When to contact a surgical center for spine care

Almost everyone feels neck or back pain at some point in their lives, but most people never have to visit a center for spine care. The occasional twinge in the neck or dull ache in the lower back usually can be attributed to muscle strain, which is a natural result of sitting at a desk or driving a car for a long period of time. This kind of pain either should fade on its own over time or can be easily managed with basic treatment such as rest or over-the-counter medication.

However, if you have neck pain, back pain or other symptoms that do not go away in few days or a week, there’s a possibility it could be related to a spine condition such as arthritis or a herniated disc. There are different options, from general practices to spine centers, for diagnosing and treating your symptoms and it can be hard to know where to turn. By having a better understanding of when to contact a spine care center you can make this decision on a more confident basis and give yourself the best chance of finding long-term relief.

Visit your primary care doctor first

Before visiting a spine care center, it is recommended to make an appointment to have your neck or back pain checked out by your primary care doctor. Chances are, he or she will perform a complete physical exam and ask questions related to the location and potential origin of your pain. Before you arrive at your doctor’s office, give some thought to how you might answer questions related to your condition, such as:

  • Where does it hurt?
  • Have you been injured recently?
  • When did the pain first occur?
  • Is the pain constant or occasional?
  • Is it a sharp pain, a radiating pain, a dull ache, numbness, or tingling?
  • Have you performed any recent activity that might have caused or contributed to the pain?
  • Has anyone in your family ever experienced similar pain?

Conservative and surgical treatment for spine conditions

Once a preliminary diagnosis is made, your doctor may also order diagnostic imagery like an X-ray, MRI or CT scan to check for a degenerative condition that might be producing nerve compression along the spine. In many cases the symptoms associated with these conditions can be managed conservatively with options like physical therapy or spinal injections. Surgery can become an option if weeks or months of treatment have not relieved symptoms enough for a good quality of life. This is when many patients will contact a spine surgery center to fully explore their options.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and we have helped more than 75,000 patients receive relief from their neck and back pain since 2005. Our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures on an outpatient basis as an alternative to hospital-based traditional open spine surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more. We can help you receive a no-cost MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.