When Back Surgery Is Necessary? 3 Signs To Confirm

Last Updated on August 16, 2022 by AR Khan

There are times when back surgery is necessary to correct a problem. However, not all back problems require surgery. If you are unsure if surgery is the right option for you, here are three signs that may confirm that surgery is necessary.

When is the best time to have back surgery?

Back surgery is a serious procedure that should only be considered when other treatment options have failed. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to talk to your doctor about surgery as a possible treatment option:

  • The pain doesn’t go away
  • Pain radiates to the arms and legs
  • Severe symptoms and trauma

The pain doesn’t go away

lower back pain does not go away
Lower Back Pain

If you’re dealing with acute low back pain, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, up to 90 percent of cases resolve themselves within a month. However, that doesn’t make the pain any less tough to deal with in the meantime.

If you’re two weeks into your pain and wondering how much longer you have to go, know that you’re not alone. Many people experience significant improvements within a few weeks, but it can take up to a month for the pain to completely go away.

In the meantime, there are actually a number of treatments you can try in the acute stage. These can include:

  • NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Heat or ice: Applying heat or ice to the affected area can also help.
  • Exercise: While it may seem counterintuitive, some gentle back surgery exercises can actually help alleviate back pain.
  • Lifestyle changes: Such as losing weight or quitting smoking
  • Manual therapy: A trained therapist can help to release muscle tension and knots.

If you’ve been dealing with back pain after a month and the following options haven’t helped, it may be time to consult with a spine surgeon. This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, but if your pain is severe and impacting your quality of life, it may be worth considering.

Spine surgeons are highly trained and experienced in treating all kinds of back and spine problems. They will be able to assess your individual case and recommend the best course of treatment. This may involve surgery, but in many cases, it can also be helpful to explore other options with your surgeon.

Pain radiates to the arms and legs

When you have radiating pain, it means that there is pressure on a nerve root in your spine. This can be extremely uncomfortable, and sometimes even debilitating. Surgery can be a very effective way to relieve this pressure and ease the pain.

There are two common causes of radiculopathy: herniated discs and bone spurs. Radiculopathy is a condition that results in pain radiating from the spine to other parts of the body.

Herniated discs

Discs are shock-absorbing cushions between the vertebrae in the spine. They have a tough, fibrous outer layer and a soft, jelly-like inner layer. Herniation occurs when the inner layer pushes out through the outer layer. If the herniated disc presses on a nerve root, pain can radiate to the area of the body served by that nerve.

Bone spurs

Bone spurs are bony growths that develop along the edges of bones. They can occur anywhere in the body but are most common in the spine. If a bone spur presses on a nerve root, it can cause pain to radiate to the area of the body served by that nerve.

If you are experiencing pain radiating from your spine, it is important to see a doctor determine the cause. Treatment will vary depending on the cause but may include pain medication, physical therapy, or surgery.

Emergency condition

When it comes to back pain, surgery is not always the first option. In many cases, surgeons will recommend nonsurgical treatment or simply allow the pain to run its course. However, there are also times when back pain is an emergency and surgery is the only option. This can be the case with cauda equina syndrome, for example.

Cauda equina syndrome is a condition that arises when the nerves at the base of the spine become compressed. This can happen suddenly, as a result of an acute trauma like a car accident, or it can develop over time if a chronic condition is left untreated. Either way, the result is the same: severe pain and disability.

When you don’t need back surgery?

There are a few instances when back surgery may not be necessary for you. 

  • Firstly, if your pain is manageable with conservative treatments such as medication, physiotherapy, and exercise, then surgery may not be indicated. 
  • Secondly, if your pain is due to a condition that is not treatable surgically, such as degenerative disc disease, then surgery will not help. 
  • Finally, if you have other health conditions that make surgery a risky proposition, your surgeon may recommend against it. In these cases, it is important to follow your surgeon’s recommendations and make sure you are getting the best possible care for your condition.

Things to do if back surgery is necessary

If your doctor has recommended that you need back surgery, it can be a difficult decision to make. 

Making decision

Making decision for back surgery
Making Decision

There are a few things you should keep in mind when making your decision.

  • First, you should get a second opinion. There is no harm in getting a second opinion, and it can help you feel more confident in your decision.
  • Second, you should ask your doctor about all of the risks and complications associated with surgery. Make sure you understand everything before making your decision.
  • Third, you should ask about alternative treatment options. There may be other options that can help you without the need for surgery.

Making the decision to have back surgery is not easy. However, if you do your research and talk to your doctor, you can make the best decision for you.

Preparation

If you’re facing the prospect of back surgery, it’s natural to feel some anxiety. But it’s important to remember that surgery is often very successful in relieving pain and restoring function.

Here are a few things you can do to help ensure a successful outcome:

  1. Choose a reputable surgeon. Be sure to research your surgeon’s credentials and experience.
  2. Prepare for surgery. This means getting in good physical shape and quitting smoking if you smoke.
  3. Follow your surgeon’s instructions. This includes pre-and post-operative instructions, such as limits on activity.
  4. Be patient. It can take several months for full recovery from back surgery.
  5. Stay positive. A positive attitude can make a big difference in your recovery.

If you have any concerns about back surgery, be sure to discuss them with your surgeon.

What are the benefits of back surgery?

benefits of back surgery

Back surgery can be a life-changing event. It can relieve pain, improve mobility, and help you return to a normal, active lifestyle.

If you are considering back surgery, it is important to know the risks and potential complications involved. But, overall, the risks are low and the benefits can be significant.

Your doctor will be able to give you more specific information about the risks and benefits of back surgery, based on your individual situation.

Final thoughts

When you’re dealing with back pain, it’s hard to know what to do. Should you wait it out and see if it goes away on its own? Or is surgery the best option?

Also Read: 14 Best Chairs After Back Surgery & Spinal Stenosis

It can be tough to make the decision, but ultimately it depends on the severity of your pain. If it’s something that can be managed with nonsurgical treatment, then it’s probably best to wait. But if the pain is severe and it’s an emergency, then surgery may be the best option.

Of course, it’s always best to consult with a surgeon to get their professional opinion. They will be able to help you figure out the best course of action for your specific situation.

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