There have been several times in my career that a new patient comes into my office seeking a last ditch attempt for help to save him or her from having to go through with their spinal surgery. I don't blame them, surgery can be quite scary and I have known a few that never woke up after a surgery. It is a throw of the dice and always will be and I do write this with a great degree of seriousness. Surgery is risky business. Often times I can help this patient, but only after carefully examining their diagnostics and deeming it safe to proceed. The treatment plan often involves therapeutic modalities of specificity, pre-mobilization specificity stretches, laser and decompressive tractioning techniques and at home rehabilitation exercises for core stabilization. This form of conservative non-invasive treatment is aggressive but quite often we are able to reduce the size and position of their disc herniation(s) greatly reducing if not eliminating their pain altogether. Sometimes not, sometimes the patient waited too long and the only alternative is surgery and I will be the first to let them know.

Yes, most of these patients have known about their problem for some time, "Heck, I only get radiating pain down my leg about once or twice a year and then it goes away," and yet they waited and waited putting off seeing a doctor and then one day it happens and the pain or radiating pain traveling into the leg is occurring 6-7 times a day! But why did they put off seeing a doctor? You know, chronic pain is a funny thing. You awake one morning and you can barely get out of bed with pain coursing down and into the leg only to experience no pain whatsoever three days later. These episodic pain patterns of exacerbations and remissions of pain lull people to a point of complacency. Trudging through the day when the pain erupts and thinking that the problem is getting better when the pain subsides. Does it go away? Or is the iceberg a little less buoyant today and it is now under the water line and looking safe to navigate? Because it's not what we can see and feel that matters, it's what is going on internally. The spinal problem is just going through a quiescent period, all the while he condition is getting structurally and functionally worse. The nervous system that is usually doing its job is paying less attention to the pain that is constantly nagging the brain. I call this "neurofatigue"! It has a lot to do with the Reticular Activating System and pain modulation which in turn, by response dampening, lulls you into a sense of false security and you go about your day feeling well. Then one day it happens, you bend over to brush your teeth or to pick up a paper clip off of the office floor or simply sneeze and lose function of a leg or arm, and the goodness the pain.

Most surgeries can be circumvented if the wait time is not too long. How do you know if you waited too long? You really don't and that's the problem. We always think we have tomorrow to atone for the wrongs of today! I know, I can be just as bad! These exacerbations and remissions of pain are like that of the story of the flat tire. The front passenger side tire on your car has a slow leak. "It's not really a big problem," about every week or two you just simply have to open the trunk and retrieve the cigarette lighter fueled tire pump and fill the tire to the preselected pressure and "wa-lah, no muss, no fuss I'm on my way." However, on one particular morning you awaken 23 minutes late due to hitting the snooze button a few times too many. You race out of bed, in the shower, stub your toe, grab a bagel and out the door you go! You race down the road angry at yourself and late for the important meeting and the car begins to pull to the right when you suddenly realize what you have known was going to happen for weeks if not months...the tire is finally flat. And even though this tire story is analogous to a person's health and spinal problems we typically treat our cars much better than we treat our bodies.

Surgery is often the only option when a person waits too long to get the help they need. But it doesn't have to be that way if you seek professional help in a timely manner. Recently a patient of mine lost her husband when he went in for a "routine" minor diagnostic procedure. The emotional devastation that followed! Surgery is risky business and while I am not adverse to sending someone to surgery, doesn't it make sense to exhaust every possible avenue before electing to undergo the scalpel? Surgery also carries with it the probability of post surgical chronic pain patterns due to the proliferation of scar tissue. Scar tissue formation is a natural ongoing process that continues for the rest of your life with patients, 3-5 years post surgery, hearing their surgeon say, ", we're going to have to go back in and clean up the scar tissue that has grown in there."

It's what we don't know that hurts us! At the Conklin Clinics we not only treat radicular or sciatic type pain patterns, we also treat the after effects of chronic pain and chronic post surgical pain. I am never too busy to visit with a person that is not sure what their next step should be and it never costs anything to discuss your problem with the me. Just give us a call and make an appointment and come in. If I can help you I will let you know and if I can't I am going to shoot straight with you and point you in the right direction. The consultation is free and if it looks like we can help we'll set an appointment for you. No bait and switch! I have a great reputation of over 20 years of helping people get their lives back and quite frankly, I don't have the time to waste your time. Throughout my career as a doctor, I have always extended this professional courtesy of a no-cost to you or your insurance company free consultation. I have to warn you though, I am a former Assistant Professor and I have a tendency to get a little long winded.

Give us a call.