Finding out who is a candidate for spine surgery

Living with chronic neck or back pain related to a spine condition can be devastating to your quality of life. Pain and related symptoms can make it difficult to accomplish even simple activities while also putting a strain on family life, work and your hobbies.

Depending on the underlying cause, symptoms can often be managed conservatively, but spine surgery can become a consideration for some patients. If you have been recommended for a spine procedure or are interested in finding out if you may be a candidate, contact us to get a second opinion.

At Phoenix Spine & Joint, we realize that the decision to undergo spine surgery can come with some degree of anxiety. We believe that by keeping patients at the center of care and providing any necessary information and education, we can help you make a more confident choice about your treatment.

Treatments to pursue before spine surgery

Patients complaining of neck or back pain will usually first seek diagnosis from a doctor, such as their primary care physician. In all but the most serious cases, spine surgery is elective and won’t be considered until nonsurgical methods have been exhausted. Conservative treatment options for spine conditions and related symptoms include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Manual adjustment
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Hot and/or cold compression therapy
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Lifestyle changes like a healthier diet and posture improvement

However, if symptoms do not improve, or if they worsen, you may be recommended to explore becoming a candidate for spine surgery.

What conditions does spine surgery treat?

Common conditions treated with spine surgery include bulging and herniated discs. The spinal discs that help to cushion the spine and allow for smooth motion can wear down due to factors like age, weight gain, poor posture and injury. This can lead to the development of bulging discs, which is when the outer shell weakens and allows the disc to bulge out of its normal place in the spine. Or, these factors can cause a herniated disc, which is when a crack or tear develops in the outer shell that causes inner disc material to push out into the spinal column.

Other conditions that can be treated with spine surgery include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Bone spurs
  • Osteoarthritis of the spine
  • Spondylolisthesis, or vertebral slippage
  • Spinal stenosis

Once it is determined if a particular condition is treatable by spine surgery, patients then need to be screened for specific risk factors associated with complications during or after surgery. For example, this includes people with infections, people who are seriously obese and people who smoke. Patients must have these issues addressed before they can become a candidate for spine surgery.

Spine surgery candidacy at Phoenix Spine & Joint

For people who have been recommended for spine surgery to relieve pain and other symptoms, the team of experts at Phoenix Spine & Joint can help determine if you are a candidate. This process will include a discussion of your pain and how it is affecting your life as well as a review of your diagnostic imagery. From there, we can determine if one of our state-of-the-art minimally invasive outpatient procedures can help you reclaim your life.

We’re glad to perform a free second opinion with a doctor from the comfort of your own home by phone or video conference.

Contact us today to learn more and find out if you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery.


We’re committed to solving your back pain problems with the least invasive treatment possible.


Patients report less
pain with minimally
invasive procedures
vs. traditional surgery


Smaller incisions
result in less scarring


No hospital stay means a
much lower risk of


Muscle sparing
technique means a
faster recovery time


Phoenix Spine & Joint Reviews