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How to Tell If It’s Time to Visit the Surgeon for your Low Back Pain

One of the most common medical conditions in the world is low back pain. As a matter of fact, acute low back pain is one issue we all will have to experience at least once in our lives. It also is true that for some people, the pain associated with low back pain can be unbearable. Fortunately, majority of the cases will get better in time, mostly ranging from two to about ten weeks without the need of serious medical intervention.

Now what if you have been suffering from low back pain for more than a couple of months now and yet there seems to be no progress at all? There are countless cases of patients with low back pain like you who wonder if they really have to seek a medical professional’s advice to finally get rid of the condition.

While it is true that a spine surgeon will have to be consulted in the most serious of cases, the traditional process usually begins with a physical examination to be performed by the family doctor or any primary care physician. The reason why it makes sense to visit the family doctor first is because he/she can prescribe you medications that can help with the pain, but mostly, he/she can only offer non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as non-narcotic pain medications for severe episodes. This doctor also has the option of prescribing physical therapy for you or a visit to the chiropractor.

When To See the Surgeon

The decision to consult a spine surgeon for a possible back surgery can only be made after it is verified under an imaging study and the surfacing of the symptoms that you in fact are in need of a more serious treatment procedure. The idea is to figure out if there is in fact an identifiable anatomic cause for the low back pain, and to do that, there’s a need to undergo advanced medical and laboratory tests like discography, MRI, and routine flexion extension films for instability. But if that identifiable anatomic cause isn’t there, it means surgery won’t be an option.

Remember that if the non-surgical treatments don’t help in alleviating your pain, it doesn’t automatically translate to having spine surgery. But once proof is present that surgery is needed, the decision to be subjected to it lies in your hands since you’re the one suffering from the pain in your lower back. So, even if the spine surgeon wants you to have surgery, you still have all the right in the world to refuse, regardless of what your reasons are.

But for the sake of discussion, you might want to give a minimally invasive back surgery a serious consideration if your ability to function normally is already hindered by your lower back pain and if taking narcotic pain medication isn’t working.