Saturday, February 18, 2012

Do You Need A Spine Surgeon? by Nick Messe

Nick groans as he wakes up. A week ago, he strained his back reaching for a huge a bag of sand at the landscaping company where he works. That was followed by throbbing pain, not only in his back but down his arms and sometimes all over his body. Now every morning when he awakens, he feels as if he can hardly move.

It doesn't get much better during the day. Yesterday, when he tried to keep his regular weekly golf date with his buddies, he found all he could manage was a poor feeble imitation of his regular golf swing and it hurt to even do that. He struggled through the first two holes, but then had to give up. The over-the-counter pain pills he has been taking simply have not helped.

Nick's next step should be to see a doctor and his best choice would be a specialist in spinal surgery. Surgery may or may not be necessary, but a spinal surgeon is in the best position to help decide. The doctor will order tests such as X-rays or MRIs to determine what kind of an injury Nick may have.

The spine is an intricate and essential part of the human body and many things can go wrong, from a slipped disk to a compression fracture to minor stenosis. An altogether too common problem, for older women especially, is osteoporotic fractures of the spine. Fortunately, these days, there are many forms of treatment even for serious spinal problems.

Some spinal injuries can be treated without surgery. Doctors may suggest heat treatments, physical therapy, or prescription drugs. Some people opt for alternative treatments like chiropractic care or acupuncture. Nonetheless, surgery is often the best or the only real choice. Many people are frightened by the specter of back surgery, assuming that it is extremely dangerous and that the recovery time is long and painful.

In fact, spine surgery has come a long way and medical advances have made it safer and easier. Specialists can even perform minimally invasive surgery. These procedures do not require as much surgical manipulation of the spine as traditional spinal surgery does. As a result, patients usually have lower risks and less pain as well as shorter recovery times.

Fortunately for our hero Nick, his doctors decide that he is eligible for the new surgical procedure. He will have an outpatient operation and he'll be up and about rather quickly. If he is smart, he'll also do back strengthening and therapeutic exercises for the rest of his life to keep his back healthy and his golf swing strong as can be and as smooth as glass. He may never get that elusive hole in one, but his days as a recreational golfer will be long and enjoyable.