Stiffness and aches in the back can be common, but when back pain becomes a chronic condition, the impact on your life can be unbearable. When your pain level has reached high enough to affect your mobility and independence, you may be considering a surgical option for relief but don’t be so quick to jump to that solution before considering the risks of the surgery. Back pain can rob you of your ability to work and enjoy life with your family and friends. If you’ve been on an ineffective regimen of pain medication and still only experiencing temporary relief, surgery can feel like the next viable option. Take a little time to explore these concerns before you make your decision.
The level of invasiveness of your procedure depends on what type of surgery you doctor feels will best address your back issues. The most commonly performed surgery is spinal fusion, which joins spinal bones to limit movement and is one of the less invasive surgical procedures. If your condition warrants the removal or replacement of bone or discs, your surgeon will need to perform a diskectomy or a laminectomy, which require larger incisions and more severe alterations to the spine. Major surgeries like these carry a host of possible complications that range from minor to severe. Surgery risks include excessive bleeding, damage to the vital nerves in your spine leading to weakness in extremities or paralysis, blood clots, heart attack and stroke. Back surgery also comes with the risk of complications from anesthesia which can include brain damage and death.
Your decision to undergo back surgery is a commitment to a lengthy and painful recovery that can last anywhere from three to twelve months. During this time you will be heavily dependent on help for basic daily self-care, rehabilitation, and wound care. If you don’t have family or friends that can devote the time to your around the clock care you could be admitted to a rehabilitation facility for recovery assistance. Returning to normal activity after back surgery requires extensive physical therapy to regain strength and mobility and many people are surprised at the intensity of their pain during the early stages of recovery. Your doctor will prescribe pain medications, but even the strongest prescriptions only offer temporary relief and result in excruciating pain as they wear off between doses. You may also have to make modifications to your home to make heavily used rooms like the bathroom and kitchen more accessible as you recover. This is an added recovery expense many people fail to calculate when budgeting the cost of their back surgery.
Back surgery can be the answer for some people, but the reality is, there is no real way to determine if your pain will improve, stay the same or worsen after back surgery. Your surgeon can offer you their best educated guess of your surgical outcome but there is no way to tell for certain if braving the risks of surgery and enduring the recovery will be worth the result. In addition to the uncertainty, each type of back surgery carries its own possibility of increasing your back issues. Some surgeries like laminectomy, foraminotomy, and diskectomy can compromise the stability of your spine putting you at risk for additional surgery and injury. Nerve damage during the procedure can intensify post-surgery pain higher than your pain levels before the procedure so your decision to undergo surgery could leave you worse off than where you started.
When considering all of these reasons to carefully explore your decision to undergo back surgery remember that there are many non-invasive, non-surgical options to relieve your back pain that may be a solution for you. Treatments like decompression therapy and chiropractic care offer relief with a lower threshold for adverse reactions or treatment risks. Many people experience relief from regenerative therapy treatment that offers maximum results with minimal recovery. These non-invasive treatments have less of an impact on your daily life and get you back to feeling like yourself again in a fraction of the time it takes to recover from surgery. Take the time to explore all of your options before committing to back surgery. The perfect treatment for your back conditions may only be a phone call away.