There are a lot of conditions, activities, and types of lifestyle that could cause back pain. Some of these include improper body mechanics, aging, trauma, and the normal deterioration of the muscles, bones, and ligaments. While most of the time the pain is not serious and debilitating, others who have it worse might wonder: can back surgery put an end to it?
More often than not, back pain should be manageable with nonsurgical methods. These include the intake of pain medications, heat and cold application, rest, massage, and physical therapy. But if even these could not ease the pain, or if a more serious underlying condition is causing it, surgery might have to be considered.
- However, not all types of back pain can be resolved with surgery. Here is a list of conditions or circumstances in which back surgery could be an option:
- Conditions precipitated by osteoporosis (e.g. vertebral fractures, instability of the spine)
- Presence of fractured vertebrae or spinal column damage which might cause instability to the spine
- Presence of herniated disks
- Presence of spinal nerve compression, which could cause debilitating pain on the back and the back of the legs
- If all nonsurgical treatments fail to resolve the pain
Moreover, there are certain types of diseases and conditions that might require back surgery. These are:
- Spinal stenosis – characterized by the closing of the spinal canal which can be attributed to arthritis
- Scoliosis – abnormal curvature of the spine
- Spondylolisthesis – when a portion of the spine is arched forward
- Degenerative disk disease – pain in the disks as caused by wear and tear
- Radiculopathy – nerve inflammation and irritation which can be caused by a herniated disk
- Kyphosis – hunch back deformity of the spine
There are also different types of surgery that can be performed on the back:
Laminectomy – This is a procedure that involves the removal of the lamina (bone covering the spinal canal). This is usually done to patients with spinal stenosis – in an attempt to relieve nerve compression.
Diskectomy – In this procedure, the herniated area of a disk is removed through open surgery. The primary goal of this surgery is to relieve nerve irritation and inflammation.
Vertebroplasty – Here, compressed vertebrae is attended to by injecting bone cement into it which can relieve pain and help stabilize a fracture.
Fusion – Here, two or more bones are permanently fused to promote stability from bone fracture. This is usually performed to patients whose vertebrae are unstable due to injury or degeneration of disks.
Artificial disks – implants are inserted between vertebrae where there is motion due to instability from fracture. This is a relatively new procedure so it’s still being studied and tested.
The above mentioned are just a few of the existing back surgery options that could be used to treat not only back pain, but as well the underlying conditions that may be causing them. It is highly advised to discuss things first with your spine surgeon and orthopedist in order to determine the best options for your case.
This article was written by Cedric Loiselle for Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. If you are looking for the best Milwaukee spine surgeon, read more of Loiselle’s articles for tips and advice.