At Your Appointment

Spine Surgery Appointment Guide

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Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • How would you rate your pain? What number would you give it on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain ever?
  • How often do you need to use your pain medicine?
  • Besides pain, are there any other problems with weakness, numbness, or tingling? Any bowel or bladder issues?
  • What exercises and daily activities have you been able to do? Do you need assistance?
  • How often are you attending physical therapy sessions? Have you seen progress?
  • How many hours per day are you wearing your back brace?
  • How long have you been having back or neck pain?
  • Do you have other symptoms, such as weakness, numbness or tingling in your arms or legs? Any bowel or bladder issues?
  • How much is your back pain or stiffness limiting your daily activities? Sometimes, frequently, or all the time?
  • How would you rate your quality of life due to your back pain? Good, fair or poor?
  • How well have medicines and physical therapy helped your back pain or stiffness?
  • If you are considered a good candidate, are you ready to consider spine surgery?
  • How well is your medication controlling your symptoms? Do you feel it is effective?
  • What is your main concern about spine surgery?
  • What new symptoms are you experiencing?
  • How do you know if spine surgery will be successful for me?
  • What are my spine surgery options? Am I a candidate for minimally invasive surgery?
  • What are the risks and possible complications of the spine surgery you are recommending? How can I help prevent them?
  • How long will I be in the hospital after spine surgery?
  • How long does full recovery usually take?
  • How should I prepare my house before surgery to make my recovery easier? Where can I find more information or assistance with this?
  • How active can I be until I see you next time? What restrictions do you recommend?
  • How long will I need physical therapy?
  • What exercises should I continue after physical therapy to maintain strength and stability in my back?
  • What symptoms could mean there is problem with my spine? When should I call you?
  • How long should I use my pain medicine? How can I avoid getting addicted to my pain medicine?
  • How can I protect my back and spine after I've recovered from surgery?
  • Would another medication do a better job of controlling my pain and other symptoms?
  • Are my new or different symptoms related to my spine surgery?
  • What type of spine surgery is best for me? Am I a candidate for minimally invasive surgery?
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Last Review Date: 2018 Nov 5
  1. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/minimally-invasive-spine-surgery/
  2. Spinal Fusion. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/spinal-fusion/
  3. Spinal Fusion. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/spinal-fusion/about/pac-20384523
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