When Do You Need To Visit a Spine Surgeon?
Almost everyone will experience some form of back pain as they grow older. Usually, some pain will arise after strenuous physical activities that take their toll on the muscles. However, some cases cannot be treated using the conservative methods prescribed by primary care doctors, chiropractors, or physical therapists. In cases of severe back pain, it may be best to consult with a spine surgeon.
Consulting With a Spine Surgeon
Most spine specialists would avoid recommending surgery until they have pinpointed the source of a patient’s pain. A spine surgeon will only recommend a treatment or an operation after conducting diagnostic and physical tests to determine the nature and severity of your condition. This may include imaging tests such as x-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
Lower back surgery will only be prescribed to correct an anatomical condition that resulted in spinal instability or nerve pinching. Doctors may also try to use a non-surgical or conservative approach to treat this anatomical problem. However, if these fail to produce the desired results or alleviate symptoms, then spine surgery may be the only viable choice of treatment.
Signs That You Need To Visit A Spine Surgeon
While you may wish to avoid having any surgery done, consulting with a spine surgeon may be the better option if you are exhibiting the following signs:
1. When you are unable to do daily tasks anymore.
If your movements are hampered by a persistent pain that lasts more than a month, then it’s time to see a spine specialist. Severe pain and an impaired balance mean that your spine is unstable, while having difficulty moving means your problem lies with your intervertebral disc.
The symptoms above would negatively affect the quality of your life. You would experience difficulties with your work, sleep, mood, functions, and even the ability to stand.
2. When you exhibit signs of neurological dysfunction.
Your central nervous system is composed of your brain and your spinal cord. The spinal cord is a bundle of neural cells and nerve pathways, and it serves as an information highway between the base of the brain and the lower back.
Damage to the spinal cord may result in neurological dysfunctions, since your brain will not be able to send the correct signals to your body through your nerves. Common symptoms of neurological dysfunction connected to the spine are:
- Unrelenting pain down your arms and legs
- Numbness, tightening, or inability to move the limbs
- Lack of control over bowel and bladder functions
3. When your pain has increased over time.
If you are facing a muscular problem, then the body is usually able to heal itself over time. However, the spine is different. If your pain is not relieved despite more than a week of treatment with anti-inflammatory medication or steroids, then you should see a spine surgeon.
An infection in the spine may be the problem if your back pain is accompanied by a fever, chills, night sweats or weight loss. Unrelenting pain may also indicate other back problems such as:
- Bone spurs
- Spinal arthritis
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Fractured vertebrae
Talk to Us at The Central Texas Spine Institute
Your spine’s health is central to your body’s overall wellness, as it is the pathway for all the body’s sensations. At the Central Texas Spine Institute, we help keep your spine in top condition.
As one of the top spine centers in the US, we are committed to providing comprehensive spine care. By utilizing the latest techniques and technologies in diagnosis, conservative treatment modalities, and surgery, we can offer our patients a personalized, world-class experience.