There are two things certain in life, death and taxes. But ever since the turn of the new millennium, you can add a third to the list, back pain. It’s almost certain that everybody will suffer from back pain at one point in their life, or the other. Usually though, even if the pain is quite acute and a big hindrance to your daily life, it usually weans away in time, with rest and non surgical care.
However, like with everything there are exceptions and these cases can only be reduced with surgical treatments. This puts us in spot. How can we know when the back pain had crossed the intensity thresholds and needs immediate care? Surely if the intensity of the pain is not a good indicator, then you’re just grasping in the dark right? And even if you decide to go for surgery, which surgeon ought you visit, an orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon?
Go for a check up
Well to start off with, keep the directory of local surgeon down and get yourself to a physician, family doctor or chiropractor to get a proper and accurate initial diagnosis on what exactly is matter.
These primary care medical professionals can provide you with the first line of treatment to combat the pain, with medications like NSAIDs, narcotics and opioids.
They usually then refer you to a physiotherapist or chiropractor, specialists involved in resetting the mechanical movements of your body and alleviating difficulties like low back pain.
More often than not, this usually is quite sufficient and you can start reverting back to your daily life, with due time allocated to physiotherapy and exercise. Your back care will include posture correction, lifestyle changes, dietary improvements as well.
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What happens when the initial line of treatment is fruitless?
If these primary care treatment fail though, then you’ve got to move onto specialists like physiatrists who are masters in musculoskeletal disorders and it’s rehabilitation. They take on cases which are serious yet surgery is not the only resort. Even in cases where surgery is unavoidable, they are called in usually to work in conjunction with surgeons.
They also are at times capable of diagnosing the pain conditions and administering epidural steroid injections. A good physiatrist uses all the resources at hand to properly find the causes and full impact of the disorder, and then proceeds onto a conservative treatment.
When does the surgeon enter the picture?
When even the intervention of the physiatrist fails and you are writhing in immense pain, surgery might just be your last resort. But do keep in mind that surgery is only possible for anatomical conditions which lead to spinal difficulties or pinched nerves.
If your imaging results and diagnosis do not indicate anatomical problems, then surgery is not an option. Just because non surgical treatments failed to alleviate your pain does not mean surgery ought to be opted for and that it can magically cure your problem.
Except in certain cases, surgery can be avoided if the patient desires it so.
When a patient is weighing up on when to go for surgery or not, there are a few things to keep in mind.
•Intensity of the pain
•whether the pain affects your back or leg to the point of incapability of normal movement
•if it’s so intolerable that carrying out daily tasks proves impossible
•other treatment options have been exhausted with no result.
You should also keep in mind that surgery is not a blanket term and there are different kinds of surgeries, such as microdisectomy which is minimally invasive and safe in contrast to lumbar spine surgeries which alter your back anatomy. We shall take a look at different kinds of surgeries in our very next article. So subscribe now and stay tuned to our blog.
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