Kevin Stevenson, MD, from Optim Neurosurgery in Macon was interviewed this week by Troy Thompson, host of 41Today Lifestyle on WMGT 41 TV.
Here’s a portion of the interview:
What’s a neurosurgeon?
A neurosurgeon is a doctor that takes care of problems associated with the brain, spinal cord and any nerve in the body including surgery but mostly non-surgical.
Let’s talk a little about symptoms and why someone would need a neurosurgeon.
Everybody has back and neck pain. It’s pretty common. But if you have back or neck pain that’s lasting two to three weeks, or it’s getting worse, that would be appropriate to talk to a neurosurgeon.
Explain the pain. It’s not just old age, is it?
That could be part of it. Arthritis is the most common cause of back or neck pain. If everyone lives long enough, they’re going to get it. But it doesn’t mean that arthritis and the pain have to prevent you from doing what you want to do.
Let’s talk a little about the different levels of pain. Let’s just say that I’ve got a tingling in my neck. D
More important is when that tingling in the neck starts to travel down the arm. That’s a sign that a nerve is being irritated or pinched and that’s worthy of seeing a neurosurgeon.
So do I see you directly or do I need a referral?
Either way. Sometimes it depends on your insurance but we’re happy to see anyone without a referral.
Let’s talk about the surgical and non-surgical options. What would you be doing if it was a non-surgical option?
Most people that we treat never see the inside of an operating room because of things like physical therapy, injections like steroid injections, lifestyle modification. Or just going over what a person does during the day that bothers their back or neck and making some changes in their lifestyle.
What are some of the injuries you see?
The weekend warrior, someone who plays 36 holes of golf on a Saturday and come Monday their back is just killing them. On the other extreme, people with fractures. Elderly women can get spontaneous fractures of the spine, really painful. Rarely are they dangerous but they really hurt. But I’d say the most common thing we see patients for is arthritis and problems with discs.
What are some solutions for arthritis?
For most people with arthritis, it’s wear and tear, the natural aging process. But things like physical therapy can help control that. Aqua therapy. There are some non-narcotic medications that reduce inflammation which not only helps with pain but can help slow down the rate of arthritis. Injections, for example an epidural steroid injection, can help with the arthritic pain. And then there are surgical options for people who just don’t get better with the non-surgical treatments.
Find out more about how Dr. Stevenson can help you find relief from pain by calling 478.841.9333 or you can request an appointment online. If you’re suffering with back pain from arthritis, talk to Dr. Stevenson about a minimally invasive outpatient procedure called an endoscopic rhizotomy.