Have you considered undergoing spinal surgery? It’s hard to know if surgery is ever the right option, but especially on your spine, as it is said to be a difficult experience. Read the article below for more information and see what advancements Prairie Spine has made to ensure an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for you. If you have any questions or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 309-691-7774.
Q: When is spinal surgery the right option to relieve pain?
A: For many people, the prospect of deciding whether to have spinal surgery is a difficult experience. It’s our job to ease these worries through information. We strive to give patients a clear understanding of the problem, the potential solution through surgery, and reasonable expectations regarding their recovery and long-term outcome.
Surgery is very rarely used to treat neck or back pain unless it is accompanied by weakness or pain radiating to the limbs. (There are exceptions, such as people with fractures that compromise the stability of the spinal column, infections, and severe scoliotic curves.) Spinal surgery is generally designed to treat people who have compression of their nerves or spinal cord that can result in pain, numbness, or weakness radiating down their arms or legs.
The most common reason for spinal surgery is to treat degenerative conditions such as arthritis. The intervertebral disc serves as the cushion between the bones in the spine, and as we age the disc dries out and loses its shock-absorbing capability. When this occurs, the disc collapses, which can compress the nerves and cause shooting pains in the arms and/or legs.
Surgery is an extremely effective intervention for compression of the nerves or spinal cord. The minimally invasive procedure removes pressure from the nerves, and when fusion is required, it also stabilizes the bones.
Physical therapy before surgery is often very important to achieving the best outcome. Even before surgery, nutrition is critical to optimizing recovery. Think of it this way: You can’t drive a car without gas. Patients who follow a healthy diet have significantly lower rates of complications such as wound injections. Protein is required as the building block for skin, muscle, and bones to heal.
To determine whether surgery is necessary, the first thing to do is to look at a patient’s medical history and talk about the problems the person is experiencing. An exam and imaging findings can also help to decide whether surgery is a reasonable option.
Don’t let fear guide your decision to have surgery; let your doctor explain the procedure to you in detail, so you are empowered to make the best decision for how to treat your pain.