In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering returning patients virtual visits, including telephone and video conferencing . Please call 571–732–0044 to schedule your appointment.

When Should You Consider Spinal Surgery?

When Should You Consider Spinal Surgery?

spinal surgery, When Should You Consider Spinal Surgery?

Do you suffer from lower back pain or neck pain? Pain in the lower back is common, and 80% of Americans suffer from some type of lower back pain in their lives. If you have lower back pain for longer than three days, you should consult a physician. At Subach Spinal Solutions in Arlington, VA, we are experts in advanced spinal surgery procedures.

Subach Spinal Solutions provides solutions for acute and chronic back pain of all types. We are located in Virginia Hospital Center, where procedures are completed under expert care. If your procedure requires overnight hospitalization, you will be under the care of our team while you recover in the hospital. Dr. Subach is experienced in Spine Surgery and Neurosurgery and will ensure you receive the best care.

Back Pain

Back pain is a common ailment that can lower your quality of life. When patients feel neck pain or lower back pain they may neglect to visit a physician. Responsibilities such as work often interfere in seeking treatment with urgency. Visiting a doctor for back pain lasting over three days should be a priority; however, many patients wait until the pain becomes severe.

Injury and disorders that affect the spine are common causes of back pain. Surgery is not always necessary, and back pain may go away with time and moderate exercise. Early diagnosis and treatment of back pain often yield the best results. Back pain may not stay isolated to the back region if prolonged and can eventually move to the limbs.

Types of Back Pain

Back pain can be acute or chronic and can stem from different regions of the back. Chronic pain is a long-lasting back pain that continues for more than 90 days. Acute back pain is any back pain that lasts for less than a single month. Pain lasting between 30 and 90 days can fall into the subacute category. Whether the back pain is acute or chronic, patients should consult a physician for any back pain that lasts over three days. A physician can diagnose back pain and provide proper treatment.

Physicians and spinal experts divide the back into four regions to pinpoint the sources of pain.


One common region where patients feel pain is in the lower back, or lumbar region. Pressure or pain felt in the lower back can be caused by an injury. Other common causes are muscle issues, arthritis, and degenerative disc disease.

Coccyx or Sacral

Pain felt lower than the lumbar would indicate the tailbone or sacral or coccyx region is effected. Common causes of pain in this region are prolonged sitting or injury. Childbirth and degenerative joint diseases can cause similar pain.


Back pain felt in the upper back is called the thoracic region. Muscular inflammation is a common source of pain in this region and is often caused by strenuous activity or improper lifting techniques. Facet joint degeneration and disc degeneration may also cause pain in this region.


The part of the back that extends into the neck is called the cervical region. Poor posture, improper lifting, and strains often cause pain in the cervical region. Accidents and injury are also among common neck pain causes.

When Should You Consider Spinal Surgery?

It is best to treat back pain before surgery becomes necessary. Patients should visit a spine expert soon after they feel back pain to avoid more serious conditions. Neck and lower back pain are commonly ignored as a normal part of aging, but they should be monitored by a physician. Visit Subach Spinal Solutions for back pain relief treatments and surgery.

Here are some warning signs that may signal spinal surgery is needed:

Dr. Subach can guide you through physical therapy and other treatments to see if the back pain will heal naturally. In general, time is the only alternative to surgery. Surgery is considered a last resort when other treatments fail to improve back pain conditions. In cases of severe back pain or weakness in the limbs, a doctor may recommend surgery right away.

Surgical Procedures to Consider

Spinal surgery is usually the last option when addressing back pain. Physicians and spine experts will recommend treatments and medications initially. These can include physical therapy and injections. If the treatments do not work, a physician will consider surgery options to relieve the pain.

There are both minimally invasive techniques and more traditional surgeries available. Minimally invasive techniques are preferred due to faster recovery, but the procedure will depend on the patient’s condition.

The advantages of surgery performed by our team of experts at Subach Spinal Solutions include:

Cervical Procedures for Neck Pain

Anterior cervical arthrodesis with plate fixation is a recommended solution for chronic neck pain. The procedure is minimally invasive and only includes a small neck incision to insert a bone or implant. The bone or prosthetic implant is mounted in place of the intervertebral disc with a plate and screws. The surgery will require an overnight stay, and patients should avoid strenuous tasks for two weeks. In as little as two weeks, patients may undergo a post-op examination.

Anterior cervical arthroplasty is used to correct issues with the cervical disc that can cause neck pain. The treatment is FDA-approved and used to treat various chronic neck pain causes in patients. The goal of the procedure is to treat the cervical discs by removing bone spurs and any damaged discs. The procedure reduces pressure to give relief to patients. If stability is required in the neck, a titanium or plastic insert may offer support. Patients will spend one or two weeks to recover partially, but full recovery will take one month.

Revision cervical fusion may be recommended if the initial cervical procedure does not offer adequate stability. The goal of this procedure is to create long term stability and offer relief from neck pain symptoms.

Lumbar Procedures for Lower Back Pain

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion may alleviate moderate to severe lower back pain. The procedure is considered when there is a painful movement in the vertebra. Spinal abnormalities and degenerative disc disease are common reasons to consider this surgery. An incision is made in the abdominal area, and the two bones that are causing pain are fused together to cease movement. In some cases, a spacer may be inserted in the place of the disc to reduce friction. Patients will spend more than one day in the hospital recovering. Pain is usually mild after surgery, but the abdomen may be tender where the incision was made.

Mazor Robotic screw fixation may be recommended to relieve chronic and severe lower back pain. This surgery can help patients with broken vertebrae, making it a good solution for spinal injury and deformities. This procedure prevents movement and friction in the vertebra by fusing two bones together. The procedure is precise and efficient due to the use of Mazor Robotics. Patients benefit from quicker operation and healing time than with more traditional methods. Moving on to therapy is also quicker for Mazor Robotics patients.

Minimally Invasive TLIF for Lower Back Pain

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, or minimally invasive TLIF, is a procedure to treat lower back pain. This procedure allows patients to avoid more traditional surgery through a less invasive procedure. The treatment can provide relief for back pain that comes from spinal compression or instability. It can also relieve pain caused by reduced disc height.

The advantage of minimally invasive TLIF surgery is that it requires only tiny incisions in the muscle to access the vertebrae. Micro-tools and dilators are used so that muscle is gently spread and there are fewer cuts. A portion of the bone called the lamina is removed and rods are inserted and fused in place with pedicle screws. A bone graft may be placed to relieve spinal pressure. Recovery time from this procedure is reduced, and often patients can return to work in two weeks.

Before Your Spinal Surgery

Your surgery will usually begin after the physician or spinal expert has made every consideration. Non-surgical treatments are recommended to alleviate the pain and let the back pain heal naturally. If your condition does not improve, Dr. Subach will provide an examination and may take X-ray or MRI images to ensure surgery would be beneficial.

Make arrangements before you undergo surgery to have enough time to recover before returning to work. Dr. Subach can provide you with recovery details prior to the operation to help you plan. The operation will require anesthetic, and you will have a checklist with instructions to follow before and after the procedure.

After Your Spinal Surgery

Choosing to undergo surgery may be a difficult decision, but surgery may be the only way to resolve your back problem. Some procedures will require an overnight stay and hospitalization. Patients will spend their hospitalized recovery at Virginia Hospital Center where Dr. Subach performs procedures. Recovery can take one week to one month, depending on the procedure.

When you leave the hospital for your outpatient recovery, be sure to arrange for assistance. Arrange for transportation home and someone to help you with your prescriptions and daily tasks for a little while. Have food ready for you at home if you do not have someone to cook for you. Your diet should consist of light and easily digestible meals to aid in your recovery.

Is Spinal Surgery Right for Me?

If you have acute or chronic back pain, it is important to visit a specialist like Dr. Subach. We can provide an accurate diagnosis to identify the cause of the back pain and recommend the appropriate treatment. Moderate back pain will often be treated with physical therapy or medication initially. Severe back pain may require medication or injections to relieve the pain. When non-surgical treatments do not improve the condition, we will consider surgical options.

Get the Help You Need

If you have back pain that doesn’t go away after several days, or you have been living with back pain for months, you may need spinal surgery. If the treatments you have tried cannot resolve your back pain, it may be time to speak to an expert. Contact Subach Spinal Solutions in Arlington, VA today for a consultation. Back pain can have a dramatic effect on your quality of life and should be treated to avoid further complications.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Causes of Sciatica

When your sciatic nerve gets pinched, compressed, or irritated, the resulting pain and discomfort is known as sciatica. Learn the most common causes of sciatica and what you can do about it.

The Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Hormonal imbalances can affect both men and women of any age and cause many symptoms that either go undiagnosed or fail to improve with more traditional measures. If you are left without answers or have failed treatment, we may have the solution for you.

Spinal Care and COVID-19: What You Should Know

Are you debating whether you should reschedule your upcoming spinal surgery? Or wondering how you can care for your spine and overall health while staying at home? Read on to learn what you should know about spinal care and COVID-19.

Chronic Back Pain: Non-Surgical Treatments, Prevention

Don’t let a fear of back surgery interfere with treating your chronic back pain. You may be able to achieve relief with proven, non-surgical alternatives. Learn how non-surgical treatments can help and what you can do to avoid this common ailment.

Will I Lose Mobility After Spinal Fusion?

While spinal fusion immobilizes a problematic facet joint to alleviate spine-related pain, it doesn’t freeze your entire spine. Read on to learn how the procedure can help restore pain-free movement.