When to See a Spine Surgeon
Many people will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. In most cases this pain is muscular in origin and will run its course over time. Most individuals seek advice initially from their primary care doctor or in a medical clinic, which is appropriate initially for most back, and neck pain. Some patients may require pain medications, antispasmodics, antinflamatories and physical therapy to overcome pain and immobility.
It is often unclear when to seek help from a spine surgeon. Though spine surgeons are specialists who perform surgery on the spine, many office visits may result in medical treatment, and surgery is usually not considered unless conservative options to treat back pain have failed. Conservative measures may include pain medication, antiinflammatories, steroids either by mouth or in an injection, physical therapy and acupuncture. If your primary care physician or practitioner diagnoses you with a back problem you should not delay seeking a consultation from a spine surgeon if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Unrelenting pain radiating down an arm or leg
- Pain that is unrelieved after more than a week of anti-inflammatory medications, or steroids
- Back pain accompanied by fever, chills, night sweats and weight loss
- Loss of ability to move an arm or a leg, or weakness in a previously functioning limb
- Inability to control the urinary bladder or bowel function
If you have one or more of the above symptoms please seek consultation from a specialty trained board certified spine surgeon for further evaluation.