The prolonged hours before computers these days have led to a rise in people suffering from neck and back pain. People cope up with chronic back and neck pain in various ways. Some try stretching the affected area, while some try altering heat and cold at the area of discomfort. A lot of people turn to over-the-counter medications for temporary relief. Weakness, numbness, irritation, or pain radiating to the arm are symptoms to show that the patient should stop relying on temporary measures and seek medical help. In case of persistent back pain, it is better to see a neurologist for precise diagnosis and early treatment. This post rounds up a list of reasons why the patient should see a neurologist first for back pain and neck pain.
While there are various reasons for neck and back pain, many cases can align to nerve problems. Since neurologists are the experts in handling nerves, they will be able to efficaciously determine if the back pain is due to nerve damage or compression. Furthermore, a neurologist can use precise diagnostic tests to locate the specific point of the affected nerve. This paves the way for more direct treatment. A neurologist has special training to find the causes of symptoms and also using EMG testing to analyze the injury to nerves and see if it is reversible over a short or long period.
However, conflicts in assessment may arise if a neurologist takes over a patient sent to them by a surgeon friend in the same hospital. The neurologist will have to see the problem through the lens of the surgeon.
Efficient risk assessment
A neurologist is highly trained to pinpoint the causes of symptoms. Some neurologists are trained in Neuroimaging and can study the patient’s imaging studies well, like X-Rays and MRIs. In addition, the neurologist also takes a look at the “electrical system” by using EMG testing and assess the injury to nerves. Assessing the risk options opens the gate to apt treatment. It not only helps in selecting the treatment, but also helps in designing a long-term plan.
Highly conservative treatment
A lot of people who experience back or neck pain, think of booking an appointment with a spinal surgeon. While this may still be a great option, it often ends with surgery. While a neurologist can provide a plethora of alternatives to spinal surgery. Unfortunately, most spinal surgeons have their focus more on surgical treatments, as it is their specialty. Therefore, it is always beneficial to see a neurologist first to ensure that the patient has exhausted more conservative treatment options. The neurologists will possibly try to suggest surgery as the final option.
A precise treatment
On finding an unbiased individual neurologist, the patient is open to precise treatment, which starts from precise diagnosis to recovery. There are cases of back and neck pain in which spinal surgery offers better relief. In such cases, it is beneficial to have a neurologist who offers an accurate diagnosis as the beginning point for your spinal surgeon. Having the neurologist team with the spinal surgeon ultimately benefits the patient by allowing them to have a precise treatment plan.
Provide trustworthy referrals
Unfortunately, some patients can’t benefit from non-surgical treatment, even if the neurologist provides the best care. In cases like highly extreme disc herniation, the bone can accumulate around nerves to an extent where they no longer respond to non-surgical treatments. When non-surgical options are over, an independent neurologist with experience in treating thousands of cases will be able to refer the patient to the best surgeon, one who can perform the surgery based on the diagnosis offered by the neurologist.
Long term association with patients
Surgeons don’t generally be in touch with patients with back pain over the long term after the surgery. The last time a patient will see their surgeon is likely during the follow-up visits a month or two after surgery, which is long before the patient gets fully recovered. There are plenty of cracks to fall through in the subsequent period without guidance. The worst part is, the patient may return to the same posture and muscle conditioning which was the reason for the condition in the first place.
If a surgeon suggests the patient physical therapy at all, they will leave it up to the patient to pick a physical therapist off the internet. With a therapist, the patient will find themselves to be a generalist and will also have a targeted rehab. A neurologist will stay connected with the patient till complete recovery.
Dedicated focus on back injury
Back injuries shouldn’t be taken easily, as they are a long-term problem. To fix them needs a great deal of commitment both from the patient and the neurologist. That commitment can improve the health of patients drastically and keep them out of surgery. Complete care is possible only with a reputed team of nurses, physicians, and physical therapists all along the way. When the patient starts consulting with a Neurologist, they will have the continued support of the best team until recovery without any discomfort in terms of care.
Bottom line Seeing a neurologist first to discuss one’s back pain will give the patient a very different experience compared to starting with a surgeon. The neurologists will go down a determined path that starts with a neurologist. Spine surgery cost in India is less than the complete course of treatment with a neurologist. However, for long-term benefits see a neurologist first before considering spine surgery.