Will I need surgery?

There is a place for surgery and sciatica pain.

Why this matters:

As much as we would like to avoid going under the knife, there are some cases in which surgery is needed. The great news is that there are more options for surgery now than there were about 15 years ago. We have the minimally invasive procedures, like a microdiscectomy, and more involved such as a laminectomy + fusion. Each surgery has their own set of criteria (aka indicators) that would qualify a patient to receive the treatment. This is something that should definitely be discussed with your doctor(s). 

Criteria that we look out for before starting anything include: muscle weakness, instability, changes in bowel/bladder function, saddle anesthesia, general malaise/feeling unwell, fevers/sweats/chills. These are commonly called the medical “red flags”. If you present with any of them, it is important to be cleared by a physician before starting with anything.

Action steps:

Clear yourself of red flags. Look at the criteria above. Do you have any of them? If you do, does your doctor know? 

Learn more about the available spinal surgeries in our podcast episode with Dr. Michael Verdon. 

This may seem rudimentary, but it is extremely vital in your recovery.


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