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Your doctor will consider many factors before determining if you’re a candidate for spinal surgery. One consideration is whether non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, medications and steroid injections, can help you avoid surgery.
If non-surgical methods do not help reduce or relieve pain or numbness associated with your condition, surgery may be a good option.
Medical imaging tests, such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), will accurately diagnose the specific condition. These tests, combined with your symptoms, will help your doctor focus on the best treatment. Generally, people with chronic or recurring back problems who have not responded well to therapy are candidates for surgery, but every patient and situation is unique. It is up to you and your doctor to decide if spine surgery is the right option.
The most important factor in predicating a favorable surgical outcome is making sure you are the right patient for the procedure. Spinal surgery is most effective for people who have no neck or back pain but have constant radiating pain into an extremity. Surgery is never a reasonable treatment option for neck or back pain if you do not have radiating symptoms. You should wait to consider surgery until the extremity pain becomes almost unbearable or you have a noticeable loss of function. Fortunately, recent advances in arthroscopic surgery make this a safer and more effective option than it was a few years ago.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.