If you’ve struggled with back pain for any length of time, you may be wondering if spine surgery is your only treatment option. Sometimes, surgery is the only treatment. However, there's good news. The vast majority of back problems can be remedied with non-surgical treatments—often referred to as non-surgical or conservative therapies.
Aging, improper body mechanics, trauma and structural abnormalities can injure your spine, leading to back pain and other symptoms such as leg pain and/or numbness or even leg weakness. Chronic back pain is a condition that generally requires a team of health professionals to diagnose and treat.
Some of the most common types of spine surgery are listed below:
This type of surgical procedure involves removing the tissues that compress the nerves in the back. During the surgery process, the surgeons removes parts of the bone that constricts the nerves in the spinal column. As stability of the spine is sometimes affected, a procedure called spinal fusion is also done.
This of the most widely recommended type of spine surgery for spinal conditions caused by spondylolisthesis and stenosis. The surgery involves removing parts of the back bone, to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves. The surgery is usually performed in combination with spine fusion surgery when instability of spine is suspected.
Although this surgical procedure is not very common, it is applied as one of the new surgical treatments for back pain. An artificial disc is used to replace the damaged spinal disc, which is present between the vertebrae. This surgery permits continued spine mobility and can be done without spine fusion.
This surgery involves joining two vertebrae together to increase spine stability. This results in restricted movements and limits stretching of nerves.
It is a type of spine surgery that is used to treat the herniated disc in the vertebrae. A disc separates two vertebrae and if it herniates inwards it presses on the spinal nerves causing pain. In discectomy all or part of the disc is removed.
As with all non-emergency spinal surgeries, a trial of non-operative treatment, such as physical therapy, pain medication—preferably an anti-inflammatory, or bracing should be observed before surgery is considered. The trial period of conservative treatment varies, but six weeks to six months is the general timeframe.
Spine surgery may be recommended if non-surgical treatment such as medications and physical therapy fails to relieve symptoms. Surgery is only considered in cases where the exact source of pain can be determined—such as a herniated disc, scoliosis, or spinal stenosis.
Traditionally, spine surgery is usually performed as open surgery. This entails opening the operative site with a long incision so the surgeon can view and access the spinal anatomy. However, technology has advanced to the point where more spine conditions can be treated with minimally invasive techniques.
Because minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), does not involve long incisions, open manipulation of the muscles and tissue surrounding the spine is avoided, therefore, leading to shorter operative time. In general, reducing intraoperative (during surgery) manipulation of soft tissues results in less postoperative pain and a faster recovery.