Not everyone understands the debilitating effects of spinal pain. But for those whose back pain prevents them from enjoying a normal lifestyle and who have not found relief through a conservative treatment plan, the benefits of spinal surgery are typically worth the experience. The reasons for back surgery vary with a person’s age. For instance, teens may consider surgery to correct scoliosis, adults between the ages of 20-50 may consider surgery when they have pain associated with slipped or degenerated disks, and older adults may consider spinal surgery if they have spinal stenosis. While only a small number of people who experience back problems will seek relief through surgery, those who do can benefit significantly.
Spinal surgery is rarely a first choice to relieve back pain. Doctors and patients typically prefer to try other treatment options first to relieve pain. These treatments include physical therapy, medication, nerve block injections, and specific exercises done to strengthen the muscles in the back. For those who have tried these options and have not found relief for their back pain can find that their back pain is alleviated through spinal surgery.
In the past 10 years, less invasive surgical techniques have been developed to reduce the size of the incision and the amount of blood lost. In many cases, the normal recovery time has also been reduced. The success rates of cervical and lumbar surgeries have risen to almost 85%, and patients typically experience a significant improvement in movement and function and also notice a measurably reduced level of pain and discomfort.
There are, of course, no guarantees of any surgery, especially ones as complicated as spinal surgeries. However, the outcomes of spinal surgery can greatly increase a person’s livelihood and outlook on life. Talk to your spine specialist about your condition to see whether spinal surgery would benefit you.
Posted on behalf of Dr. James Chappuis MD FACS, SpineCenterAtlanta