If you’ve struggled with back pain for any length of time, you may be wondering if spine surgery is your only treatment option. Sometimes, surgery is the only treatment. However, there’s good news. The vast majority of back problems can be remedied with non-surgical treatments—often referred to as non-surgical or conservative therapies.
Aging, improper body mechanics, trauma, and structural abnormalities can injure your spine, leading to back pain and other symptoms such as leg pain and numbness or even leg weakness. Chronic back pain is a condition that requires a team of health professionals to diagnose and treat. Before resigning yourself to surgery, consider getting opinions from several spine specialists. This investment of time and information-gathering will help you make an informed treatment decision that will best support your lifestyle and desired level of physical activity.
What about conservative treatment?
As with all non-emergency spinal surgeries, a trial of non-operative treatment, such as physical therapy, pain medication—preferably an anti-inflammatory, or bracing should be observed before surgery is considered. The trial period of conservative treatment varies, but six weeks to six months is the general timeframe.
Spine surgery may be recommended if a non-surgical treatment such as medications and physical therapy fails to relieve symptoms. Surgery is only considered in cases where the exact source of pain can be determined—such as a herniated disc, scoliosis, or spinal stenosis.
- Cervical Spine Disorders
The cervical spine is the most flexible anatomic region in the axial skeleton. Distinct segments of the cervical spine give us the ability to perform complex neck motions like head turning or tilting and to carry weight or absorb impact while protecting the delicate spinal cord and nerve roots that pass through the cervical vertebra. Read More
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebral bodies in the lower back, where the spine curves inward toward the abdomen. It starts about five or six inches below the shoulder blades, and connects with the thoracic spine at the top and extends downward to the sacral spine. These nerves transmit sensations from the buttocks. Read More
- Spina Bifida
Spina bifida is a birth defect. Most children who have spina bifida do not have problems with it. It occurs when the bones of the spine (vertebrae) do not form properly around part of the baby’s spinal cord. It can affect how the skin on the back looks. And in severe cases, it can make walking or daily activities hard to do without help. Read More
- Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is a collection of nerves that travels from the bottom of the brain down your back. 31 pairs of nerves leave the spinal cord and go to your arms, legs, chest and abdomen. These nerves allow your brain to give commands to your muscles and cause movements of your arms and legs. Read More
- Cervical Discectomy
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) are a surgery to remove a herniated or degenerative disc in the neck area of the spine. The incision is made in the front of the spine through the throat area. After the disc is removed, a bone graft is inserted to fuse together the bones above and below the disc space. Read More