When it May be Time to Consider Back Surgery

Just because you suffer from back pain does not mean you need back surgery. There are a variety of more conservative treatments available that most doctors will likely suggest trying before going with surgery. In fact, out of the estimated 55 million Americans who suffer from back pain, only around 5% end up needing surgery. Most often, back surgery becomes a viable option when more conservative treatment options have failed to yield positive results and you suffer from pain which is both disabling and persistent.

Compressed Nerves

Compressed nerves often do require surgery. Typically, they are associated with pain or numbness that goes down one or two extremities (either arms or legs). Nerves can become compressed under a variety of circumstances. Two of the most common include:

  • Problems With Spinal Discs – Spinal discs are essentially cushions located in between the vertebrae of your spine. They act as a kind of shock absorber for your back. Bulging discs, ruptured discs, and herniated discs can all end up pressing up against a nerve which causes nerve compression and oftentimes pain.
  • Bone Growth – Abnormal bone grows, often caused by a condition known as osteoarthritis, can cause the overgrowth of bone in your spine (known as bone spurs). This bone growth ends up leaving less room for your nerves and can cause nerve compression.

Both of these circumstances often require surgery to treat.

Consider Other Options First

It’s important to understand that even if you are in a situation where you have a compressed nerve (or any other situation which commonly requires back surgery for treatment), it’s still important to try other options before undergoing surgery. Back and leg pain are highly complex and every individual’s situation is unique in some way. In addition, every individual responds differently to different treatments and just because one person with a similar condition required surgery does not mean you will need it as well.

Speak to an experienced spine surgeon for the best guidance on deciding when it may to time to consider surgery. Your spine doctor will explain any viable alternatives to surgery (if there are any) and help you decide when surgery is needed. To speak with an experienced spine surgeon, call the Spine Institute of Doctor Marc A. Cohen at 973-538-4444 and make an appointment right away.