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When Is The Right Time To See A Spine Surgeon?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Apoorva Pandey 90% (19 ratings)
MS-General Surgery, Mch-Neurosurgery
Neurosurgeon, Bhopal  •  8 years experience
When Is The Right Time To See A Spine Surgeon?

At some point in life most people experience acute pain in their lower back which is extremely painful. Pain in the spine causes a lot of discomfort and disruption in the life of an individual and hence, it is always better to get it checked on time. There are patients who even wonder when they should consult a neurosurgeon or a spine surgeon for their back pain. It is advisable that a physical examination is done by a primary care physician for low back pain before consulting a spine surgeon.

Why consult a Physical care Physician First?
The main reason to consult a primary care physician at first is that he would prescribe medications for severe lower back pain. The medications could include non-narcotic pain medications such as Ultram or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin. The physician can even refer you to a chiropractor or for physical therapy to get relief from the back pain. Mechanical means are made use of by a chiropractor mainly to alleviate the back pain of the patient.

If the patient feels better with the physical therapy or the medications prescribed by the family doctor and is able to resume normal activities, then there is no need to see a spine surgeon. It is often recommended to take good care of the back and to exercise. A combination of ergonomics, regular stretching and improved everyday posture is beneficial as it reduces the chance of causing pain in the lower back. Exercise plays a very important role and it provides the possibility of reducing the pain.

Conservative Care for Treating Lower back Pain
It is best for patients to consult a conservative care specialist if after consulting a chiropractor they do not find any reduction in their pain and they do not want to undergo spine surgery. The conservative care specialists are well-trained in rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders and specialize in spine care. The role of the conservative care specialist is similar to a cardiologist who specializes in treating neurological disorders.

The specialist for spine care works along with the surgeon in a spine center to treat the lower back pain. The specialist is trained in diagnostic techniques and is capable of making use of a combination of diagnostic tests as well as injection techniques such as epidural steroid injections to diagnose the source of the lower back pain in a patient. They can even advise patients whether it is appropriate to consult a spine surgeon for surgery. Surgery is done to correct the anatomical conditions and it is performed only when non-surgical treatments are not successful in alleviating the pain of the patient.

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