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Have you been told that you need surgery on your back? Have you been told that there is no other option??

Two months ago, I had a patient come to me asking if he should go ahead with a suggested surgery. They wanted to take out a disk and fuse the joint where the disk had been.

We went through a full assessment and one of the biggest things that stuck out to me is that he didn’t have any of the usual weakness problems that would elicit a surgical option, he had no numbness anywhere in the legs and overall he had full function.

Back surgery is serious! Whether it be a fusion(very serious), a laminectomy or even a microdiscectomy. The decision should never be taken lightly and NONE of these are a “quick fix”. You might have heard stories of people feeling better that week and it CAN happen but typically they still need to get into some type of post surgical rehab program so they can regain full function.

Some never do.(regain full function that is.)

What made this conversation so interesting is that he had a friend around the same age that was having similar back pain and his friend was opting for surgery and the friend was in a hurry to do it.

I never make it my place to tell someone whether or not they SHOULD have surgery but an orthopedic surgeon that specialized in spine, always told me that when someone has muscle wasting and numbness, meaning they are getting weaker in the affected muscle, losing mass, then that is when it is imperative to have surgery to save those muscles.

Something is pressing on the nerve and essentially killing it. When I hear of that situation I always refer out because at that point it is the wellbeing of the person and long term effects.

My client did not have any of that and he wanted to avoid surgery at all costs. What he did have was an inability to sit due to pain, an inability to touch his toes and a severely limited ability to squat.

His friend didn’t have any of those symptoms either but was very sold on his opinion that surgery was the only way.

After a few weeks, my client was moving better, enjoying life again and starting to hit golf balls with only mild discomfort afterward.

His friend had the surgery two weeks after our discussion and today he told me a story that sparked this entire article.

They had a group of 4 that went out golfing and my client was hesitant, he even text me before asking if I thought a full round of golf was ok to which I replied, “You’ve done everything right, go for it.” Then followed up by a text saying don’t be a dummy, if it hurts then stop!!!

He paired off with his friend that had the surgery because they were the two with “bad backs” and to his surprise, he made 2, 3, 4 and into the back 9 with no pain! He couldn’t have been happier for himself but knowing what back pain is like he felt terrible for his friend who sat in the cart getting drunk the whole day.

That’s all he could do. This is a terrible situation where he did not exhaust other options and his pain is still there. He had to take out a loan to afford the surgery so now not only is he having a very difficult time going to work but he is also in a significant amount of debt.

I did not tell you this story to ruin your day but to help you make a better decision, don’t jump too fast to have surgery, it’s not the only option and in his case, it was obviously not the correct option.

If anyone you know is contemplating surgery PLEASE forward this to them, it could save them a lot of heartache AND thousands of dollars in debt.

You don’t have to come to me but if what you’re doing isn’t working look for another recommendation. There are people out there that can help and that dedicate their lives to helping people in pain.

At Ruzicka Performance & Mobility we strive to get people not just out of pain (that is a given) but to get them back to being active and doing the things they love!!

Just imagine if this back pain persists for another 3 or 4 months, what would your life look like? Would you or your family like to be around the person in pain??

Reach out with any questions or concerns, I will answer them all myself and please also take advantage of the FREE back pain relief guide that I’ve written for people in this exact same situation.


P.S. This information could help someone you know and love. Take a chance… When would you stop trying to help someone that you love make a better decision?

Dr. Jonathan Ruzicka
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