Back surgery is rarely necessary to treat back pain, but in some cases, it is the treatment of choice that can ultimately improve your quality of life. If you have a spinal condition or chronic back pain that does not improve with other treatments, you may wonder if it is time to consider Dayton back surgery. Often, specialists recommend back surgery if your symptoms are disabling and you have tried other treatments to no avail. If your back pain co-occurs with the following signs, you need to see a specialist to know if back surgery is an option.
Your back pain is persistent
It is important to realize that constant back pain is not normal and not a condition you should have to live with. Most cases of back pain are acute, meaning they last anywhere from a few days to less than three months without loss of function or lingering symptoms. However, chronic back pain continues for at least 12 weeks or longer, even after trying several treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, epidural injections, steroid shots, and lifestyle adjustments. If your back pain persists despite these treatments, you may need to see a spine specialist to discuss your surgical options.
Your pain radiates to your arms or legs
Vertebrae are small bones that align to make up your spine, and through them run the spinal cord, from which 31 pairs of spinal nerves emanate. The nerves in your lower back can become pinched or compressed due to herniated discs and bone spurs. When a disc herniates, the soft, jelly-like inner layer pushes through the outer membrane (annulus) and presses on nearby nerves. Depending on the nerves that are pressed, you may experience radiculopathy or pain that radiates to your arms or legs.
Bone spurs are also a common cause of radiculopathy; they form due to osteoarthritis in the spine. When the cartilage between the bones wears out, the bones rub on each other, forming bone spurs. Surgery relieves the pressure on the nerves, making it an effective treatment for radiculopathy.
Your mobility is compromised
Chronic back pain can make it difficult to move normally; you might be unable to play sports or hike. Even simple activities like walking around or jogging can become painful. You may also find that you can’t work in certain industries, and your overall productivity decreases. If your back pain gets in the way of your everyday activities, it is time to visit a spine center for evaluation. Back surgery can alleviate your pain, improve mobility, giving you back control of your life.
You have a progressing spinal deformity
Spinal deformities involve problems with the curvature or rotation of the spine and cause symptoms like pain, a visible curve in the spine, and feeling off-balance. The most common spinal deformity in adults is kyphosis, scoliosis, and lordosis. Scoliosis often stems from wear and tear due to age or previous back surgeries. With scoliosis, the spine curves to the left or right and may progress over time, causing deterioration of the vertebrae and compressing the lungs. If your undergoing treatment for scoliosis and your symptoms worsen, you may discuss surgical options with your spine doctor.
If you have chronic back pain, consult your provider at Vertrae® to explore your treatment options.