“Should I get back surgery?” This is not a question most people envision themselves asking. And yet, statistics indicate that acute and chronic back pain affects people around the world. More than 90 percent of people will experience some degree of back pain in their lifetime. In our country, back pain is one of the leading causes of missed work. What we’re saying is that back pain is incredibly common. It is not, however, a normal part of the aging process. Good lifestyle choices can offset the natural risks of disc degeneration and arthritis, and prompt attention for acute or chronic pain can reduce the chances of needing surgery. Still, the question remains.
Should I Get Back Surgery?
If back pain is a normal part of your life, it is something that you need to bring up to your primary healthcare provider. The best care can be devised from a thorough conversation that includes details about your pain, such as:
- Where is the pain occurring?
- Does the pain radiate away from its point of origin?
- Does pain improve or worsen with position changes or rest?
- Is weakness, numbness, or tingling also occurring?
- What treatments have been tried? Have they improved comfort and mobility?
It is important to recognize the value of prompt care for back pain. Often, procrastination stems from fear of surgery, fear of prescription medication, or a belief that pain will resolve on its own. Typically, this does not happen unless an injury such as muscle strain is the cause of pain. In any case, it is essential that the cause of pain is accurately diagnosed so doctor and patient can discuss appropriate treatment options. Surgery is typically the last resort for back pain. It may be recommended for reasons such as:
- Conservative therapies have not achieved sufficient improvement in comfort and mobility.
- Bone spurs have formed and are pressing on the nerves of the spine.
- Infection has been found in the spinal cord or column.
- Fracture or dislocation has occurred in one or more spinal vertebra.
- Pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness have progressed despite treatment.
- Hand, bladder, or bowel function has been affected by spinal compression.
If you’ve been living with acute or chronic back pain and are unsure what to do next, the best option is to schedule a visit with either your primary doctor or a spinal surgeon. We would be happy to see you in our Hamilton, Morristown, or Bridgewater, NJ office. Call 609-890-3400 to schedule a consultation.