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When to Consider Back Surgery

For many, putting off surgery and trying a more conservative approach is a common decision and worth a try.  Surgeons agree that, when possible, the patient should try other treatment options first.  But if you have tried everything else and it the pain is not getting better, it may be time for a surgical intervention.  An accurate diagnosis and a doctor that is familiar with your back’s progression is key. He or she may first recommend options like physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, low weight bearing activities, low impact exercises and/or anti-inflammatory medications to assist with chronic or acute back pain.  Degenerative conditions that commonly warrant surgery can include slipped discs, bone spurs, bulging or herniated discs, arthritic changes and narrowing within the spine.  Once nerves are chronically pinched by developed conditions such as these or the vertebral structures themselves are altered, there is little that conservative options can offer.  In these circumstances, patients generally respond very well after surgery and report noticeable improvement and improved quality of life.

It may be time to consider surgery if you have:

It is always important for you and your doctor to thoroughly discuss if the benefits of surgery outweigh any other health related factors. A doctor may postpone a surgery if the risk for complications is high. Some of those reasons include heart problems, cancer treatment, kidney problems, liver problems, uncontrolled blood pressure, uncontrolled blood sugar, obesity, lung problems, trouble healing in the past, or signs of an active infection. Take the time to talk openly to your doctor and share any questions and concerns you have so that you are fully informed and play an active role in deciding the best treatment plan for you.