How am I going to get my groceries up the stairs? Is that long car ride really worth it? Will playing a round of golf aggravate my back pain? Chronic neck and back pain due to a spine condition can be debilitating and make you question everything you do. It’s understandable you might be wondering if spine surgery is the answer. When you visit Spine Medicine & Surgery of Long Island, Dr. Choi will help you make an informed decision based on your unique situation and needs. In the meantime, here are some things to consider:
Surgery Isn’t Usually the First Line of Treatment
Our Long Island spine surgeon, Dr. Choi, takes a conservative approach and generally reserves surgery as a last resort. Why? Well, just like any surgery, spine surgery has risks and it’s also permanent. If pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots or spinal damage aren’t behind your pain, getting surgery might not have much benefit. In fact, for many neck and back conditions, conservative techniques, such as physical therapy, rest, injections and medication, are actually more effective.
Spine Conditions That May Require Surgery
Though many spine conditions don’t need surgery, there are those that will require a surgical approach. Dr. Choi may recommend spine surgery to treat the following issues if conservative measures are ineffective:
- Degenerative disc disease
- A spinal cord tumor
- Spinal stenosis that results in back pain and weakness
- Numbness or tingling in the leg or arm
- Spinal instability
- Pressure around the spinal cord and/or nerve roots
- Bone spurs that are compressing the spinal cord
When To See A Surgeon For Back Pain
Visiting a spine surgeon for neck or back pain doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have surgery. As a spine specialist, Dr. Choi is the expert to turn to for your spine health needs. If he doesn’t recommend surgery, our practice offers a range of interventional pain management techniques.
You should schedule an appointment with an orthopaedic spine surgeon if you experience:
Persistent Neck or Back Pain
If neck or back pain persists for weeks or months and hasn’t gotten better with rest, taking pain medications or trying other conservative methods, you should visit a spine surgeon. Chronic back or neck pain may be a sign of an underlying condition that requires treatment.
Inability to Function
If your pain or other symptoms interfere with your ability to function and perform your daily tasks, such as working, driving, exercising or engaging in activities you enjoy, scheduling an appointment as soon as you can is a good idea. Dr. Choi can get to the bottom of your symptoms and create a plan to restore function and mobility.
Timing is Important
Our Long Island spine specialist never rushes into back surgery. In most cases, he’ll keep an eye on your condition for a few months to give your body a chance to heal itself. He may also recommend conservative treatment options like injections, medication and physical therapy.
If conservative measures aren’t effective and Dr. Choi does recommend surgery, then it’s important to avoid delaying treatment. Persistent spinal cord compression can cause potentially irreversible, serious nerve damage and other complications.
Trusted, Expert Guidance
Dr. Choi uses the latest diagnostic tools to uncover the cause of your pain and determine the appropriate treatment options. He’ll explain your diagnosis to you in detail and go through the pros and cons of any procedures. He provides trusted, honest advice based on your unique symptoms, condition and needs. He only recommends spine surgery if he feels it will give you the best outcome and you’ll benefit from the procedure.