Five Factors When Considering Spinal Surgery

There are many treatments available for neck or back pain, and it is important to consider the multiple options in order to make the right personal choice. For example, many neck and back conditions can be successfully treated solely using physical therapy, while others may require surgery.

An individual should speak with their doctor about the symptoms and how it affects everyday life. With their help, an individual can then choose the best treatment for their specific needs. Below are some factors that doctors recommend that a person should take into account when considering spine surgery:

Obtaining an Accurate Diagnosis

Neck and back problems can be difficult to diagnose, even with advanced technology like MRIs and other imaging devices. Spinal surgery is typically not advised for a patient who suffers from neck or back pain, that originates from a reason that does not clearly stand out to a doctor.  

Some patients who are diagnosed incorrectly may go through the expensive and difficult ordeal of having surgery and find that it did not alleviate their symptoms. Acquiring the correct diagnosis is the first step that anyone should take when determining whether or not surgery is necessary. 

Cost of Spinal Surgery

An operation on the spine can be expensive, but it can absolutely be cost-effective if it alleviates the symptoms of back or neck pain. It is important to think about whether or not there are cheaper options, such as physical therapy or medication, which could ease the pain without having to resort to an expensive surgery.

A spinal fusion, for example, could cost upwards of $75,000 to $100,000. The cost could even increase from there depending on the level of care that a patient requires. It is important to discover what the cost of surgery would be beforehand so that one can be prepared for the expenses. 

Change in Lifestyle

Recovery from spinal surgery can be a long-term process making it costly in the aspect of time. During the first few weeks after the procedure, it may be necessary to rely on the assistance of family members or others within close proximity to help perform tasks that may be too strenuous.

Patients should also be prepared to take some leave off of work, at least for the first few days after the procedure, but probably for a longer period of time with some restrictions.

How the surgery will affect daily life, and whether or not it is possible to dedicate a large portion of time for recovery, is an important thing to consider when thinking about spinal surgery.

Mental Preparation for an Operation

Though this may seem like a given, it is important for an individual to mentally prepare them self for spinal surgery, if that is the route that is up for consideration. Recovery can be slow, and a patient may not be able to return fully to daily activities for three months or more.

Furthermore, one should be prepared for post-operation rehabilitation programs, which often include physical therapy and learning pain management skills.

Risks Involved with Spinal Surgery

Spinal surgery, just like any other procedure, comes with risks. Certain people may be more prone to such risks than others due to family history, medical conditions, lifestyle, and other factors. Some spinal surgeries are invasive procedures that increase the risk of post-operation infections, improper healing, blood clots, pain, and more.

There is also the risk that the operation will not alleviate the pain, or may shift stress to other areas of the neck or back and create more pain in those areas instead. Evaluating whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks is important when considering spine surgery.

Change in Lifestyle

Recovery from spinal surgery can be a long-term process making it costly in the aspect of time. During the first few weeks after the procedure, it may be necessary to rely on the assistance of family members or others within close proximity to help perform tasks that may be too strenuous.

Patients should also be prepared to take some leave off of work, at least for the first few days after the procedure, but probably for a longer period of time with some restrictions.

How the surgery will affect daily life, and whether or not it is possible to dedicate a large portion of time for recovery, is an important thing to consider when thinking about having a procedure done on the spine