The spine is complex — made up of 24 bones, vertebrae, ligaments, discs, joints, muscles, tendons and an intricate bundle of nerves that sends signals throughout the entire body — which is why spinal problems, even minor ones, can have a major impact on your quality of life.
Almost everyone can expect to experience an episode of back pain at some point in their life. Most episodes tend to improve within two weeks to three months.
For mild back pain there are some things you can do at home to reduce the pain:
Working with your physician can help determine if these “conservative” treatment options are appropriate for your pain. Conservative treatment options are typically non-invasive and include physical therapy, activity modification, medications, or injections. It’s not until conservative treatment options fail and back pain or leg pain persists that spine surgery is considered.
The following are symptoms that signal it’s time to discuss other treatment options with your physician:
Almost all surgeries on the spine are elective, meaning it’s the patient’s choice to elect to have surgery. The surgeon is responsible for explaining the risks and benefits of spine surgery. A spine surgeon can be either an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon that specializes in spine surgery.
Some important considerations for spine surgery:
Surgery is a joint decision between a patient and their surgeon. Patients living with chronic neck or back pain, particularly with radiating symptoms to the extremities, should consider a consult with a spine surgeon to learn more about treatment options. The Spine Center at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center offers a comprehensive program for patients needing spine surgery that strongly emphasizes patient education. For more information on spine surgery, call 800-MEMORIAL or visit our spine care section.
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