Am I A Good Candidate For Spine Surgery

Spinal problems occur in a great many individuals at all stages of life; back pain is one of the most common reasons that Americans visit doctors. Many orthopedic issues - particularly arthritis and other joint problems - manifest themselves in the spine. To understand why back pain sometimes needs to be treated with surgery, it helps to understand the underlying factors which cause the majority of routine back problems.

Causes of Spinal Problems

Common spinal problems, such as stenosis and herniated discs, tend to be caused by one of two things: injury and age.

There are several risk factors which increase the chances of having back problems. Back problems are most common among:

  • Men
  • Pregnant women
  • Obese people
  • People over 40
  • Workers whose jobs involve heavy lifting
  • Truck drivers and other people whose jobs involve sitting for very long periods
  • People with a family history of back pain
  • Those who have had back injuries in the past
  • Smokers

If much of the list above describes you, you are much more likely to need spine surgery in the future. It is particularly important for people with a high risk of developing spine problems to be proactive about seeing their doctor for treatment when they experience back pain. Even if you already have back pain, lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking and losing weight can decrease your pain and help prevent your condition from worsening. However, anyone can develop back problems regardless of their risk level.

Most problems in the spine occur in the lower (lumbar) portion of the back; this is the area which bears the most weight, and therefore a great amount of strain is placed on this area of the spine. Conditions which affect higher parts of the spine, especially the highest (cervical) portion tend to be more serious and harder to treat.

Most common back problems, such as herniated discs, are caused by damage to the joints and vertebrae. This can occur slowly with age, as the joints became less lubricated and damage occurs gradually over time. It can also happen due to a single instance of injury; additionally, age makes injury more likely to occur.

When to Seek Surgical Treatment

As with any condition, the first line of defense against back pain is to try conservative treatments. After diagnosing your back pain, your doctor will prescribe treatments such as medication and epidural injections to reduce inflammation (and thus pain) in the affected area. Physical therapy is also a common solution to back problems - as the core and back muscles become stronger, the joints bear less weight, reducing pain. These efforts can be especially effective for treating acute pain.

If these treatments do not work to reduce your pain, or if you have additional symptoms such as neurological problems, then it is time to consider spine surgery.

Most back problems, if they cannot be treated otherwise, can be reduced or eliminated using spine surgery - which is now more effective than ever thanks to the advent of laser spine surgery. Only a doctor can tell you what treatment is best in your particular situation. However, if you identify with one or more of the following:

  • Have chronic back pain, which conservative treatments have failed to resolve
  • Have been diagnosed with a condition such as herniated disc or stenosis
  • Need a procedure which allows you to heal quickly and get back to your life soon
  • Want to undergo a quick, painless procedure under local anesthetic
  • Would like to return home the same day
  • Want to minimize scarring and risk of infection
  • Have been told by your doctor that open spine surgery is not an option for you

Then chance are, you're a good candidate for laser spine surgery.

To discuss treatment with a leading surgeon in the field, please call the Datta Endoscopic Back Surgery & Pain Center at 347-380-9138.

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