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What can patients do to assure proper treatment for their back?

The first thing a patient can do is to get a proper diagnosis. It is best to get diagnosed by a physician who specializes in back problems. If in doubt get a second opinion. Often the patient is diagnosed by one physician, provided conservative treatment by another and operated on by a third. It is best if all can be done at the same facility. Once diagnosis is complete, the patient should make sure he or she understands the problem, why a particular treatment is best, what does it involve and what the expected outcome is. The patient should make an informed decision at all times. If surgery is required, the patient should choose an appropriate hospital or facility has a rehabilitation program to help you recover quicker and stronger, and a program that teaches proper back care to avoid injuries.

What treatments are available for back problems?

Treatment for back pain depends on its causes and severity. It usually begins with rest to allow inflamed or injured tissues to heal. A brace may be required to provide support for the injured back. As the healing completes, a prescribed program of corrective and strengthening low back exercise should be implemented. Some may initially require periodic physical therapy to learn and practice the exercises. People with poor physical fitness are encouraged to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body. For the overweight patients, losing pounds should be part of the treatment. For those with chronic back pain where conservative therapy or surgery is not applicable, pain management is an option. Surgery is recommended only for cases where conservative therapy has failed and surgery offers a beneficial outcome.

When does surgery become an option for treating back pain?

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, less than one in ten persons with back pain will require surgery. Back pain is usually successfully treated with medication and exercise therapy. Surgical intervention is an option for disc conditions that does not respond to other methods of treatment. Several forms of surgery exist, including enzyme injection to dissolve soft disc parts and traditional surgery to remove ruptured disc parts. The enzyme injection has potential for serious side effects. A more recent microsurgery technique offers several advantages, including negligible recurrence. In the case of spinal instabilities, a bone fusion may be advisable in which two vertebrae are fused together for greater stability.