When should you consider surgery for pain? Our goal at Back Pain Relief Center here in Myrtle Beach is to see you out of pain. Our focus is to examine you, discover the reason behind your pain and to treat it. Most of the time we achieve this goal within our practice, but there are occasions where we may need a multi disciplined approach to correct the problem. And then there’s situations where it would likely only be surgery that can correct the issue.
So when should you consider surgery for pain?
There are three major considerations to answer this question, and depending on which one you fall under, it may well be that surgery is necessary.
- If you are suffering from unrelenting pain and it won’t stop. You’ve tried chiropractic, physical therapy, medications, injections, acupuncture, massage therapy and even manipulation under anesthesia and nothing has stopped it. At this point, it may be that surgery is the only thing left to try.
- If your body is not functioning properly. So perhaps you have numbness or tingling, or your arms or legs are not working as they should. You’re not walking properly or you struggle holding a cup of coffee. Simple tasks are difficult to perform because of a neurological deficit where nerves are being infringed upon and thus stop signals getting to the brain. That too may be a reason for surgery to correct the problem.
- The third group is where occasionally, we’ll find on a MRI report that the patient has a disc herniation that is pressing on the spinal cord. This is always a time to have a surgical consultation. You don’t want to ignore that. Once you have cord compression, it can cause problems anywhere below that pressure. That’s why MRI’s are so important.
Having surgery on your neck and back is not an easy decision and any surgery may not cure the problem 100%. It’s very hard because once you’re cut open, things are never quite the same. So a careful decision must be made.
When any of the points outlined above are met, then this is normally when I refer onto a spine surgeon. Fortunately I don’t do this often, perhaps a dozen times a year, but ultimately if a patient has either neurological deficit or unrelenting pain effecting functional outcomes… they generally don’t improve.
So what does that mean???
Arm or leg weakness. You have difficulty lifting a cup of coffee, you have trouble writing because of hand weakness, difficulty lifting your leg up into the car, you drag your leg. You can’t sleep because of the pain, difficulty working because of pain, the pain simply doesn’t go away.
If we can’t get those to clear up through conservative chiropractic and pain management, then it’s time to speak with a surgeon. These decisions should never be taken lightly and generally, you should try absolutely everything else first, but ultimately, surgery may be the final answer.
Dr Ray Marquez DC
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