How to Avoid Back Surgery (And When You Shouldn’t)

Back surgery is a scary prospect for many people. It can be expensive, and it often involves a long recovery process. In some cases, back surgery may be unavoidable. But in many cases, there are steps that you can take to avoid the need for surgery altogether. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common causes of back pain and how to avoid back surgery. We will also talk about when back surgery is necessary and how to make the best decision for your health.

Causes of Back Pain

There are many different causes of back pain.

  • Muscle Strain: The most common cause is muscle strain. This can happen from lifting something heavy, or from sudden movements that put too much stress on the muscles and ligaments in your back. You can also strain your back by sitting or standing in awkward positions for long periods of time.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis is a common cause of back pain, especially in older adults. Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints, and it can lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling.
  • Disc Degeneration: Another common cause of back pain is disc degeneration. This happens when the discs in your spine start to wear down with age. Disc degeneration can cause the discs to bulge or rupture, which can lead to pain.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the spinal canal starts to narrow. This can put pressure on the nerves in your spine and cause pain.
  • Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve to one side. This can put pressure on the spine and cause pain.

These are just a few of the most common causes of back pain. There are many other less common causes, but these are the most likely to lead to surgery. If you are experiencing back pain, it is important to see a doctor to find out the cause. There are many different treatment options available, and the best course of action will depend on the cause of your pain.

woman doing physical therapy on a ball for her back

How to Avoid Back Surgery

If you are already experiencing back pain, there are a few things that you can do to ease the pain and avoid the need for back surgery.

  • First, try over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You can also apply heat or ice to the affected area. If these measures don’t help, you may need to see a doctor. Your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication.
  • It is also recommended to try physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach you exercises that will strengthen the muscles in your back and help to ease the pain. Physical therapy can also help to improve your flexibility and range of motion.
  • In the case that you are still in pain after these two things, you can also try spinal injections. Spinal injections decrease pain by using sedatives and anti-inflammatory medications injected directly into the painful area. They are typically only used as a last resort before surgery, but they can be effective in treating pain.

When Back Surgery Is Necessary

Even though there are a variety of non-surgical treatments that can be used to treat back pain, there are some cases when back surgery is necessary. In these cases, your spinal surgeon finds the benefits of surgery to outweigh the risks of surgery. Surgery is also recommended in cases where symptoms are not expected to improve with continued non-surgical treatment.

  • If you have a herniated disc, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the disc.
  • If you have spinal stenosis, your doctor may recommend surgery to widen the spinal canal.
  • If you have scoliosis, your doctor may recommend surgery to straighten the spine.

Of course, these are just a few examples of when back surgery may be necessary. If you are experiencing back pain, talk to your doctor about your treatment options. They will be able to help you make the best decision for your individual case.

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