When considering spinal surgery, always remember two things: once you change the anatomy of your spine, you can't change it back, and always pursue treatment options from least invasive, to most invasive.
This is a common protocol for the treatment of a spinal disc herniation that takes you from least invasive and least cost, to most invasive and most cost.
- Physical medicine treatment: chiropractic or physical therapy
- Oral medications
- Pain injections, typically cortisone epidurals
- Spinal fusion
- Spinal cord simulator implant
If your doctor recommends that you skip one of these steps, there needs to be a good reason, or you are putting yourself at greater risk with higher cost. I wanted to share this protocol because I've met numerous patients over the years that never had these options presented to them, and they ended up with a surgery that was not successful and now have long-term pain and disability. Sometimes spinal surgeries aren't successful, and it's not that they are bad, actually I'm very thankful we have them because they can be absolutely lifesaving. The problem comes when conservative options are skipped, and a surgery is performed that is not favorable, and then you can;t go back and try the conservative options you should have exhausted initially. Make sure you exhaust all your options before having surgery.