Majority of spine related symptoms are self-limiting. Best treatment for spine related problems is give time for the body to heal the pathology. A short course of bed rest, medicines, physiotherapy and activity restrictions cure 70-80% patients with neck pain and back pain. It is not necessary to visit a spine specialist at the very first onset of the symptoms. However, in following situations a spine specialist should be consulted:
- Pain not responding to medical treatment,
- Pain worsening despite being on treatment,
- Nerve compression symptoms (pain, tingling, numbness, loss of sensation in arms or legs; weakness in arms or legs; loss of control over urination or defecation)
- Pain associated with fever
- History of cancer
- History of injury/ trauma.
Surgical treatment for spine problems is recommended only non-surgical treatments are not able to provide sufficient relief to the patient in a reasonable period of time. Spine surgery is best recommended in following situations:
- Severe/ intolerable pain,
- Symptoms not responding or worsening with non-surgical treatment,
- Inability to carry on with day to day life,
- Spinal instability on x-ray (fracture, infection, tumors),
- Signs of significant nerve root compression.
Spine specialist will choose best spine surgery treatment for a given pathology based on various factors. Multiple procedures are available for any spinal decompression or spine fusion surgery. Choice of the procedure is based on site and magnitude of the pathology; patient’s overall medical health; spine surgeon’s preference based on his/ her training, surgical experience and available technologies etc.
Spine surgeries are safe in the current era due to latest advances in the last decade. Spine surgery provide instantaneous relief in carefully selected cases. Majority of procedures can now be done with a minimally invasive spine surgery technique, which is very safe and effective. Recovery after spine surgery is very quick. Patients can join routine activities and work within a short span of time after the surgery.