Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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When Is Back Surgery The Right Option?


Back Pain is the second most common problem for which people seek medical attention in the United States. For some, back pain will become a chronic, lifelong battle. The causes of back pain are many and often difficult to diagnose. Standard treatments range from non-invasive modalities such as pain medications and physical therapy to back surgery.

Statistics show that 1.2 million back surgeries are performed in the United States each year, up from 190,000 surgeries performed in 1983. This alarming increase can be attributed to the introduction of less invasive procedures and society’s need for a “quick fix”. Another startling statistic is that 20% of all surgical patients will have another surgery within 10 years due to persistent symptoms, progression of degenerative changes or treatment complications.

This is not to say that spinal surgery is not a viable treatment option for certain patients, and for the lucky ones who do benefit, it is certainly worth the risks and the cost. So, how do you know if back surgery is the right option for you? The very simple answer is patient education. The health care provider should give the patient solid information on the cause of their back pain, conservative treatment options and self care instructions before discussing surgery. Patients should ask their health care providers:

  1. Are there non-invasive treatment options that may work?
  2. What is the evidence favoring surgery in their particular case?
  3. What is the long term outcome of the recommended treatment?
  4. Would the improvements last, and if so, for how long?
  5. What is the overall safety of the procedure?
  6. How much experience do you have performing this procedure?
  7. Can I talk to other patients that have undergone this procedure?

Patients need to play an active role in their own healthcare. Undergoing back surgery is a drastic option for dealing with back pain, and some experts feel that less than 1% of back pain sufferers need aggressive surgical treatments

Non-invasive treatments such as physical therapy, electrical stimulation, and motion therapy have been shown to be effective in treating back pain. One such device that is providing relief to many patients is the SpineSix BioMotion Spinal System.

The SpineSix is computer controlled motion therapy for the spine. Designed by leading spine specialists and engineers, the SpineSix mimics normal spine mechanics and physiological movements in a non-weight bearing environment.

Evidence shows that motion:

  1. Reduces pain
  2. Decreases muscle hypertonicity
  3. Increases range of motion
  4. Increases blood flow and nutrition to the affected area
  5. Reduces swelling

SpineSix moves both the lumbar and cervical regions of the spine, either simultaneously or separately, in precise and clinician determined degrees of motion. The SpineSix is safe and effective for pre-operative, post-operative, and non-operative conditions.

Spine surgery may be necessary for some patients, but non-invasive treatment options should always be tried first. SpineSix is showing positive results in many patients. Kelly D., a back pain patient in Stuart, Florida stated “I firmly believe that SpineSix has saved me from having major back surgery, or alternately living the rest of my life in pain.”

Patient education is key to making the right treatment decisions. Talk to your healthcare provider until you feel comfortable that the chosen treatment is right for you, and ask them about SpineSix therapy.