Preservation of more function and mobility • A better response to post-surgery physical therapy • Less reliance on medication
In many instances, spine surgery isn’t immediately necessary, but this isn’t always the case. Severe conditions, like pain related to a spinal tumor, often require surgical intervention sooner rather than later. Even with benign (noncancerous) tumors, surgery may be the best option if the growth is compressing nerves or causing debilitating pain. Spine surgery may also be the best option when:
• Symptoms are potentially life-threatening (e.g. loss of bladder control) • The spine is unstable in one or more areas • Other structures or parts of the body are at risk because of issues with the spine
Cost is an understandable concern when considering spinal surgery. Many spine specialists and clinics have financing options and payment plans available that could make your procedure more affordable. However, cost shouldn’t be your main deciding factor, especially if quality of life is seriously affected. If you wish to put off or avoid spine surgery, talk to your doctor to determine if you might benefit from electrotherapy, injections, chiropractic adjustments, or other treatments you may not have explored yet.
If you want to explore surgical options for your consistent spine pain, reach out to The Spine Institute. Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of experienced surgeons can help you determine if you require a procedure such as transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion or extreme lateral interbody fusion. Beverly Hills patients can rely on Dr. Bae to help them find relief. Call 310-828-7757 to schedule an in-person evaluation today.