Great Medical Practice: Premier Orthopaedics – Leaving Spine Pain Untreated May Cause Permanent Harm
Spine pain doesn’t care how old you are or what great shape you are in—neither does arthritis, stenosis, nerve compression, or other spine-related conditions. Too often though, patients assume that being young or generally active precludes them from serious spinal conditions. These are potentially life-altering misconceptions.
Conditions affecting the spine can cause permanent damage and even contribute to additional health problems when patients fail to seek treatment. Your young age, preconceptions about surgery, or lack of knowledge should not prevent you from visiting the spine specialists at Premier Orthopaedics.
The risks of delaying treatment for spine problems are simply too great to ignore.
“I tell my patients all the time that when you do surgery on the spine for the appropriate reasons, the outcomes are tremendous. It can change the quality of a patient’s life dramatically.”
Those Suffering from Spine-Related Pain Require an Evaluation by a Spine Specialist
Those with spine-related pain and discomfort know that something is wrong. And yet, countless individuals who could benefit from medical intervention leave their spine conditions untreated.
“Many patients finally come to us reporting painful conditions that have been present for months, years, or even decades,” according to Matthew Schaeffer, M.D., a non-operative spine specialist at Premier Orthopaedics.
“Some people have experienced back pain that eventually goes away on its own, so they don’t bother going to the doctor for subsequent ailments,” says Jeffrey Citara, D.O., a non-operative spine specialist at Premier Orthopaedics. “With COVID-19, we’ve seen people putting off medical treatment for entirely new reasons like fear of viral spread. Insurance issues also deter people from seeking help.”
Despite such roadblocks to care, Dr. Citara stresses the importance of seeing a spine specialist who can identify the source of your pain and recommend the appropriate treatment.
“When there is a large disc herniation or significant spinal stenosis, the patient could have nerve damage,” Citara explains. “If they don’t get treatment within a certain period of time, then symptoms like weakness, numbness, and nerve dysfunction could become permanent.”
“Chronic pain can force the mind and body to adapt in unusual—and often negative—ways,” Dr. Schaeffer says. Those who endure these symptoms may compensate in biomechanically unnatural ways (like changing their gait), causing a “domino effect” of new pain and health problems.
Premier Orthopaedics Offers Several Treatments for Spine Problems
Dr. Citara estimates that 80% of patients who visit Premier Orthopaedics can alleviate their spine issues with non-operative treatment. Those who suffer from untreated pain may not know that core strengthening exercises, stretches, and physical therapy could eliminate and prevent the recurrence of pain.
In some cases, though, surgery is necessary. Mark Tantorski, D.O., spine surgeon at Premier Orthopaedics, notes that each patient’s symptoms determine their treatment course: “Some say ‘spine surgery is the last resort.’ That tends to be true, but not always. I think of it as ‘when is surgery the best resort?”
Patients with certain genetic predispositions and congenital spine defects like spondylolisthesis may be at a heightened risk of spine-related problems, regardless of their age or lifestyle. Athletes and professionals in strenuous lines of work may also be at risk.
Dr. Tantorski has seen patients “in virtually every age level, from teens-on” suffering from spine arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and other common sources of pain. He has also seen the immense benefits of surgical intervention in such cases.
Even with the documented benefits of surgery, caution and conservatism are essential to Premier Orthopaedics’ treatment approach.
“Typically, ‘conservative treatment options’ like physical therapy and injection therapy are discussed, and often that path is taken before we say ‘alright, let’s move forward to surgery,’” Tantorski explains.
Take Action Today to Relieve Your Spine Pain
Spine problems can limit your potential and may cause irreparable harm if left untreated. Regardless of your age or circumstances, you must address any spine-related symptoms that you’re experiencing, especially if they are causing pain or a lack of mobility. For more information on spine-related issues or to schedule an appointment, visit PremierOrtho.com.
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