Monthly Archives: June 2016

What to Ask at a Spine Surgery Consultation

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Just as a surgeon needs to know all relevant patient information before operating, it’s critical for a patient to know about the procedure he or she is about to undergo. That is why it’s important for patients to have a list of questions ready for a spine surgery consultation.


What Type of Questions to Ask

From filling out new patient forms to meeting with a new spine specialist, a spine surgery consultation visit can be a little overwhelming. Having a list of questions ready for the doctor when you arrive will ensure all concerns are addressed and questions answered before undergoing surgery. But what type of questions should be asked?

Questions to Ask About Diagnosis, Treatment and Procedure

Be sure to ask in detail about the condition that brings you to a spine specialist, what their diagnosis is, how they came to that conclusion and the treatment options available. Some questions to ask include:

  • What is your diagnosis of the symptoms?
  • What treatment options are available? Which course of treatment is recommend and why?
  • If surgery is recommended – please describe in detail what the surgery will entail, from start to finish. Who will be performing the surgery and how long will it take?
  • What are the risk factors and possible complications of the surgery? What are the long-term effects?
  • What can I do on my end to prepare for treatment and surgery to ensure it is as successful as possible?

Questions to Ask About Postoperative Care

Just as you asked questions about your diagnosis and the treatment plan it entails, you should ask questions about the postoperative period. Some questions to consider could be:

  • What should I expect my recovery time to be?
  • What does the post-operative process involve? What can I expect during this period of recovery?
  • How long before I can go back to normal activities, including school or work?
  • What are some complications I should look out for during my recovery time?
  • What should I do if I notice any unusual symptoms?
  • What are your expectations for recovery?

Find Out About a Surgeons Professional Background

Patients should never be afraid to ask specialists about their experience or history. When asking questions during your consultation, don’t be afraid to ask about a surgeon’s professional background and experience with the type of treatment that is being suggested. Some questions to ask include:

  • Have you performed this surgery before? What is your success rate?
  • How long have you been practicing? How long have you been performing this kind of surgery?
  • Are you fellowship-trained?

When it comes to spine surgery preparation, a great specialist knows that providing the patient with as much information as possible makes him or her feel at ease and comfortable, which will make the healing process smoother. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Pain Relief Struggles: How Do Vices Affect My Orthopedic Health?

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Pain relief from orthopedic conditions greatly depends on the body’s physical condition as a whole. This is why vices can have lasting negative effects on musculoskeletal health. But how exactly do these vices such as smoking, drinking, overeating or leading a sedentary lifestyle affect the way a person heals from orthopedic conditions?

How does smoking affect orthopedic health?

Smoking has been linked to a number of cancers, emphysema, heart disease, diabetes and strokes, among other illnesses. Smoking also increases the risk for osteoporosis as it weakens bones, reducing their blood supply and slowing their absorption of calcium. In addition, it breaks down the estrogen that bones need to stay strong and slows down the production of bone-forming cells. All together it amounts to weak and brittle bones. Based on this information, it is no surprise that studies have found that elderly smokers have a 30-40% greater chance of breaking their hip.

However, the consequences of smoking on orthopedic health don’t just apply in your golden years. Smokers, who are athletic in nature, are affected by shortness of breath and in turn, decreased oxygen delivery to the muscles. In addition, smoking weakens the muscles and joints, increasing the risk for bursitis, arthritis, tendinitis, injury, fractures and tears in tendons and ligaments.

How does drinking affect orthopedic health?

It was once believed that only alcoholics were at a greater risk for health consequences, but now it’s believed that binge drinkers are also susceptible. Alcohol has long been associated with liver disease, pancreatic cancer, heart problems and more. It has also been associated with orthopedic health conditions such as an increase in bone fractures, ultimately slowing down the process of bone healing, making those fractures more difficult from which to recover.

How does overeating and a sedentary lifestyle affect orthopedic health?

Smoking and drinking aren’t the only vices harmful to bone and spine health. If you’re seeking chronic pain relief and you live an inactive lifestyle, or you find yourself eating more than you should and gaining weight, it’s important to understand the correlation between those vices and your health. Weight issues coupled with a lack of exercise can greatly increase the risk of back pain. Inactivity combined with extra weight puts pressure and strain on your joints and spine, putting you at a greater risk for sciatica, herniated discs and pinched nerves.

These vices negatively affect bone and spine health, making chronic pain relief more difficult to achieve. Cutting out harmful vices such as smoking and drinking as well as getting into an active lifestyle will empower you to regain control of your orthopedic health. Take back your health and find your way to lasting pain relief!