Back pain often occurs when there is the pressure that surrounds the spinal cord. It’s also common to experience back pain when there is pressure on a nerve. The question of whether or not surgery can eliminate lower back pain arises frequently and it requires thoughtful consideration. The reason why a solution is often sought out is that back pain can be tremendously painful. In fact, sometimes it’s an issue that prevents the patient from functioning in their daily life. In some cases, lower back pain can be debilitating, especially when it worsens as a result of muscle spasms. While severe cases require surgery, mild lower back pain is usually treated with chiropractic care, medication or physical therapy. In some instances, it’s a combination of these treatments.
When a patient is experiencing lower back pain, it’s necessary to identify the root cause of the problem as soon as possible. By obtaining images of the patient’s spine, medical professionals are able to pinpoint the nature of the problem and make a recommendation concerning the best surgical procedure based on the situation. Although there are many surgical options available, surgery will not always solve the problem. In fact, most medical professionals recommend using surgery as a last-ditch effort for dealing with lower back pain. It’s often best to choose one of the other options mentioned, especially chiropractic care because it’s a non-invasive way of resolving pain. Here are the different radiographic procedures used to obtain images needed to make a decision concerning how to move forward with treatment:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
Common Surgical Procedures Used to Treat Back Pain
As one of the most commonly used surgical procedures for back pain, a spinal fusion is when a surgeon connects the vertebrae as a way to prevent movement of bones in the spine that are responsible for causing pain. This procedure is often chosen because it only affects a limited section of the spine. There are different types of spinal fusion surgeries. Lumbar spinal fusion is more complex because it involves bone grafting. Either way, this very well may be a good solution for eliminating lower back pain in some cases.
A disc replacement procedure involves the removal of the spinal disc that has been damaged. Once that happens, an artificial disc is used so that the spine functions as it’s supposed to without being hindered. This surgical procedure is often recommended as an alternative solution to a spinal fusion that has a much longer recovery timeframe. The reason why this is considered a solution that isn’t ideal is because there’s a chance of the artificial disc will not work properly.
A discectomy is beneficial because it serves as a way to keep vertebrae or discs from pressing against a spinal nerve. In this procedure, the disc material is removed so that it no longer presses against the nerve. One of the benefits of discectomy is that it can be completed with just a small incision, which results in less damage to surrounding tissue. However, this isn’t always the case because sometimes it’s necessary to make a large incision during a discectomy.
A laminectomy is a procedure that’s performed when there is pressure on the spinal nerves that need to be eliminated. The part of the vertebrae that are removed is called the lamina. Unfortunately, this is a procedure that’s sometimes problematic because it can cause patients to have an unstable spine. One of the reasons why it’s chosen is because it too only requires a small incision. After the incision is made, the surgeon is able to move the muscles around instead of cutting them.
Another option is the foraminotomy where the surgeon is able to cut bone so that there is enough space for the nerve roots in the spine. This surgery is used to eliminate what is often a significant amount of pain. Since this is another procedure that has the potential to cause spine instability, it may be performed at the same time as another surgery, such as a spinal fusion. When making the decision to perform a foraminotomy, the surgeon will assess many different factors before moving forward.
As previously mentioned, surgery for the purpose of eliminating lower back pain can be effective, but it certainly should not be the first option considered. In some instances, you can end up worse off than before the surgery was performed. If you have questions about how a chiropractor can help with back pain or whether or not you should consider surgery, we’re here to help. Call us today at 205-637-1363 to get answers to your questions.