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What are some ways to avoid surgery for degenerative disc disease?

Surgery is one potential treatment option for degenerative disc disease, but it isn’t necessary in every situation. Many people are able to manage their pain with a combination of nonsurgical therapies, such as medications and physical therapy. However, if conservative treatments don’t produce the desired results, surgery might become a consideration.

Weighing your options

For most people, it’s not necessary to make a decision right away (however, those who have cauda equina syndrome — a rare complication — require immediate surgical intervention). Taking some time to evaluate all potential options is a good idea, as it’s often possible to avoid or delay the need for degenerative disc disease surgery. As part of your evaluation, you might:

  • Get a second opinion. A different physician may recommend options that you haven’t tried yet, such as muscle relaxers or epidural spinal injections. This can be especially beneficial if you’ve been working with a general practitioner but have not yet seen an orthopedic specialist.
  • Try alternative therapies. While not a traditional approach to degenerative disc disease treatment, options such as acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments may provide additional relief from your symptoms.
  • Change your lifestyle. Certain habits, such as smoking, can interfere with the healing of spinal degeneration, while other factors, such as being overweight, can put additional stress on the spine. Making small but meaningful lifestyle changes can lead to noticeable results.

What if surgery is the right choice?

If you do decide that surgery is the right option for you (for instance, if you’re struggling to concentrate on your work and have exhausted all of the nonsurgical treatments suggested by your physician), you may want to find out more about minimally invasive degenerative disc disease surgery at USA Spine Care. Our procedures are safer and effective alternatives to traditional operations, as they help our patients avoid the long hospitalization periods and high complication rates that often accompany open neck and back surgery.^ Because minimally invasive surgery involves small incisions and muscle-sparing techniques, it is typically easier to recover from than more invasive operations. Contact us today to find out if you’re a candidate and request a free MRI review.*

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