When is back surgery an option?

WHEN IS THE BACK SURGERY AN OPTION FOR SOMEONE WITH BACK PAIN?

Back surgery might be an option if conservative treatments haven’t worked and back pain is persistent and disabling. Back pain is sometimes associated with pain and/or numbness that goes down one or both arms or legs. These symptoms often are caused by compressed nerves in the spine and back surgery more predictably relieves associated pain and/or numbness that goes down one or both arms or legs.

Nerves may become compressed for a variety of reasons, including, disk problems (bulging or ruptured (herniated) disk) and overgrowth of bone which can occur in osteoarthritis of the spine.

Different types of back surgery include:

  • Fusion. Spinal fusion permanently connects two or more bones in the spine. It can relieve pain by adding stability to a spinal fracture.
  • Laminectomy. This procedure involves the removal of the bone overlying the spinal canal. It enlarges the spinal canal and is performed to relieve nerve pressure caused by spinal stenosis.
  • Discectomy. This procedure involves the removal of the herniated portion of a disk to relieve irritation and inflammation of a nerve. Discectomy involves full or partial removal of the back portion of a vertebra (lamina) to access the ruptured disk.
  • Artificial disks. Implanted artificial disks are a treatment alternative to spinal fusion for painful movement between two vertebrae due to a degenerated or injured disk. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lumbar-decompression-surgery/