When patients encounter problems in the back and neck, spine surgery is often considered by surgeons as the last resort after other therapies have failed to relieve the pain.
In rare cases, spine surgery can address problems other treatment modalities cannot. For persistent pain related to a mechanical issue in the spine, it might be best for a patient to undergo spine surgery immediately, as other therapies may make the situation worse. This article will talk about the benefits of spine surgery, and when spine surgery is more effective than other therapies.
When Conservative Therapy Doesn’t Work
For most patients, nonsurgical therapies usually work on most back problems affecting the muscles and ligaments around the spine. Some conservative treatments doctors prescribe to address back pain include:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Spine injection therapy
However, these approaches may not be suitable for a patient if the diagnosis points at a different kind of problem. Depending on the location of the pain and how it is felt, the pain may actually be a symptom of a structural problem in the spine.
What Spine Surgery Can Do
Generally, a crooked spine, an unstable spine, or compressed nerves indicate a structural problem. Spine surgery can offer an immediate, long-term solution for these issues related to the spine’s structure and position.
Spine surgery can realign a crooked spine
Conditions that impair the natural curvature of the spine are typically managed nonsurgically, but when spinal curvature exceeds a certain degree, surgical intervention is often needed to realign the spine. Patients with severe scoliosis, kyphosis, or flat-back syndrome will benefit exceedingly from spine surgery.
Spine surgery can secure an unstable spine
A patient has an unstable spine if their spinal column is unable to maintain its natural form under normal usage conditions. If the vertebrae on the spine move, a patient may feel pain and loss of balance, as the spine provides structure, protection, and support for the body.
With spine surgery, a surgeon will be able to fuse together loose vertebra and allow the bones to solidify and heal. This will also greatly reduce the pain, as the loose vertebrae may be responsible for the nerve pinching.
Spine surgery can decompress nerve structures
Some spine conditions press down on the spinal cord and other nerve roots, which can lead to neurological dysfunction and other severe symptoms such as:
- Unrelenting pain down your arms and legs
- Numbness, tightening, or inability to move the limbs
- Lack of control over bowel and bladder functions
Since the spinal cord is a bundle of nerves connected to the brain, compressing these nerve structures will impair the body’s ability to function correctly. Your brain will not be able to send or receive the correct signals to your body, and too much pressure on the nerves causes pain. To avoid permanent impairment, spinal surgery is required to address conditions such as this.
Other Benefits of Spine Surgery
As the technology and methods for spine surgery have radically improved in the past few years, surgeons can now perform an operation using very small incisions. Instead of making a long incision down the back, a surgeon can insert tiny cameras and surgical instruments through an opening less than an inch long. Minimally invasive spine surgery can:
- Reduce blood loss
- Lower chances of risk, such as infections and complications
- Minimize damage done to the muscles, nerves, and tissues
- Lessen a patient’s pain and scarring
- Accelerates healing and recovery period compared to traditional surgery
Ask About Spine Surgery at CTSI
The Central Texas Spine Institute has almost two decades of expertise in treating all conditions of the spine, and is one of the leading spine care authorities in the US. Contact us to learn more about spine surgery.