When it comes to spine surgery, sometimes the best option is... no surgery at all. "There are a number of options we will try first before operating on a patient who has back pain," says Todd Albert, MD, a spine surgeon and the President of the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. "In fact, the vast majority of our patients with back pain do not end up requiring surgery."
According to Dr. Albert, conservative, non-invasive techniques should always be used before surgery is considered. These techniques can include rest, medications, injections and physical therapy. Surgery should only be considered when these treatments fail and the doctor is able to pinpoint the exact source of the patient’s back pain.
"Patients are often anxious to have surgery because they believe it will offer a quick fix to their problem," says Dr. Albert. "In some cases this is true but in others it can lead to additional problems down the road."
Dr. Albert recommends that patients with back pain see a physician who specializes in treating disorders and injuries of the spine and who is trained in the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques.