How to Know When You Need Spinal Surgery

Did you know that back and neck pain are the most common types of chronic pain in the United States? Severe pain often prompts people to seek help from doctors, but we’ve also seen where patients have held off, waiting months and sometimes even years, to see a doctor for a consultation.

There are numerous ways to reduce back and neck pain - ice, heat, physical therapy, over the counter and prescription pain medications are some of the most common conservative treatment plans. Even new treatments like cold laser or spinal injections have proven to offer some people significant relief. Recent studies also show that regular exercise will also reduce and prevent back pain from flaring up and returning, when done in moderation.

Any board certified neurosurgeon, including Dr. Hope is going to try to exhaust all non-operative possibilities before suggesting surgery.

Here are a few of the options available prior to surgery:

  • Massage therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Steroid injections

If you’ve had a spinal cord injury, or if you’re experiencing a degenerative spinal condition, surgery may be your only solution for lasting relief.

Our goal is to get your back to your life so you can enjoy being with family and friends. When you feel like you can’t fully feel your arms because of weakness or numbness, it not only makes everyday tasks more challenging, it is scary.

Here are a few of the top reasons why someone would require back surgery:

  • A herniated or slipped disc isn’t getting better with less invasive treatment
  • Bone spurs on the spine are exerting pressure on the spinal cord (commonly seen with arthritis
  • Stenosis, a degenerative spinal condition that can cause weakness in limbs and neck
  • Progressive weakness or numbness in arms or legs
  • Difficulty using hands
  • Infection within the spine
  • Broken or dislocated bones within the back
  • Tumors on the spinal cord

If you’re not sure what to do next, the best option is to see your primary care doctor who may recommend a visit with a neurosurgeon. Remember, just because you have a surgical consult with a surgeon, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to go through with surgery. We believe in having our patients try conservative treatments and only leverage our expertise and surgical skills when truly necessary.

Some questions you can expect in your first appointment will probably include:

  1. Where are you experiencing pain?
  2. Are there specific positions that ease or worsen your pain?
  3. Are you experiencing any numbness, weakness or tingling?
  4. What treatments have you already tried to resolve your pain?

If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Hope and his medical team, please call the office at 703.560.1146.

Virginia Case