Back or neck pain may result from activity you normally don’t engage in (lifting, carrying). But, it doesn’t always take such an activity to cause problems. Sources for information on back pain and neck pain generally list at least a dozen or so reasons for the issue. The list may include degenerative-disc disease, herniated disc, bulging disc, spinal stenosis, and other serious conditions. But, that same source may tell you it doesn’t take an unusual action or heavy lifting to bring on this pain.
That same source may tell you the passage of time and “normal” living can also bring on pain. The key to dealing with this successfully involves consulting with a medical expert, such as your Des Plaines, IL spine surgeon, to be sure.
When Should I See a Spinal Surgeon?
There are some specific times for you to see your spinal professional, of course, most of which come after you’ve talked with a medical professional and decided special care is necessary. After all, only about 5% of the millions who experience back/neck pain need surgery. If you’re thinking about making an appointment, here are a few guidelines.
First, you may want to do a bit of your own initial research to learn more about the subject in general. Initial web searches may advise not going to your specialist immediately, but will balance that by advising you not to wait too long. Your personal physician may try:
- Non-steroidal, over-the-counter medications
- Hot/cold applications (alternated)
- Physical therapy
If these methods don’t work after a period of time, it may be time to make the appointment or have your doctor recommend additional treatment.
How Can I Prepare for My Visit?
There are two important ways for you to prepare. The first involves having certain documents and information available, including:
- Photo ID
- List of current medications
- Recent X-rays/MRIs
- Insurance cards and information
You should also be able to provide details on treatment and medications you’ve tried, as well as any medical records that might help. Visit the website of your specialist to provide new-patient information or the necessary forms.
In addition to these medical-history details and information about family history that might be related, you should also prepare a list of your symptoms, and a few questions, such as “What are possible causes of the pain?” and “What are the treatment options?”
Should I Have an MRI Before I See the Surgeon?
This is obviously going to be a personal decision, but magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help your specialist diagnose your condition. This expert will be better able to determine if the problem is caused by disease or injury, for example.
It will also help your medical professionals determine how you’ve responded to treatment you may have had before visiting a spine specialist.
I Don’t Want Surgery. Should I Still See a Spine Surgeon?
One of the most important services your spine surgeon offers is an MRI review, often free as a preliminary service for patients. As mentioned earlier, only a small percentage of people with back pain truly need surgery.
A conversation with your spine surgeon can include discussion of non-operative treatment of certain conditions, as well as minimally invasive surgery. You can also receive valuable and effective information about prevention of back pain. Get in touch with the experts at The Spine Center today to learn more about relieving your neck and back pain. Our surgeons can provide recommendations, comprehensive treatment plans and information about ongoing care.