BACK SURGERY

Back ache is the second reason for non-attendance at work in the world. Often back surgery is not successful in diminishing the pain. Discover the cause of your back ache and if it can be made better with surgery!

Injuries, ageing, wrong body postures, normal wear and tear; all these factors can cause your back complaints. A damage somewhere in your back or pressure on the nerves of your spine can cause a back ache and/or other symptoms. If you suffer chronic back ache, then the question is: ‘Can back surgery help me to get rid of this pain?’

From the most recent investigations we know that most of the back complaints do not need surgery; only a small percentage of the cases require back surgery indeed. The largest part of the back complaints can be solved by (conservative) non-surgical treatments like: applications of anti-inflammation medication, warm/cold treatments, podiatrist treatment, diet, physiotherapy, chiropractic, orthopaedic manual therapy, medical training therapy and so on…

Only in the case of conservative therapies not helping (enough), surgery would be an option to release back ache.

WHEN DO YOU NEED SPINAL SURGERY?

  • In case of compression of a spinal nerve causing a long-lasting pain in the back and/or no feeling (numbness) at the back of the legs.
  • In some cases of slipped discs- the intervertebral discs are the soft parts between the vertebrae (bones) of the spine.
  • In case you suffer from a broken spine or other serious damage caused by an accident.
  • When you suffer from a fractured vertebra and/or spinal instability because of osteoporosis.
  • In case you have been treated before and conservative treatments failed to release your back aches or other symptoms.

THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS COULD REQUIRE SURGERY IF THE DISEASE IS PROGRESSIVE AND VERY PAINFUL OR WHEN WE CAN SPEAK OF A LONG-LASTING NERVE COMPRESSION:

  • Scoliosis, an abnormal curving of the spinal column.
  • Kyphosis, the formation of bumps near the breast vertebrae.
  • Spondylitis, the moving of a segment of the spinal column.
  • Spinal stenosis, a stricture of the vertebra canal.
  • Radiculopathy, irritation and inflammation of a nerve caused by a slipped disc.
  • Degeneration, the development of pain in the disc between the vertebrae caused by wear and tear.

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TYPES OF SURGERY ON THE SPINAL COLUMN

To release pressure on the spinal cord, surgeons can remove parts of the bone. So that the (passage) space for the spinal (bone) marrow and/or the nerve roots inside the spine is improved. Surgeons can also remove the excessive, sticking out jelly like part of a disc between the vertebrae to release the pressure on a trapped nerve.

  • Discectomy: Discectomy is the partly or complete removal of an intervertebral disc. This is the most applicable way of a slipped disc surgery.
  • Laminotomy: This procedure consists of the removal of the bone around the bone marrow. The bone marrow canal is thus enlarged, and this release the pressure on the nerves/ bone marrow(stenosis).
  • Fusion: Spinal fusion by connecting two or more vertebrae in the spine permanently. It can release pain by stabilising the spinal column. It is sometimes used to remove pain between the vertebrae caused by degeneration or damaged intervertebral discs.
  • Vertebra plastic: Bone cement is injected in a collapsed disc. This can be useful for broken discs causing pain. Kyphoplasty a likewise procedure but much more expensive. Kyphoplasty is the placing of a balloon in the hole of the compressed vertebra and then inject the bone cement.
  • Artificial Disc: The implantation of an artificial intervertebral disc is an alternative procedure of the fusion of vertebrae (arthrodesis).

CONTEMPLATE ALL OPTIONS

Before accepting back surgery, it is advisable to ask for a second opinion by another specialist. Surgeons differ in their opinions and experience about whether to operate and about what kind of procedure they advise.