Living with back pain is terrible! Even if you’re doing everything to avoid it and struggle to put it off as long as you can, sometimes, having spinal surgery is the only feasible way to get rid of the pain. Some of the techniques we have today can work wonderfully on things like scoliosis, kyphosis, spondylolisthesis as well as nerve damage like discus hernia, bone spurs, and spinal stenosis. However, even if you have any of these spinal issues, it doesn’t have to mean immediate surgery. Here are some of the signs to keep an eye on before you contact your surgeon.
You can’t perform your day-to-day tasks
As you grow older, it’s normal to lose some of your mobility. However, if your spinal injury or deformity prevents you from performing normal, day-to-day activities, that’s not normal. Luckily, with the right surgery, your problems can be improved tremendously.
Your quality of life is decreasing
Reduced mobility and function of your spine as well as pain, can all limit your ability to enjoy life and participate in activities you like to do. If your issues are affecting your quality of life, it’s time to find a specialist and talk to them about your treatment options.
Nothing else worked
In most cases, spinal surgery is the last resort when it comes to treating pain and deformity. However, if you exhausted all your less invasive options and your condition is not getting better, surgery might be your only resort. Thanks to the recent advances in modern medicine, professionals like neurosurgeon Dr. Timothy Steel can perform quick surgery that’s minimally invasive. With their expertise, your recovery can be swift and the entire experience less traumatic.
You have severe deformity
Some deformities of the spine like scoliosis and kyphosis can be treated with physical therapy and braces, but only in their early stages. If you have severe deformity and your condition is too advanced, you might need to consider surgery.
You notice symptoms of nerve damage
In case your spinal issues cause nerve damage, you should see a specialist right away. Nerve damage can cause permanent damage and even disability! So, keep your eyes open for the first signs of nerve damage like tingling, electric pain or numbness in legs. Any symptoms of involuntary bladder or bowel movements also require immediate medical attention.
Your damage is too severe
While most specialists try to avoid surgery as much as possible or encourage good preparation, some spinal injuries might require surgery on short notice. In case any other repair path is not viable, surgery can save lives.
Your condition is worsening fast
There are spinal conditions like osteoporosis usually get worse over time. But, if you experience any conditions that are progressing quickly, you might want to discuss your future options during your visits to the doctor. One of these options is often surgery. This way, if you experience a sudden downturn, you will know what to expect and what decisions to make.
What to do if my symptoms are not suitable for surgery?
If you just started experiencing back pain or if you have some back pain conditions that go and return, you might try preventing them with other solutions before you consider surgery. For instance, many times, back pain tends to get better on its own. In some cases, the application of cold and hot compresses can help. In the early stages of back pain battle or in case of acute back pain, ice can numb the area, ease the pain and reduce swelling. After a few days, hot compresses can provide added comfort and get the blood flowing thought the injured area reducing stiffness and pain.
Certain pain medication can also be considered. Over-the-counter painkillers can make the pain more tolerable and reduce some inflammation. Tylenol can be a good solution because it’s gentle on the stomach. If you need to reduce inflammation, meds like ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin might help you.
While it might sound contradictory, physical activity can help battle back pain. Bed rest is beneficial during the acute phase, but prolonged periods spend in bed will do additional damage. So, keep your body moving to regain full function of your spine.
While even thinking about surgery can be scary, just keep in mind that experts know what they are doing. So, if you choose the right surgeon, your spinal surgery doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience!
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