When other, non-invasive treatments have not sufficiently lessened the pain, many patients ultimately find back pain relief with spinal surgery. An experienced neurosurgeon can target the cause of your pain and perform one of several types of surgical procedures that are typically effective and carry relatively low risk.
Advantages of spinal surgery
Your surgeon may recommend spinal surgery as a treatment when the potential advantages outweigh the risks for you. What are these advantages?
A more permanent solution
When a procedure is successful, it typically either resolves the problem permanently or improves it substantially.
Significant back pain relief
Once you have recovered from the surgery, you may be able to reduce the number of pain meds you take, or you may not need them at all.
Pain doesn’t just hurt; it immobilizes you. Spinal surgery can restore motion you haven’t had in some time.
People suffering from chronic back pain often don’t realize until the pain goes away how much it affects their overall disposition. You may be surprised how much better you feel emotionally.
Improved physical health
After surgery and physical therapy, you’ll have the ability to become more active, resulting in better health.
Resume a sense of normalcy
If back pain has disabled you to the point of disrupting your life (work, play, etc.), surgery can help you return to your normal life.
Potential disadvantages of spinal surgery
Of course, it’s important to be aware of the risks that may result from spinal surgery — however rare they may be. This includes:
While back surgeries are considered low-risk compared to other procedures, any surgery is invasive and comes with some level of risk. Complications may include infection at the incision site, reaction to anesthesia or other medicines, bleeding/clotting and nerve damage. Your surgeon will discuss any specific risks involved with your procedure, as well as ways to minimize the risk.
More down time
Surgery usually requires some post-op rest and recovery. Depending on the procedure, recovery time may range from a few days to a few weeks.
While you’ll most certainly have more mobility than you had when you were in pain, some procedures (like spinal fusion) may cause some restrictions of movement overall. You may not be able to bend a certain way anymore because two or more of your vertebrae have been fused together, for example.
Reduced spinal stability
If your surgery requires a removal of a piece of bone or tissue (for example, a laminectomy), your spine may not be as stable in that area. If this happens, your surgeon may need to perform a spinal fusion to stabilize it.
At Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center, we exhaust all non-invasive treatments for back pain first, recommending surgery only as a last resort or in extreme situations. However, if you’re a good candidate, spinal surgery can provide lasting pain relief so you can get on with your life. To learn more, call us today at 404-256-2633.