Here’s when to seek out a surgeon’s help.
Nearly everyone will experience neck or back pain at some point in life, says spine surgeon Dr. Benjamin Bjerke (“Byeer-key”), though few people will actually need surgery for that pain.
“The majority of patients that come into my office don’t need my skills as a surgeon, but often they’ll need someone to walk them through the diagnosis and treatment plans that don’t involve an operation,” says Dr. Bjerke, who is a new addition to Clark Orthopedic Spine and Sports Medicine. “[When surgery is needed,] I think choosing a surgeon is one of the most important decisions people will ever make.”
It’s time to seek help from a spine surgeon if you have radiating pain into your arms or legs, which can be a sign of radiculopathy or pinched nerves, and if you’ve tried nonsurgical treatment options such as physical therapy, injections, chiropractic care, or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Dr. Bjerke says. Other symptoms that need a subspecialist’s help include a decreased distance a patient is able to walk; heaviness in the legs; and fatigue or weakness in hands and feet.
When it comes to choosing a surgeon, it’s important to find a doctor who treats your individual needs. Many surgeons may have one or two ‘favorite’ operations and try to fit a patient’s goals to that particular procedure, Dr. Bjerke says. “But for me, I don’t see patients as one-size-fits-all. Often the most satisfying thing is having a patient say, ‘That’s exactly what I need in my life. That’s exactly what’s going to work for me and my life goals.’”
Dr. Bjerke brings advanced spine care to Southern Indiana by offering minimally invasive, modern procedures to get patients back to doing the things they love.
“We have everything the patients will need right here,” he says. “We have physical therapy, the most modern diagnostic equipment, MRIs, CT scans, X-rays – you name it.
“It’s an incredible honor and opportunity for me to provide surgery for patients,” Dr. Bjerke finishes. “I thank people when they choose me as their surgeon.”
Learn more about Dr. Bjerke and Clark Orthopedic Spine and Sports Medicine, or call 812-282-8494 to schedule an appointment.