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how to get dr to look at surgery

I have been in chronic pain for 7 months now due to herniated disc in C5-C6. I have been seeing a neurologist and doesn't beleive I need surgery, I have tried everything from p/t to accupuncture, symptoms get worse. He has referred me to an ortho surgeon. My question is at what point will a doctor say surgeon is only thing left. I feel like I am getting pushed around and treated like its all in my head.


  • All surgeons are going to recommend and try the conservative treatments first, and have them fail before surgery is given any consideration, in part because there may be something less invasive that may relieve the pain, and secondly because surgery is not always an option/necessary.
    Herniations , by themselves don't necessarily require surgery, unless the herniation is in contact with other structures in the spine, causing nerve or spinal canal compression. Many herniations can resolve on their own, given enough time, and a small herniation that isn't in contact with anything else in the spine doesn't need surgery in most cases......it depends on the direction of the herniation, and if there is anything else going on.
    Surgery isn't a cure for pain, and can result in worsening pain.....surgery is done to correcct an anatomical or nerve related problem.
    How long did you go to physical therapy for? What did they do in physical therapy? Have you tried aqua therapy, or massage.........are you seeing a spine surgeon for consultation to give you other treatment ideas? What about injections, or TENS?

  • surfdee -

    I noticed you said you saw a neurologist. Is there any chance you can get your Primary care physician to recommend a neuroSURGEON in your area? I think they might be more able to help you determine what is causing your pain, by way of an MRI, electromyelogram (EMG), etc. That way, you might be able to address more conservative methods of treatment until surgery is deemed necessary.

    I know it seems like everything is moving in slow motion, but you might help that by getting your PCP to become an advocate for your needs. Good luck. Don't give up.

  • a neurosurgeon with films in hand will give you more insight.
    also true not all herniation's need surgery but not all should wait so long, it's a fine line.
    I was given exercises and they were excruciating. I ended up being able to go in the pool only...I waited too long simply cuz i had the herniation's and just kept abusing my back in my profession. you know your own body and it'll tell you when something is better or worse....any bowel and bladder involvement warrants a call to your doc.
    take care
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