If You Have Spinal Pain – Should You Have Surgery?

People with spinal pain and injuries often seek the help of doctors who specialize in the care of the spine.

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek help from a doctor. A doctor can evaluate a person’s back pain and decide if it can be treated with medication, back support, or physical therapy. If all other remedies are ineffective, then the person may need spinal surgery. This is especially true when the pain from spinal injury or disease becomes too intense to bear.

Although many are helped by spinal surgery, the spinal doctor will want to be certain the procedure is right for you. Any surgery can result in complications, and if less invasive methods help relieve pain or restore function, then in the long run that may be a better choice.

The spine MD doctor may choose to refer a patient to a physical therapist. Those professionals can assist people to do exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the patients’ back.

Sometimes surgery is not the ideal answer. If a patient has severe nerve pain in the legs and other remedies have not provided help, then surgery can be the unavoidable choice.

The types of back surgery are:

Diskectomy- removes the damaged portion of a spinal disc

Laminectomy – removes a part of the back of a spinal bone- so there is more room for the spine and the nerves

Fusion – removes the damaged part of the spinal bones and uses metal implants to join together two or more bones.

Disk Replacement – Damaged disks are removed and metal or artificial disks are implanted.

Disc replacements are done for a condition called a “herniated disc” (the more popular name of this problem is a “slipped disc.”) Each spine bone (called a vertebra) has a spongy center called a disc. These discs provide flexibility needed for the spinal column to move. When a disc slips out of its place in the vertebrae, this results in the slipped disc.

You may wonder why so many people are victims of having slipped discs.

Here are some of the risk factors:

1 Weight – an extra amount of weight will cause excess of pressure on the lower spine

2 Occupation – People with physically demanding jobs are at risk for disc damage. If a job involves lifting, bending, twisting or pushing it can cause extra strain on the spine

3 Smoking – Smoking results in a reduction in the amount of oxygen delivered to the spine, so it is at a higher risk.

4 Frequent Driving – When driving, the vibrations from the motor and the pressure of being seated will result in a greater risk for a slipped disc.

5 Lack of exercise- regular exercise will promote good overall health – and prevent a slipped disc.

If you have spinal pain and wonder if you need spinal surgery, contact your local spinal MD and make an appointment to discuss your options.