Are your thinking about back surgery? Read this article first. I see too many people who jump the gun thinking that surgery will end their pain. But most times it’s just another band-aid, never getting rid of the problem.
Low back pain is the most common reason people seek out back surgery.
Decrease in pain is the typical way people determine if surgery was successful. Obviously that’s the goal. But range of motion (pre & post) and other orthopedic tests will show a true increase in function. Pain shouldn’t be the main concern.
Some studies show that surgical procedures are not as effective as conservative measures.
One study shows a 76% failure rate. Being that the patients still needed to take pain killers after surgery.
What you should do if you have chronic low back pain
- Get a proper assessment: it all begins with identifying what’s the root cause of the low back pain. Scar tissue from a previous injury, chronic inflammation and abnormal muscle firing patterns. All these must be resolved to have a complete resolution of low back pain.
- Work with a Chiropractor who creates a game plan to get you well. The treatment plan should consist of soft tissue manipulation, spinal rehabilitation, applied kinesiology, laser therapy, kinesiotape and functional movement patterns besides spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation may not be the best thing at the start. I see too many patients getting hurt further by getting adjusted at the wrong time (and in the wrong way). The rehab process usually takes about 6-12 months. Your brain has to form new nerve pathways.
- In office treatments: treatments should consist of things that will support spinal realignment. Soft tissue support is a must!
- Home treatments: this is critical to optimal healing. Home exercises are targeted to re-establish proper postural and movement patterns.
When you should get surgery
- Tears & Complete Disc Herniations. If you’ve already confirmed a true herniated disc causing severe neurological deficit, you need surgery . This is when the disc has broken through and is protruding into the spinal cord. That’s different than a bulging disc.
- Bone spur pushing on the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. Most times the spur will be big; small ones are negligible. Sometimes there may be a tumor or cyst growing which needs surgical intervention.
- Neurological changes such as incontinence and complete numbness in the groin area. If you’ve reached this point then you need to have it addressed.
My advice is to seek out proper care going from least invasive to most invasive. Most times conservative treatment will be effective. It’s rare to need back surgery. Even you have severe pain or even shooting pain down your legs.
If you are experiencing chronic back pain, call our office for no obligation consultation.