The Majority Of Back Pain Symptoms Are Relieved Without Surgery

Authored by: Dr. Christopher Good

“This is the end of my life…I will never be able to do anything again…”

This reaction is an all too common and, in many cases, unnecessary first reaction many patients have when speaking to their doctor about back or neck pain. Let’s face it – we would all like to live our lives without needing surgery, especially spinal surgery. That being said, for some patients with spinal conditions their lives can be significantly improved after having a spinal fusion. There is a great deal of misinformation on the internet and in the media about spinal surgery and spinal fusion. Multiple factors always come in to play when considering if fusion is necessary, but it is important to remember that the vast majority of patients with a spinal condition can be successfully treated {and live a good quality of life!} without undergoing a spinal surgery.

New patients who come to me seeking a second opinion for surgical options after previously ‘failed non-operative treatment’. Once a proper non-operative course is initiative and maintained, however, these individuals are actually able to improve. Modern spinal health care can successfully treat most patients through a combination of exercise, therapy, spinal manipulation, medications, and non-operative procedures such as spinal injections or regenerative treatments like prolotherapyPRP, or stem cells.  Most people, even those who have a significant structural problem in their back, are able to maintain a good quality of life and have a safe future without undergoing a spinal surgery.

One such individual is Anna who sought treatment from Regenerative Medicine Director, Dr. Bharara for her debilitating back pain. She is the perfect example of how significant non-operative treatment can be for an individual, especially one adverse to the idea of spinal fusion.

The decision to contemplate a spinal surgery depends not only on what kind of problem is happening in the spine, but more importantly what kind of pain and limitation it is causing the person in their life.  The decision to consider surgery, especially a fusion, should be made mainly based on a patient’s symptoms and quality of life rather than on pictures from an MRI scan or an x-ray. Ensure that your doctor understands this prior to agreeing to surgery, and remember to advocate for the lifestyle you want when your pain has dissipated.

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