Chronic pain and the option of surgery

Some people assume that if they experience chronic neck or back pain, spine surgery is their only option for lasting relief. However a large number of patients are able to enjoy a good quality of life by using conservative treatments and not having to resort to surgery. Even if you have been diagnosed with a degenerative condition like arthritis or a herniated disc, nonsurgical therapy can be effective in relieving symptoms and restoring mobility.

Whether you have just been diagnosed with a condition or are further along in the treatment process, learning about the full range of treatment options for chronic pain is important. The following information can help you better work with your doctor in determining a treatment plan with the best chance of returning you to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Initial treatment of chronic pain

Even if you have already been experiencing chronic pain for several months, surgery generally should not be considered until you’ve fully attempted conservative treatments. Degenerative spine conditions like a herniated disc and a bulging disc often can be managed through a plan that includes options like the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Pain medication
  • Exercise
  • Massage
  • Epidural steroid injections

Staying healthy by eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in omega-6 fatty acids will also help reduce swelling if you have any type of inflammatory condition, such as spinal rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors will also recommend making necessary lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, losing weight and improving posture to promote overall spine health.

Surgery to treat chronic pain

If weeks or months of conservative treatment do not provide lasting pain relief, your doctor may suggest that you consider surgery. Make sure to educate yourself on the different types of spine surgeries available and ask your physician about the differences between highly invasive traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive techniques. Traditional surgery usually involves a large incision, hospitalization and a long recovery period. In contrast, minimally invasive spine surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and uses muscle-sparing techniques.

Laser Spine Institute

For more information about minimally invasive procedures for the neck and back, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our highly skilled surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery that involves a less than 1-inch incision, leading to a shorter recovery compared to traditional open spine surgery.^

To learn more, request a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* today to find out if you could be a candidate for one of our procedures.