Many ailments, diseases, or accidents can result in numerous problems with your spine. Because different muscles throughout your body are attached to your spine, practically any part of your body can be impacted by spinal problems. Even small issues with your spine can negatively affect your quality of life. If your spinal problems cause severe symptoms, surgery may be necessary to treat them.
Any type of surgical treatment comes with the risk of complications. Surgery should be an option only if its benefits outweigh its risks. In people that suffer from severe spinal damage, surgical treatment may be the most effective or even the only available recovery option. You must still consult a reputable doctor, but here are the seven signs that it’s time to consider spine surgery:
1. You cannot function normally
As you age, your body may become stiffer. However, if issues with your spine prevent you from functioning normally, it may indicate a serious problem. In such a case, this problem may be resolved with proper treatment.
2. You have a deformity
Most spinal deformities like kyphosis and scoliosis imply abnormal curvature of the spine. If diagnosed early, these ailments can be treated with bracing and physical therapy. However, if you’ve neglected to visit a doctor and allowed spinal deformity to progress, surgical treatment may be your only option.
3. You have problems with balance
In moderate and severe cases of cervical stenosis with myelopathy, you may feel imbalanced and experience difficulty walking. For instance, your legs may feel weakened and non-responsive, or you may notice changes in your gait. You may also find yourself requiring more support when standing. Stenosis and myelopathy in your neck can be effectively treated with hemilaminectomy, a surgery aimed at removing parts of the bones in your spine to prevent them from pressuring your spinal nerves. Consider visiting an experienced spine surgeon to determine if you’re a good candidate for this type of surgery.
4. Other treatments have failed
Not many doctors will prescribe spinal surgery without first recommending an exhausting conservative treatment. If you’ve undergone non-invasive treatment and your symptoms continue to worsen, you may want to consult your doctor about surgical treatment.
5. You’ve suffered a serious injury
Most patients have some time to consider their treatment options and make a reasoned decision. Many specialists will choose to avoid surgery if possible, but it’s not always realistic. If you’ve suffered a severe injury, you may require spinal surgery in a short time.
6. Your condition quickly develops
Progressive bone diseases, like osteoporosis, typically get worse over time. If you’ve been diagnosed with a progressive disease, be sure to visit a doctor regularly for monitoring it. During your appointments, remember to ask about your treatment options, including surgical ones. If your disease suddenly worsens, you will be able to make a choice based on the facts.
7. You have signs of nerve damage
If your spinal problems damage your nerves, it can potentially lead to permanent disability. Look for typical symptoms of damaged nerves like tingling and loss of sensation in the leg. If you experience severe symptoms like loss of bowel and bladder control, consider visiting a doctor right away.
The bottom line
If you’re dealing with a spine problem that worsens over time and cannot be treated with conservative methods, don’t let it result in permanent damage to your spine. Instead, consider visiting an experienced spinal surgeon to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for surgery. Surgical treatment can directly increase your quality of life, allowing you to live with less pain and better function.