Symptoms related to a degenerative spine condition can be life-altering, taking you away from the people and activities you love. Degenerative spine surgery can start to become an option if weeks or months of conservative treatment have not brought the relief you require to engage in a regular active life. This is a big decision and many people will continue to live with pain and other symptoms for years, putting off surgery because they are anxious about some of the risks and downsides associated with an open spine procedure. Clearing up the following misconceptions that some patients have about degenerative spine surgery can help you make a more informed and confident decision about your spine care.
1. Degenerative spine conditions always need surgical intervention.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition like osteoarthritis or a herniated disc, you might think that degenerative spine surgery is the only means for repairing the damage. That’s not the case. In fact, a large number of patients experience relief from their symptoms by trying nonsurgical treatments such as low-impact exercise, medication and physical therapy. These methods are typically first recommended for those with disc damage to explore before surgery is ever considered an option, and they very often can provide lasting relief.
2. The pain and other side effects of surgery are worse than neck or back pain.
Although all forms of surgery have inherent risks, many people who choose surgery for the treatment of degenerative spine issues are so negatively affected by neck and back pain that they can’t complete normal tasks, such as working or doing household chores. In those cases, the potential risk of complication due to surgery is outweighed by the benefit of potentially relieving those symptoms. For people with mild degenerative spine conditions, the pros of surgery may not outweigh the potential cons, but that balance shifts as symptoms get worse.
3. Consulting with a spine surgeon means you definitely need surgery.
If your physician has advised you to talk to a surgeon or another spine specialist for their opinion on your condition, don’t assume that you’ll have to have surgery. These experts can help you understand all of your available options, including the risks and potential benefits of each. That way, you can make an informed decision about your own health.
At USA Spine Care, we’re happy to help review your case and discuss your potential treatment options. Since 2005 we have been able to help more than 60,000 patients find relief with minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that is an alternative to traditional open spine procedures.
Contact us today for more information and to receive your no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.