Seeking a second opinion on a herniated disc is advised for all patients who have been diagnosed with a potentially problematic intervertebral condition. However, it is absolutely essential to seek a second opinion, or even a third, before acquiescing to the idea of surgical intervention for said disc issue. There is never any harm in getting a second opinion.
Trusting any one doctor with your life and future functionality is a huge mistake, especially since the misdiagnosis of herniated discs as the true source of pain is an epidemic iatrogenic blunder in the dorsopathy industry.
This commentary will provide many reasons why patients should always seek more than one diagnostic opinion regardless of how much they like or trust their current doctor. Remember, they call it an opinion for a reason, because it is completely subjective.
Pre-Treatment Second Opinion on a Herniated Disc
Just because your doctor did not recommend surgery does not mean that their advice for treatment stands any better hope of relieving your back, neck or limb pain. Remember that many alternative care providers, such as chiropractors, will virtually never recommend surgery. Do not simply agree to some long-term and expensive treatment protocol without getting another diagnostic opinion from a completely different type of doctor.
If you want to try a short-term plan of conservative treatment, that’s fine. Just do not commit to some program which will waste years of your life and more money than you can now imagine for nothing. This is particularly important if you have one of the few disc pathologies which will definitively benefit from herniated disc surgery. In these extreme circumstances, if surgery is truly warranted, then it may just be best to get it over with and get on the road to recovery sooner, rather than later, or possibly, never.
Second Opinion on a Herniated Disc Before Surgery
Before undergoing surgery for a herniated disc, it is absolutely vital to get at least one second opinion. I recommend seeing various types of surgeons and non-surgeon care providers prior to any operative intervention.
Try an orthopedist and a neurologist to start and then another orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. Always get an opinion from at least one non-surgeon.
Undertaking an operation on your spine is extremely risky and serious business. Do not rush into this no matter what scare tactics are used against you. Surgery should only be rushed in cases of absolute medical emergency, such as in the circumstances of cauda equina syndrome or massive spinal trauma. Once you go through an operation, there may be no undoing damage which is done.
Seeking a Second Opinion on a Herniated Disc
Surgeons are business people. They make their money by cutting, burning and amputating. This is what they do. Do not be surprised if they offer you these services to treat your back pain or even virtually force these options on you by intimidation, trickery or threats of consequences. I have seen this and experienced it for myself.
Now if 2 or 3 different doctors all say the same thing, then it is a safe bet in most instances, but I am sure you will find that most will have very different takes on your condition. I surely did!
Remember, when seeking a second opinion, do not begin by telling the new doctor everything the first doctor said. Let them tell you everything first and allow them to commit to a diagnosis and treatment plan. Then go back and talk to them about the other opinions you have received. This is the best way to ensure an objective and balanced view from each specialist you consult with.
The goal of this article is not to make patients doubt their doctors. It is merely a suggestion meant to enact safety mechanisms within the treatment protocol. Many patients do not know all their options and many undergo premature or unnecessary surgeries. Following the recommendation to get a second opinion on a herniated disc will reduce the chances of this happening to you.