The believed of having any surgical process fills most people with a sense of fear and anxiety. This is particularly correct of surgery on the spine. A surge of “what ifs” will immediately flow through one’s mind at the plain suggestion of such an intervention. This is particularly true given several articles in recent years telling many types of these surgeries being less than successful, not to discuss personal stories imparted by loved ones and associates of less than ideal outcomes .
Spine surgery is evidently necessary when you have emergency symptoms like loss of control of bowel and bladder function, weakness and numbness in an arm or leg. If you don’t address these symptoms quickly and with surgery, the signs can become permanent.
But at times, with other symptoms, non-surgical options — like anti-inflammatory medication, tailored stretches and spinal injections — can be very effective. The use of pain medication and nerve alleviating drugs may also improve recovery. The use of correct stretching techniques need to be used in performance with medication if severe enough pain continues to significantly impact the patient’s quality of life.
Failing these medications by mouth, an MRI or CAT scan may be point out based on the clinical presentation of pain distribution. From these radio-graphic images we may added correlate structural findings with the presentation of pain and suffering.
Many times the findings aren’t specific enough to completely know the source of the symptoms. A presentation of neck or low back pain as an example is often merged with different proportions of nerve symptoms. When this is the case it is important to try and change these symptoms as diagnostic and/or therapeutic interventions help the prediction as to whether a specific surgical procedure will fully or partially resolve the symptoms.
The communication of the intricacy of any part of decision making on the part of the specialist helps the patient better appreciate the indications and potential of any discussed intervention. The potential upside and downside of any intervention will bring out patient risk factors, hopefully aiding the patient to get a head start in addressing some of these factors including poorly controlled diabetes and smoking. Failing to improve clinically in the context of the natural history and aggressive conservative care including pain management specialist interventions often pushes the conversation toward a more forceful tact.
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