I’m Jason Sparks. I’m an orthopedic spine surgeon with the Spine and Orthopedic Specialists here in Tulsa. The nonsurgical treatments for patients who come in with back and neck problems can be pretty simple if they haven’t really done much yet. We start out with medications. As a general statement, those end up being anti-inflammatories, sometimes muscle relaxers and sometimes pain medication. Of course they can be all three, it just depends on that individual’s complaints and what’s really bothering them and potentially what they’ve tried before and what does or doesn’t work for them including their jobs if they can’t take muscle relaxers or pain medicine. All that is individualized for that individual.

Therapy is important. That’s also an option with the medicines or we can try medicines first and then do therapy. Injections is an option. Surgery is an option. Most of the time, surgery is actually the last option. There’s very few spine problems where surgery is actually recommended at the very beginning of treatment. That’s very rare. I only do that a handful of times a year when I tell people they really shouldn’t put off surgery and they should do that mostly as a risk of having permanent nerve injury but that’s rare. We usually start with all those conservative treatments first.