Ask Our Physicians: Spine Surgery

Joel Norman, MD
Joel Norman, MD

Dear Dr. Norman:

I’ve lived with chronic back pain for years. It’s made my legs and feet weak, and I fall a lot. Everyone says to avoid back surgery, but I’ve tried everything. What are my options?

Traditional spine surgery is performed through larger incisions ranging from two to six inches with extensive muscle dissection and spinal exposure, but thankfully, evolving minimally invasive techniques have made it possible to perform many spine and neck surgeries through one or more small incisions that are only one-half to one inch long.

Minimally invasive spine surgery offers patients many advantages, including less post-operative pain, reduced risk of surgical complications, and a faster recovery. The average hospital stay is less than two days, and most patients can return to activities of daily living and work within one to four weeks. Postoperative pain is easily managed in most patients with oral medication.

Back pain alone typically isn’t a neurosurgical problem and often can be treated with conventional therapies. However, if you’re experiencing radiating back pain down into the buttocks, legs, or feet, and includes numbness, tingling, or weakness, you may have a serious spine injury or condition that requires care by a neurosurgeon.

During your visit with us, we’ll review your symptoms, medical history, and MRI results, which should be obtained prior to your appointment. Our office is conveniently located at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, where your MRI can be scheduled by one of our staff. Depending on the severity of your condition, surgery may be recommended.

We treat the following spine conditions with minimally invasive surgery:

  • Compression or trauma to the sciatic nerve
  • Herniated or ruptured discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolysis – a crack or stress fracture of the spinal vertebrae
  • Spondylolisthesis – instability of the spinal vertebrae
  • Stenosis – narrowing of the passageways between vertebrae
  • Small spinal canal tumors

Learn More

If you’re suffering back pain that radiates to the buttocks, legs or feet, and includes weakness, tingling, or numbness, call us at (865) 331-2835. No physician referral is necessary.

Disclaimer: please note that this information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you have a specific medical question or issue, we encourage you to call our office at (865) 331-2835 and schedule an appointment.

About Dr. Norman

Joel Norman, MD is board certified in neurosurgery. Click here to view his profile. He is accepting new patients, and you can schedule an appointment by calling (865) 331-2835.

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