Sudden or degenerative spinal damage such as herniated discs and ligament injuries can mean dealing with daily neck and back pain. Whether from a bad fall or a degenerative condition like arthritis, damage to the spine can negatively impact many aspects of your day-to-day life and lower your overall quality of life. If you’re living with constant pain that hasn’t responded adequately to nonsurgical treatments, it’s wise to discuss surgical options.

Top-quality orthopedic surgeon Michael Klassen, MD, routinely diagnoses and treats a range of orthopedic injuries, including spine problems. Spine treatment usually starts with nonsurgical approaches unless your provider determines your spine problem is serious enough to require surgery immediately. By the time most patients consult with an orthopedic surgeon, they’ve already tried nonsurgical treatments.

If you fall into this category, your first thought is likely, “am I a candidate for spine surgery?” Keep reading to learn about some circumstances where spine surgery is an appropriate option.

What does spine surgery involve?

Your spine allows you to move about your day smoothly, walking, running, bending, and lifting things. Damage can occur for many reasons. Everything from sports injuries to age-related breakdown of any of the spine components can lead to pain that keeps you from enjoying your life.

When nonsurgical approaches fail to relieve pain and restore function, it’s wise to consult with an orthopedic surgeon. There are several approaches to spine surgery. After a thorough evaluation of your spine problem and medical history, Dr. Klassen will discuss the most appropriate surgical approach to repair your spine.

This may involve removing a damaged disc pressing against nerve roots and causing pain or relieving pressure by widening the space where nerve roots travel through and exit your spine.

Spine surgery is appropriate in the following situations:

  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal deformity
  • Spinal instability
  • Spondylolysis
  • Fractured vertebra

There are many other circumstances where spine surgery is appropriate. Dr. Klassen will meet with you to discuss your options at length.

Who is a candidate for spine surgery?

As with any procedure, spine surgery isn’t appropriate for everyone. Patients who respond to nonsurgical treatment should stick to their treatment plan. Certain older adults are best suited for nonsurgical approaches and at an increased risk for complications may not be good candidates for spine surgery.

Minimally invasive spine surgery allows doctors to access the spine through small incisions. This approach carries less risk and provides a faster recovery. Dr. Klassen will work closely with you to determine if you’re a good candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. Each surgery is customized to the patient and your specific spine problem.

Generally, candidates with symptoms of nerve compression, who are non-smokers, active, and otherwise healthy experience good outcomes with minimally-invasive spine surgery.

Help for chronic neck and back pain

Scheduling a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon is the first step on the path to getting back to a pain-free life. To schedule a visit with Dr. Klassen, call today. Our offices are located in Monterey.

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