Indications for Surgery
There is one absolute indication for surgery on the spine and that is progressive weakness. Close to this one parameter is weakness which is already present. If it is mild and does not or will not interfere with your lifestyle, then perhaps surgery will not be necessary. For example a sedentary person who’s main hobby is TV, then perhaps a little weakness in lifting the big toe is of no concern. However, a tennis player or an active outdoors individual clearly needs the strength, even in his great toe, to perform at his/her best athletic ability and enjoyment.
This is once again relative. A little numbness in an individual’s little finger may be of no concern to most of us. Yet, once again, a piano or guitar player, or perhaps an avid typist, will be moderately affected in their future performance.
This is actually the most common indication for surgery on the spine. This can be severe which may be uncontrollable with narcotic medications, or mild and more of an annoyance. Usually pain can be controlled long enough for the most common disorders of the spine to heal themselves. Once again this is a judgment call and must be a joint decision between you and your physician.