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medication

When SSI Doctors Prescribe Opioids

medicationOpioid abuse reached a crisis level in 2018, but prescribing opioids under the guidance of a physician in therapeutic doses is still an efficient and effective way to alleviate back pain. The physicians at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) are highly trained specialists in back pain management. Your spinal medicine physician determines the cause of your pain and then finds a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Your doctors realize that you mainly just want a better quality of life. Back pain not only keeps you from doing the things you love, it keeps you from doing the things you need to do. Left untreated, chronic back pain can even lead to anxiety and depression. But getting you on your feet and back to your daily activities doesn’t necessarily have to involve prescribing opioids or long-term treatment plans.

Types of Back Pain and Treatment Options

Prescribing opioids is rarely the first option. There are many causes of back pain, ranging from poor posture to accidental injury to damage because of inflammatory disease. Determining the type of back pain helps guide your doctor in the course of your treatment.

Common causes of back pain and associated treatments include:

  • Poor posture. A common source of back pain, it’s easily treated with physical therapy and education about proper posture and alignment.
  • Chronic back pain. Chronic pain can be a result of an injury or accident. You may experience great improvement with several types of injections such as:
  • Pain from cancer. Cancer in your abdomen can be relieved by a celiac plexus block.
  • Severe back pain due to injury. An accident or degenerative disease may require surgery. Prescribing opioids and physical therapy may also be a part of your treatment.

A healthy back is comprised of a series of nerves, discs, bones and ligaments, and each has a specific function. They all must be in proper alignment, too. When any element is injured or diseased, the result is back pain. Treating back pain at its source not only helps relieve your pain, but also prevents further damage.

What You Need to Know About Opioids

Your SSI doctors can determine if prescribing opioids is the right course of treatment for you. If you’re prescribed opioids, a few factors you should know include:

  • Opioids can be a successful part of your treatment plan after back surgery or for chronic pain that has no treatment.
  • There are several types of opioids, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine.
  • Opioids are highly addictive. Improperly using them can lead to abuse and addiction.
  • Opioids have side effects such as nausea, confusion, hallucinations and constipation.
  • Opioids should only be taken as prescribed by your physician.

There are many causes of back pains and many more types of treatments. Surgical and non-surgical options are discussed as part of your customized treatment at SSI. Prescribing opioids may be necessary for long-term use if you’re in chronic pain. Follow the guidance of your physicians as they develop a treatment plan that’s unique and right for you.

back-stretch

Top 10 Stretches for a Bad Back

back-stretchStretching out your bad back carries added benefits — along with relief from nagging, persistent back pain. Increased blood flow delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the areas of your body that need it the most, including your back.

When you stretch, maximize this benefit by breathing fully. If you find yourself holding you breath during a stretch, resume breathing at once! Your doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) want you to do your bad back stretches properly. To that end, they’ll let you know how much you can stretch, based on your current condition and treatment schedule.

The Benefits of Bad Back Stretches

Stretching on a daily basis is a good habit to develop. It’s a good motivator for developing other healthy habits, too. Besides easing your discomfort now, it prevents further back pain in the future. Other benefits from bad back stretches include:

  • Stress relief
  • Tension release
  • Increased flexibility
  • Better posture
  • Satisfaction from doing something beneficial for yourself

When stretching, pay attention to how your body responds. If you’re feeling pain, it may be that you’re overextending your muscles or tendons. Back off. It’s possible to hurt yourself while doing any stretch, so don’t push it, especially when starting out.

It’s All in the Technique

Techniques for bad back stretches vary greatly. Standing techniques are usually a bit easier to do because there’s not a lot of getting up and down required. Ground stretching is beneficial because the load of your weight is taken off of your frame. Use a yoga mat or do these on a carpeted area. Here are the top 10 standing stretches and ground stretches for a bad back:

Standing Stretches:

  1. Reach for the sky
    • Raise your hands above your head
    • Reach higher and higher until you find a comfortable height
    • Imagine you’re actually getting taller
    • This stretch helps with sciatic-related pain and corrects your posture
  2. Touch your toes
    • Standing with your legs straight and together, bend at the waist as far as you can go, with your arms loosely hanging
    • Just hang in this fashion for 20 to 30 seconds for a great bad back stretch
  3. Do the twist
    • Place your hands on your waist or hold them straight out to the sides
    • Rotate back and forth at the waist, fully extending yourself
    • Keep a steady flow, not too fast and not too slow
  4. The arc
    • Take a wide stance with your feet outside of shoulder width
    • Raise your right arm up and arc it over your head to the left while bending at your hips
    • Repeat with your left arm arcing to the right
  5. Shoulder lean
    • Bend your knees and place your hands on them
    • Slowly lean one shoulder in towards your center
    • Hold then repeat with the other side

Ground Stretches:

  1. All fours
    • Take a position as if you were going to give a child a horseback ride
    • Arch your back upwards without straining
    • Then arch your back downward
    • Hold each pose or alternate to customize your own bad back stretches
  2. The seal
    • From all fours, lower yourself and lay face down with hands still supporting your body
    • Do a sort of push up but don’t include the legs; only raise your torso
    • Arch your back in and raise your head up
    • Hold that pose for 30 seconds, release and repeat three or four times
  3. Deep prayer
    • This is one of the most comfortable bad back stretches
    • Kneel on the ground and place your hands side by side on the floor in front of you
    • Slowly slide your hands forward to bring your head towards the floor
  4. The corkscrew
    • Lay flat on your back with your left leg bent
    • Cross your right leg over the left
    • Apply light pressure with your hands
    • Repeat for the other side
  5. Leg pull
    • Lay on your back, bending one leg at a time
    • Pull your leg in toward your chest
    • Hold the stretch
    • Repeat with the other leg

Caregivers’ Guide to Back Surgery Recovery

Helping a family member or friend through back surgery recovery can be an exhausting yet fulfilling feat. But you have to keep a healthy balance between delivering the best care to someone after surgery and not overworking yourself. Caring for yourself as much as you care for your loved one creates the best environment for everyone.

As an unpaid, non-professional caregiver, your primary role is making sure that the recovering person follows the doctor’s requests and recommendations. That often means alternating periods of rest and exercise, followed by providing companionship and ensuring a safe home environment.

Providing a Safe Home Environment

During a person’s back surgery recovery at home, the worst thing that can happen is a fall or other accident. You must maintain clear pathways with adequate space for your patient to walk, perhaps with a walker at first, followed by crutches or a cane. As the primary caregiver, your doctor at the Southeaster Spine Institute (SSI) gives you instructions and recommendations that may include:

  • Getting the recovering person non-slip socks and shoes
  • Ridding the house of potential hazards, including low furniture and clutter around the house
  • Installing a raised toilet seat
  • Placing slide-resistant rugs over tile floors in the bathrooms, kitchens and elsewhere
  • Keeping pets from getting underfoot, even if they have to temporarily leave the house

The majority of the safety precautions during back surgery recovery involve keeping your friend or loved one safe. Healing from back surgery doesn’t take as long as it used to, thanks to minimally invasive procedures, but the first week recuperating at home is the most dangerous, since back muscles are still weak.

Giving a Helping Hand

For the most part, providing help to a friend or family member after surgery means doing those simple things that your charge can’t do while healing. At first, you may need to do everything from cooking and serving meals to caring for pets or children and running errands. Even simple tasks like doing some light cleaning can help the patient concentrate on getting better.

Providing a positive atmosphere is another vital role for you. An encouraging attitude helps everyone’s mental health and shortens the recovery time. You’d be surprised at the healing power of a smile. Naming yourself the caregiver carries a lot of responsibilities, so be sure you have the availability and mental capacity to perform the job as well as possible. And maintain your own personal downtime, perhaps calling in reinforcements when you need a break.

Responsibilities of the Caregiver

A nutritious diet helps the body grow stronger. Whether you cook or order in, make sure the food reflects a balanced diet. Companionship aids back surgery recovery, too; it takes a person’s mind off any discomfort and makes the time pass more quickly. Also, have other distractions ready, such as movies, games, reading and music. Finally, if your SSI physical therapist gave you the preferred exercise schedule, you can get your friend or loved one up and walking around.

Make sure you and the person you’re caring for understand your responsibilities before you start. You’re there to provide support, not to be a gopher. Whether it’s light housework or driving to follow-up doctor appointments, you’re likely doing it out of love. When you recognize your boundaries and help your charge get stronger, the back surgery recovery goes smoother and you both feel better all the way around!

10 Best Sports Warmups

You wouldn’t put a pie in the oven without preheating, would you? That would be inefficient. In the same way, you shouldn’t do a full-blown workout before you warm up your body, especially if you’ve already had an injury.

Since your spine and back muscles bear most of your body’s weight, some of the more common types of injuries occur to your back and spine. A sudden twist or increase in the weight it has to bear can cause serious injury. A pre-workout warmup reduces the risk of injury or at least keeps your back injury from getting worse.

Tips and Tricks

Sports warmups don’t have to be lengthy or strenuous. Generally, 10 minutes can suffice — or until you break a sweat. It takes some athletes longer to get warmed up. Then they keep their muscles warmed up throughout the activity by jogging or running in place.

Just like having good form and hydrating during a workout, knowing a few tips and tricks will enhance and improve your sports warmups. When you do a warmup, try to:

  • Use your entire body
  • Suit your sports warmup to your activity
  • Do dynamic activities instead of static stretching
  • Avoid stress on any part of your body if it hurts during warmups
  • Practice proper form, especially for core warmups

Follow the Rule

People often stretch before a workout. While stretching is great, experts now say that static stretching — that is, holding a position — could be as bad as jumping straight into a workout, especially for core muscles. If you start by stretching cold, it could put undue stress on your spine. Dynamic sports warmups, which include cardio and stretching, prepare your body more completely.

You should also match your warmup to the activity you’ll be doing. If you’re going on a run, for example, start by jogging. If you’re biking, pedal slowly until you’re ready to hit higher intensity. There are even warmups for other activities, like weightlifting or actual games.

The 10 Best Sports Warmups

Depending on whether you’re doing cardio, weights, playing a sport or something that involves all three, the following warmups help get your blood pumping and involve your whole body. Talk to your doctors and physical therapist about which exercises are best for your situation, especially if you’ve just had back surgery or are undergoing treatment for back pain.

There are several core warmups you can do if you’re specifically going to work out your back. They should be done before lifting or activities that have a lot of rapid movement. The toe-touch is a good dynamic stretch that can protect your back while you play. The 10 best warmups for any activity are:

  1. Jumping rope
  2. Jumping jacks
  3. Jogging
  4. Biking
  5. Lunges
  6. Squats
  7. Push-ups
  8. Arm circles
  9. High kicks
  10. Toe touches

Bonus Sports Warmups

Even though you’re about to work out your body, one of the most important warmups you can do is a mental warm up. Preparing your mind with as much energy as your body improves technique, skill, coordination and even stamina.

When preparation and focus meet your instincts on the field, the obstacles you encounter are no match for you. Work and play harder, longer and better by taking an extra 10 minutes to do a warmup, especially if you’re nursing an injured back or spine. Give your body the chance to perform at its best.

walking

Health Update: Running vs. Walking

walkingReap the benefits of walking and put yourself on a path to a healthy life. From relieving everyday back pains to easing stress symptoms, the benefits you receive from daily walking are astounding. When you walk every day, you get stronger and healthier — just by doing the bare minimum. Imagine how healthy you can get when you pick it up a notch.

Creating and maintaining a routine that involves walking for 30 minutes at least three times a week provides health benefits beyond keeping fit. Motivating yourself to keep to a schedule for regular walking ensures both your mental and physical health remains in check. It’s exactly what the doctor — and your spinal physician at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) — ordered!

Running on Empty

Walking is by far more optimal when compared to running when you have back issues. But studies show that runners tend to be faster in everything they do and also keep their weight down more easily. Fast walking, under a supervised plan of action, can get you many of the same results.

The benefits of walking outweigh those of running when it comes to creating other side effects, as well. While both forms of exercise serve as cardio workouts, running burns many more calories, mile for mile. But running, which is a high-impact exercise, can cause:

  • Increased pain in your lower back
  • Sciatica problems
  • Muscle strains
  • Lower back muscle sprains
  • Herniated discs
  • Shin splints

Easy Benefits of Walking Daily

If you’re not very active in general, creating a simple schedule can enhance your motivation. If you’ve recently had back surgery or are undergoing treatment for back pain, discuss your plans for walking with your doctor and physical therapist to get the green light on your plans.

Once you’re walking, even a little, every day, you can expect to see physical changes. Some of the important benefits of walking include:

  • Weight maintenance
  • Prevention and management of certain chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Improved mood
  • Suppression of depressed feelings
  • Strengthened bones and muscles
  • Reduced back pain
  • Improved balance and coordination

Walking Tips and Techniques

Follow proper walking techniques or you may end up with many of the same side effects you’d get from running — without the added benefit of more rapid weight loss. Keep your body relaxed and in an upright position with your head facing forward. Engage your core to keep your posture erect to add to the benefits of walking.

Other tips to get the most out of your walking regimen without straining your back include:

  • Start walking slowly for five minutes to warm up your joints. Recent studies show that stretching is best reserved for after your workout.
  • Place your heel on the ground first, rolling onto your toe to avoid injury.
  • Keep your arms swinging naturally at your sides.
  • Hang on to the rails when using a treadmill.
  • Walk in the deep end of a pool wearing a float belt on days when your back is acting up.
  • Walk fast, but not so fast that you can’t keep up a conversation.
  • Aim for 30 minutes two to three times a week.

Caregivers’ Guide to Back Surgery Recovery

Helping a family member or friend through back surgery recovery can be an exhausting yet fulfilling feat. But you have to keep a healthy balance between delivering the best care to someone after surgery and not overworking yourself. Caring for yourself as much as you care for your loved one creates the best environment for everyone.

As an unpaid, non-professional caregiver, your primary role is making sure that the recovering person follows the doctor’s requests and recommendations. That often means alternating periods of rest and exercise, followed by providing companionship and ensuring a safe home environment.

Providing a Safe Home Environment

During a person’s back surgery recovery at home, the worst thing that can happen is a fall or other accident. You must maintain clear pathways with adequate space for your patient to walk, perhaps with a walker at first, followed by crutches or a cane. As the primary caregiver, your doctor at the Southeaster Spine Institute (SSI) gives you instructions and recommendations that may include:

  • Getting the recovering person non-slip socks and shoes
  • Ridding the house of potential hazards, including low furniture and clutter around the house
  • Installing a raised toilet seat
  • Placing slide-resistant rugs over tile floors in the bathrooms, kitchens and elsewhere
  • Keeping pets from getting underfoot, even if they have to temporarily leave the house

The majority of the safety precautions during back surgery recovery involve keeping your friend or loved one safe. Healing from back surgery doesn’t take as long as it used to, thanks to minimally invasive procedures, but the first week recuperating at home is the most dangerous, since back muscles are still weak.

Giving a Helping Hand

For the most part, providing help to a friend or family member after surgery means doing those simple things that your charge can’t do while healing. At first, you may need to do everything from cooking and serving meals to caring for pets or children and running errands. Even simple tasks like doing some light cleaning can help the patient concentrate on getting better.

Providing a positive atmosphere is another vital role for you. An encouraging attitude helps everyone’s mental health and shortens the recovery time. You’d be surprised at the healing power of a smile. Naming yourself the caregiver carries a lot of responsibilities, so be sure you have the availability and mental capacity to perform the job as well as possible. And maintain your own personal downtime, perhaps calling in reinforcements when you need a break.

Responsibilities of the Caregiver

A nutritious diet helps the body grow stronger. Whether you cook or order in, make sure the food reflects a balanced diet. Companionship aids back surgery recovery, too; it takes a person’s mind off any discomfort and makes the time pass more quickly. Also, have other distractions ready, such as movies, games, reading and music. Finally, if your SSI physical therapist gave you the preferred exercise schedule, you can get your friend or loved one up and walking around.

Make sure you and the person you’re caring for understand your responsibilities before you start. You’re there to provide support, not to be a gopher. Whether it’s light housework or driving to follow-up doctor appointments, you’re likely doing it out of love. When you recognize your boundaries and help your charge get stronger, the back surgery recovery goes smoother and you both feel better all the way around!

Pain Relief Alternatives to Opioids

Back, neck or leg pain can severely limit your ability to enjoy everyday activities. Chronic pain can become especially debilitating, impacting every area of your life, including your ability to eat, work and sleep normally. This, in turn, can lead to significant forms of anxiety and depression over time.

When dealing with the conditions causing issues with your back, pain management becomes an important part of your treatment plan. Your doctor’s goal with medication is to ease discomfort so your body can rest and allow the source of your pain to heal.

Alleviating pain also allows you to maintain activities important to your overall health and recovery, like getting a good night’s sleep, exercising and eating properly.

The Dangerous Reputation of Opioid Drugs

Opioid medications — which include hydrocodone, morphine, codeine and fentanyl, among others — are considered some of the most effective drugs for relaxing the body and relieving pain. Because of their proven capacity to control pain, opioids have been the first drugs recommended by doctors in cases of injury and surgical recovery.

Opioids are also a class of drugs that can create dependency in some people. The sharp increase in opioid abuse and overdose in recent years has led to a national crisis, followed by sweeping changes in opioid regulation. Healthcare providers, in turn, are responding by using greater care and oversight when prescribing opioid drugs.

The doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) always take a conservative approach in treating your back issues. Opioid medications may still play a role in your pain management when and where appropriate. However, your doctor’s approach may also include a host of pain relief alternatives as well.

Pain Relief Alternatives to Opioid Medications

Fortunately, there are many viable alternatives to opioid medications for managing your back, neck and leg pain. Used alone or in combination with each other, these tools offer help without the dependent side effects of opioids.

Your spine physician at SSI may prescribe one or more of the following pain relief alternatives:

  • A regimen of rest, ice and heat
  • Physical therapy
  • A home exercise program under the supervision of your doctor or physical therapist
  • Lifestyle adjustments that change daily habits contributing to back pain
  • Stress management techniques
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids
  • Acetaminophen
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Certain antidepressants
  • Certain anti-epileptic medications

SSI also offers a host of non-surgical or minimally invasive spinal procedures that may significantly alleviate your back pain in certain cases. These include:

In situations where these less invasive options don’t work or when nothing can be done to correct the source of your pain, SSI’s spinal medicine doctors may choose to use pain relief alternatives that are more involved, such as an intrathecal pump implant.

Explore Your Options

When you need to relieve your back pain, know that you’re in the knowledgeable hands of medical professionals skilled in pain management. They’ll find the pain relief alternatives that work best for your long-term well-being.

Be sure to talk to your doctor to learn all the options available and discuss which tools are most appropriate for your situation. You have pain relief alternatives. And at SSI, you also have access to a host of various disciplines so you can get most of your treatment under one roof!

Is Stem Cell Therapy Right for You?

Experiencing back pain is an unfortunate reality for millions of Americans. Back pain often is caused by a poor diet that leads to inflammation. Back pain also can result from a sedentary work environment, poor posture or from an accident or sports injury.

In many cases, rest and pain relief often work to end your suffering. Physical therapy, a change in diet and starting to exercise also aid your recovery. For more serious conditions, you may need a minimally invasive treatment or even surgery. Sometimes, stem cell therapy may be the best option for your recovery.

Stem Cell Therapy Defined

Stem cells are comprised of your body’s raw materials. These materials, when cultivated properly in a lab, create what are known as “daughter cells.” These daughter cells function in two ways: they either become new stem cells (self-renewal) or they become specialized cells (differentiation) with specific functions.

Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, helps your body repair damaged, diseased or improperly functioning tissue. These cells are created in a laboratory from your own cells and then manipulated into functioning in a specific way, for example, to treat spinal-cord injuries.

How Stem Cell Therapy Helps Your Spinal Injury

Adult stem cells typically are taken from your own bone marrow. Treated stem cells are then injected into the affected area in your spine to facilitate healing and to promote regeneration of the tissue that’s still viable within the disc.

Each dose of stem cells injected into damaged discs contains about six million cells. These cells curb inflammation and aid in rebuilding damaged tissue. This treatment effectively stops the need for opioids once healing is complete.

Best Candidates for Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy isn’t for everyone. The procedure is recommended on a case-by-case basis. But if you feel this would be a good treatment option for you, the team at Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) can explain your options and what’s involved with the process. Some of the conditions that may qualify you for treatment are joint pain, arthritis, tendonitis and swelling or stiffness in your discs. Other conditions that may benefit from stem cell therapy include:

  • Osteoarthritis. When the cartilage in your spine breaks down, it produces spurs that put pressure on nerves.
  • Discogenic back pain. One or more of your discs are a source of pain.
  • Spinal facet pain. Pain in the back typically felt in the lower region and buttock, causing you to hunch over.
  • Chronic radiculopathy. When nerves are compressed in the spine, it causes numbness, tingling, pain and weakness. This condition can happen in any region of the spine.
  • Sacroiliac joint pain. Pain from the SI joint is described as sharp and stabbing. It travels from your hips to your pelvis, lower back and thighs.

The Recovery Process

Immediately after the procedure, you’re typically required to stay in the hospital for observation until you’ve stabilized. In the months following treatment, you’ll be on medication to help prevent infection. Your spine doctor will provide post-procedure aftercare instructions. Make sure you follow them.

Your life doesn’t have to be limited by back pain or the stress that comes with it. Contact SSI today about the efficacy of stem cell therapy to treat your back pain and improve your quality of life.

The Latest News About Injections for Pain

Many people suffer from chronic or acute back pain. The pain can be so debilitating that you may not be able to function. Fortunately, there are a number of different treatments available for back pain. Your doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) offer a wealth of treatments such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Pain medication
  • Surgery
  • Back pain injections

With the different treatments for pain available, you may get relief from one treatment or from a combination of options. At SSI, surgery is always the last option and only considered when no other treatment is effective.

Pros and Cons of Various Therapies

Although oral pain medication can help ease your pain for a few hours, it’s not always recommended for long-term use because of the risk of building up a tolerance that can lead to addiction. Physical therapy helps many people with their pain, but you have to be vigilant about maintaining the exercises even when you’re at home.

Surgery presents a host of risks for risks, such as medical error, infection and bleeding, not to mention a long recovery period. For many, back pain injections have proven to be the most helpful. Your doctors at SSI offer a number of effective injections, including:

Side effects from back pain injections, such as infection and bleeding, are extremely rare. But injections don’t always work for everyone, and they don’t offer long-term relief. Back pain injections typically provide short-term pain relief, so you can feel good enough to participate in physical therapy. They also must be accompanied by lifestyle changes.

Natural Back Pain Injections

There have been some remarkable steps taken to find better solutions for the back pain that so many people suffer. One of the most promising areas of treatment involves the use of stem cells to regenerate damaged cells in your spine.

Stem cell therapy relies on your own cells. Stem cells can be removed from your bone marrow and reinserted into damaged discs so your body can heal naturally. In many cases, your healing is permanent, if you don’t reinjure it. Stem cell therapy in Charleston is one of the most requested new therapies for back pain.

Platelet-rich plasma, usually referred to as PRP, has also shown to have great potential for treating lower back pain that involves the sacroiliac joint. This process still relies on using your own cells, but from your blood this time. Your platelets are separated from your red blood cells, and then they’re injected into the damaged discs.

Options Abound

The best part of visiting the spine specialists at SSI is that all they treat are backs. So, the doctors continually seek out the latest techniques and treatments so that you can have the most productive experience with your back pain treatment.

And you’ll find it all under one roof at the SSI campus. Following back pain injections, for example, you’ll meet your physical therapist who works closely with your primary back physician. The doctors at SSI always begin with the most conservative treatments, of which injections may be your best option to help you avoid move invasive procedures.

Need a Second Opinion? Ask the Doctors of SSI

At the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI), your back is their specialty. They’re happy to see you if you’re coming in from an in-state referral or from an out-of-state physician. The SSI team can provide a first, second or third opinion at any time to make sure you’re comfortable with any medical decision. It’s your health that’s on the line.

If you’re already an SSI patient, a second opinion is as easy and accessible as speaking with one of their friendly, professional staff to schedule an appointment with a different physician. No judgment. All the doctors at SSI are well qualified in their fields and more than willing to assist you in determining the best course of medical treatment for your condition.

Experience Counts When You Need a Second Opinion

There are times when only the opinion of a specialist will do. When you’re contending with an injury or disease that affects your spine, pain and discomfort are par for the course. A second opinion should always come from a doctor with qualified experience in treating your specific problem. You can rely on the expertise of SSI back physicians when it comes to diagnosing and treating spinal issues and concerns.

Never take a step down the medical ladder to a general practitioner or family doctor. While they’re highly knowledgeable, they may not be up-to-date on all the many groundbreaking and innovative treatments now available to treat your spinal ailments and afflictions. No general practitioner can keep up with every specialty. The field of medical science continues to grow and advance at such a rate that no team of family doctors can honestly be expected to keep pace with it all.

Your News Won’t Always Be What You Want to Hear

A second opinion doesn’t always differ from your first diagnosis and treatment recommendation. It may be one of those times when your doctor correctly surmised your medical prognosis. Just because you see a different doctor doesn’t necessarily guarantee a different outcome.

Sometimes, getting another opinion is more about putting your mind at ease about what ultimately is in your best interest. It’s your right — and your responsibility as a caretaker of your own health — to ask for a second, third or even fourth opinion. At the end of the day, you’re the one to decide a course of action and commit to a treatment plan. Medical experts agree that your procedure and recovery go much smoother when you’re committed to the process 100 percent.

Know Your Options

Getting another opinion is actually a fairly common procedure. If your doctor doesn’t support you, that should raise a serious red flag. Knowledgeable, experienced physicians generally encourage you to seek out a second doctor for an independent diagnosis, especially if they’re confident in their own.

If you’re considering a second opinion, don’t hesitate to explore your options. No major medical decision should ever be made in a day, especially when you’re the one that has to live with the results. So, take a breath and take the time you need. See as many doctors as it takes for you to be comfortable that you’re making the decision that’s best for you.