Questions to ask your spine surgeons about neck or back pain

Many people assume that if they are going to see a spine surgeon that they are going to need surgery.  This couldn’t be further than the truth.  Actually, 90% of the people with back pain and/or neck pain will recover without surgical intervention.  Therapy, medication management and injections are all conservative treatment options which are explored.

At the Texas Back Institute we want you to get the most out of your appointment with one of our spine surgeons.  Dr. Richard Guyer, orthopedic spine surgeon and founding partner of Texas Back Institute in Dallas, TX tells us what questions you should ask your surgeon and what you should know before making the decision to have spine surgery.  

  • Ask your surgeon to clearly explain your diagnosis.
    • Make sure you understand your diagnosis, exactly what your diagnosis means, and what your treatment options are. 
  • Ask your surgeon what conservative treatment options are available.
    • Exhaust all conservative treatment options before considering surgery, including medication management, physical therapy and injections.
  • Ask your surgeon if you really need surgery.
    • Know what the progression of your condition may be. 
    • Make sure you know what makes a patient a good candidate for the surgery you are considering, and if you fit the criteria.
  • Find out if there is a minimally invasive option for your surgery. 
    • Minimally invasive spine surgery is about doing as little damage as possible to the tissues of the body but still getting optimal results.  It’s not necessarily about the use of lasers which are just one of many tools used for this surgery
  • Ask the basic complications of any surgery. 
    • This includes the expected infection rate, the expected chance of injury to the nerve, the expected relief of  pain and recovery of nerve function.
  •  Ask what your recovery will be like.
    • What will your activities immediately after surgery and in the weeks after surgery be like?

Overall, we want to make sure that all our patients have their questions answered and are comfortable with their decision to have spine surgery.  If you have specific questions that you would like answered please visit and submit your questions.  We look forward to hearing from you!

What does your posture say about you at work?

Whether you’re on a job interview, starting your first job or are a seasoned veteran professional, your posture says something about you. Strong posture exudes self-confidence and poise; slouching posture is less impressive. Just as you pay attention to your wardrobe and grooming, think about how your posture can also give a good impression. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  •  Stand in front of a mirror and inspect your standing position to see if your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are forming a straight line.  If your “line” needs correction, so does your posture. Straighten it out and take a note of how your body feels when it’s aligned correctly—inventory the position of your feet, hips, shoulders and head when you’re standing properly and use the muscle memory as a check throughout the day. Forming a straight line with your body will instantly elongate your torso and help minimize your tummy.
  •  When you pull up your chair to your desk at work, inspect your seating arrangement—are your feet flat on the ground?  Are you looking up or down to view your computer monitor properly?  If you need to have your chair raised to look straight ahead at your monitor, then you should track down a foot rest to make sure your feet can rest flat or lower your monitor.
  • Whenever you are seated – in an interview, working at your desk, meeting a client – sit with good posture. Make sure your shoulders are down and back so that you’re not slouching. Check yourself during a couple of set times throughout the day and make corrections if you find yourself sitting incorrectly. Sitting properly with your shoulders back and head up will minimize slouching and improve your look.
  • When you greet a professional colleague or your valued client, stand tall. To stand with proper posture, imagine an invisible string pulling you up – your head and your back should be straight.

Quote of the Day: “The essence of life is not in the great victories and grand failures but the simple joys.” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

BW Beasley…Back to Racquetball!  

BW Beasley came to the Texas Back Institute after suffering from chronic back pain symptoms for years. Ten years earlier, Mr. Beasley had undergone a microdiscectomy with a different physician which only temporarily relieved his pain. He was anxious for a chance to get back to an unrestricted and active lifestyle, as he had been an active golfer and racquetball player before his pain had become too severe. Additionally, he was required to travel for work as a sales manager, and this was becoming increasingly difficult due to his back pain symptoms.

After conservative treatments proved unsuccessful, BW decided to go through with disc replacement surgery with Dr. Jack Zigler at TBI.  Shortly after surgery, the hospital staff had him up walking and into the artificial disc replacement physical therapy program.  BW progressed rapidly and by his 6 month follow-up visit, he was scuba diving and golfing again. Travel was no longer an issue, which made work much more manageable.  At his 12 month follow-up visit, he arrived at TBI with a copy of the Summer 2009 Racquetball magazine that featured an article he had written about playing the perfect game. He had just played in the US Open for Racquetball in his age group—an amazing feat, for someone who was seeking back pain treatment had undergone back surgery less than a year before. He stated that people were amazed to hear that he had an artificial disc and asked many questions about it, his surgeon, and where he had his surgery. “I refer patients to TBI and Dr. Zigler all the time!” he says.

Three years later, he won a national Racquetball tournament for his age group. “I have some trouble with my shoulder and my elbow at times, but not really my back,” he said. He can’t believe that three years have passed and that he continues to do so well after back surgery and feels so good.

“I never thought I’d be able to get my life back,” he says, “but if I can do it, I know others can too.” When asked what BW would tell others worried about undergoing spine surgery, he says, “If you do nothing else, just go see the spine surgeons at Texas Back Institute.  You owe yourself at least that!”

Inspired to get patients back to life!

What inspires you in life and work?

The Texas Back Institute is proud of its doctors and staff. Jason Curtis an x-ray tech at the Rockwall Clinic is proud to work at the Texas Back Institute, because he is inspired to help others everyday.


Every one at Texas Back Institute that knows Jason, knows that he has a big heart, and cares for his patients as he would a friend. With a big smile on his face and a caring spirit, Jason exemplifies the SPINE standards we set for ourselves everyday. SPINE stands for: Superior Service, Positive Attitude, Innovative Care, Nurturing Spirit, and Ethical Behaviors. To learn more about the Texas Back Institute visit our website at and join us on Facebook and Twitter!

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