Spine Surgery - Discectomy, Laminectomy, Fusion, & Artificial Discs

Why do you need back surgery? Research shows that, most of the time, back pain resolves without treatment, and that spine operations are rarely necessary. So why do you need back surgery?

Lower back pain, according to statistics, is one of the top reasons adults visit their family healthcare practitioner. Most of us over the course of our lifetime will have back pain, but do you need back surgery? Not usually. Most disorders that cause back pain respond well to conservative (non-surgical) treatments such as:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and pain relievers
  • Applications of heat or ice 
  • Physical therapy

But there are times when these non-surgical treatments don’t work. Back pain continues or gets worse and other symptoms develop. If conservative treatments have been tried and symptoms continue or progress, or prevent you from completing your normal daily tasks, you may need back surgery.

Another possible sign you do need back surgery is if your pain is accompanied by signs of nerve inflammation. These include:

  • Numbness or tingling that radiates from your low back into one or both of your legs or arms
  • Muscle weakness in your legs or arms

Pain that radiates or travels from your back to your arms or legs is typically due to pinched nerves in the spinal column and can be a sign you need back surgery. Different disorders can lead to nerve compression including:

  • Disc disorders: Intervertebral discs are found between the vertebrae of the spine. They provide cushioning and protection. If a disc ruptures or bulges, you may need back surgery to remove nerve inflammation.
  • Bone spurs: Extra pieces of bone sometimes form in the spinal column due to the changes of aging or because of injuries. You may need back surgery if these bone spurs cause pinched nerves.  

Many people have osteoarthritis of the spine, herniated and bulging discs, bone spurs, and many other spinal conditions and do not need spine surgery. If you have severe back pain and have tried conservative treatments without relief, contact your healthcare provider. Your doctor can you find the answer to your question, “Why do I need back surgery?”

Treatments, Spine Surgery2-1