When Is Back Surgery the Best Option?

If you have back pain, you know how it limits you. It hurts to sit, it hurts to turn, and it turns to bend down. Simple, everyday activities become daunting tasks you try to avoid.

Nearly 80 percent of Americans have experienced some sort of back pain. Often the lower back is the trouble spot, but the upper and middle back can be problematic, too. If you’re like others who suffer from back pain, you may find yourself turning down invitations, because even fun activities lead to agony. So should you try surgery?

Before you can answer that question, doctors say you should try everything else. Surgery should be seen as a last resort, when all other therapies have failed. Before you opt for an operation, make sure you’ve explored these alternatives:

  • Chiropractic care. Spinal manipulation may help alleviate the pain.
  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach you exercises and stretches that will relieve some of the stress on your spine.
  • Acupuncture. Some people report great relief after trying this traditional Chinese therapy.
  • Pilates or yoga. Strengthening the core often takes the pressure off your back and can lessen the pain.
  • Massage. Some types of massage have been shown to help the back muscles, especially when used with other therapies.
  • Medication: Your doctor can prescribe painkillers and other medications that may reduce inflammation.

If you have tried all these treatments, but you still haven’t found relief, you may want to talk to your doctor about having surgery. Most physicians agree that surgery is warranted for certain situations:

  • You have a weakness or tingling feeling in your arms and legs.
  • You experience incontinence.
  • You have a tumor, bone spur, or unstable fracture.
  • You have some kind of spine deformity, such as scoliosis or kyphosis.
  • You have a herniated or ruptured disc.

Be sure to get a second, or even third, opinion before you agree to back surgery. Also keep in mind that not all back operations are completely successful. Some patients complain that the pain persists even after surgery, so take time to weigh all of your options before making a decision.

If you’re concerned about back pain, contact Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. Visit us online or call Consult-A-Nurse® at 727-869-5498.The more information you have, the better choices you can make.

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