Talking with Your Spine Surgeon – Neurosurgeon / Orthopedic Spine Surgeon
Communicating about your back pain is the first step in setting down the road to recovery. The importance of communicating honestly with your physician cannot be overstated here. A physician’s ability to prescribe an effective course of treatment depends upon the information he or she receives from you. Considering that most chronic back pain is a result of lifestyle choices, this means your input could go a long way toward reducing your recovery time.
Physicians will likely ask you questions regarding your work and recreational histories, including detailed questions about any injuries. Be forthcoming with details about your pain levels, including descriptions of the location, duration, and intensity of your pain. Note how your pain levels change as you perform different activities, and let your doctors know which activities make it worse.
A physician arrives at a diagnosis after taking a detailed history from the patient about their Chief Complaint (CC) . They then ask about a History of Present Illness (HPI) , which are detailed questions about what causes the symptoms, when they began, what makes them better or worse, how long they last. The physician also asks about issues such as fevers (which might indicate presence of an infection) or a history of cancer (which might indicate that cancer may be involved). The physician will also ask about family history, which may play a role in genetically inherited disorders. The physician then will perform a comprehensive detailed physical examination, focusing on where the problem lies. Then, the physician will order additional tests if needed. These may include imaging studies, nerve studies (EMG/NCV), bone density studies, X rays, CT scans.
If your pain levels are severe and are not resolved with conservative treatments like physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs, you may wish to consult a spine surgeon – neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon (though this will likely require a referral from your regular physician or specialist). Major back surgery is costly and necessitates a long recovery time, so doctors generally do not recommend it unless a patient’s chronic back pain is not adequately mediated by other treatments. Neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons may be able to provide you with helpful consultation on how to proceed with your treatment, but just like general physicians, surgeons depend on accurate information from you to find the best course of treatment. Prior to your back surgery, surgeons consult imaging exams (magnetic resonance imaging, x-rays, computerized tomography scans CT Scans) in order to better understand the cause behind your pain levels.
Both prior to surgery and during post-operative care, back pain patients should take advantage of anti-inflammatory drugs to regain mobility and reduce their pain levels. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen and ibuprofen help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can be crucial during post-operative care depending on the length and depth of the incisions involved. Note that after a spinal fusion, your surgeon may want you to stay away from taking anti-inflammatory medications because they can impede the fusion process. Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing response to muscle trauma, but inflammation and arthritis along the spinal column can lead to compressed spinal nerves in patients with degenerated spinal disks (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae).
Continue providing detailed information about your recovery to your spine surgeon (neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon) during your period of post-operative care. You will likely be subject to several post-operative checkups to monitor your progress. Remember that physicians will sometimes make adjustments according to the information you give them, so take detailed notes regarding your pain levels and provide truthful information at all times.
Physicians at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) have significant experience treating patients with a variety of causes of low back pain and neck pain. Because of their diverse experience with conservative as well as surgical modes of treatment, they approach each patient with the treatments options which are best for the goals, desires and expectations of that patient.
The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.
Patients suffering from neck pain or lower back pain, or who have been told they may require a spine surgery, can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at
……. Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE
Keywords: back pain, orthopedic surgeon, neurosurgeon, pain levels, anti-inflammatory drugs, Houston, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City