Is back surgery the best option for you?
Back surgery can be considered an elective procedure for people with chronic back pain, as doctors recommend trying conservative methods including medication, exercise and physical therapy to treat their symptoms. However, when your quality of life has not improved or if it has gotten worse during a nonsurgical treatment plan, the option of back surgery, which is outlined below, may relieve debilitating pain, tingling or loss of sensation in the extremities.
Conditions treated by back surgery
The underlying cause of pain, tingling or loss of sensation in the extremities, known as radiculopathy, can often be traced to irritation or compression of a spinal nerve root or the spinal cord itself. A pinched nerve can be caused by a number of degenerative spine conditions, including a herniated disc, a bulging disc, arthritis of the spine, spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis. Neurologists and orthopedic surgeons may use a bone graft, fusion, discectomy, artificial disc replacement or other highly invasive decompression surgery techniques in an attempt to alleviate pain and improve spinal stability.
Choosing a back surgeon
It’s important to know that open back surgery is a major commitment, with a recovery period that can extend to as long as a year. Choosing a surgeon with a solid track record is vital, which is why your pre-surgery research should include the following:
- Make sure you choose a doctor you’re comfortable with who demonstrates passion and care
- Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions about the surgeon’s experience and qualifications
- Don’t simply pick the first doctor you interview; seek a second opinion
- Ask for a recommendation from your primary care physician
- Ask friends and family for recommendations
Minimally invasive alternative to back surgery
Rather than settle for open back surgery, thousands of patients each year with chronic pain have found relief for their symptoms at Laser Spine Institute. Learn how one of our minimally invasive procedures can help you rediscover your life. Contact us today for your no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate.