If you’ve suffered from a herniated disk, bone spur, spinal stenosis, or another condition that’s causing back pain and/or numbness in your legs, you may be considering spine surgery. But how do you know if it’s time to schedule an operation?
The decision to have back surgery is a difficult one. You must weigh the pros and cons carefully before you can make an informed decision. Although there are many benefits to having back surgery, it’s important to realize that there are also risks. In fact, no surgery is risk free.
The decision to have back surgery should be made only after all other conservative treatment options have been tried. This includes medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription pain medications, physical therapy, heat and cold therapy, injections, chiropractic care and acupuncture.
If surgery is the best option for you, your doctor will refer you to a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spine surgery.
Here are three of the most common types of back surgery:
A discectomy is a procedure that’s done when a disc in your spine has ruptured. The surgeon will remove the part of the disc that’s pressing on the nerve and causing you pain.
Laminectomy is a surgery where the bony arch of the vertebra, called the lamina, is removed. This is usually done to relieve pressure on nerves or to widen your spinal canal.
This type of surgery is also called spondylodesis or arthrodesis. It’s used to treat painful movement between two vertebrae that are rubbing together, which can happen with arthritis or degeneration of discs in your spine. During this surgery, your vertebrae are fused together with bone grafts and metal plates, screws and rods. This will permanently stop any movement between these two vertebrae and prevent further damage to your back.
You should consider spine surgery when:
-Your symptoms have not improved after a course of non-surgical treatments such as medication, physical therapy, and injections.
You have significant loss of bowel or bladder control, which can indicate cauda equina syndrome. This is a serious medical emergency. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
-You are experiencing severe pain that limits your daily life and ability to perform everyday activities.
Do you need back surgery?
Surgery for low back pain or neck pain should only be considered after all non-surgical treatments have failed. Non-surgical treatments include activity modification, medication and physical therapy. While most people would prefer to avoid surgery, there are many instances where it is necessary or beneficial to quality of life.
If you have mild to moderate back pain, the best treatment might be no treatment at all. But if your back pain is severe and doesn’t improve with medication and physical therapy, surgery may be an option. Back surgery has risks and benefits, so it’s important to consider them carefully before going under the knife.
When to contact a spine surgeon?
Before you can even begin to consider back surgery as a potential treatment option, you’ll want to first meet with a board-certified spine surgeon who is specifically trained in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal conditions. Here are some common signs that you could benefit from seeing a spine surgeon:
-Your pain is limiting your everyday activities
-You’ve tried at least six months of nonsurgical treatment options without success
-You have new or worsening neurological symptoms including weakness, numbness or tingling
If any of these signs apply to you, make an appointment with an experienced spine surgery in Brisbane to get answers about your condition and treatment options.
Find out if you’re a candidate for nonsurgical therapies
If you have back pain, your first step shouldn’t be rushing to surgery. There are many nonsurgical treatments that can relieve back pain — including physical therapy, medications and spinal injections. Most people with back pain get better within a few weeks or months with self-care and treatments like the ones listed below.
The most common reason for spine surgery
The most common reason for spine surgery is to remove pressure from a nerve root or the spinal cord itself. If a herniated disc is pressing on a nerve, it causes pain in the neck or back. If the disc presses on the spinal cord, there can be weakness in the arms or legs in addition to pain.
Read also: How To Find A Bulging Disc Treatment?
Surgery may also be necessary if the spinal cord itself is compressed by a tumor or infection. The most common reason for surgery to fuse vertebrae together is to treat degenerative disc disease (DDD), which can cause painful instability in the neck and lower back. This can lead to chronic pain that becomes worse over time.
Spinal pain should not be taken lightly. Take care of your health!