Patients who are suffering with chronic back issues often question whether back surgery is one that should be considered. On average, most Phoenix pain management doctors and spine surgeons will tell you that the last option will be surgery when you have back pain after a course of non-operative treatments.
When should I see a surgeon for back pain?
You should consider seeing a surgeon if you are still experiencing a high level of pain, restless nights, or the inability to perform daily activities with nonsurgical treatment and after exploring traditional surgery alternatives such as medication intervention, physical therapies, nerve block injections, and chiropractic manipulation.
Over 90% of those with chronic back pain are able to achieve a successful level of baseline pain without surgery. Since most back surgery is elective, it makes sense to exhaust all efforts.
For many types of pain, a minimal invasive procedure may offer an option to obtain quick relief. For more advanced or complicated types of pain, surgical intervention can be more extensive. It is advisable to pursue conservative options before a complex surgery.
When is back surgery needed?
Back surgery is considered an “elective” procedure the vast majority of the time as it is a possible approach and is performed to increase function and lessen pain. A pain management doctor in Arizona may recommend it, but it’s a personal choice to proceed with it or continue with non-surgical alternatives.
It is rare, but only in extreme instances is back surgery is considered needed. Instances such as these would include a progressive neurological loss of bodily function in patients or an acute onset of incontinence in the bladder or bowels, and where no other option will could achieve the same results.
Who should help me determine if I need spine surgery?
Most back pain evaluation starts at the physical exam level with a primary care physician. Physical therapy combined with a non-narcotic pain medication is the first step. A narcotic may be prescribed for a short term combined with a course of chiropractic or physical therapy sessions. If pain accelerates or does not dissipate, the patient will see a pain management doctor in Phoenix to exhaust treatments.
As a last resort, a specialist in spine surgery is an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon.
How do I prepare for spine surgery?
Education and by ensuring your spine surgeon is a specialist board certified (or eligible) in orthopedic or neurological surgery, and has performed the procedure many times. Not feeling like a passive participant will help prepare you psychologically. Many studies show proactive measures such as researching information and meditation can help relax a patient as they more empowered and in control, and that can positively impact healing and recovery.
What can I expect after back surgery?
The most obvious thing a patient can do to speed up the healing process is to carefully and faithfully follow the doctor’s prescribed rehabilitation program. Lifestyle changes (like quitting smoking and healthy diet) may be necessary in order to accommodate your recovery. Appropriate stretching, an exercise regime, and rest will only maximize your chances of a successful recovery.
Arizona Pain Specialists offers comprehensive pain management that often helps patients avoid the need for back surgery. The AZ pain centers offer medication and interventional pain management, chiropractic, physical rehabilitation, spinal decompression therapy, acupuncture and more.
Over 50 insurance plans are accepted, call (602) 507-6550 for more information and scheduling today!