Back Pain

Back Pain: When Surgery’s the Best Option

Sometimes conservative treatments aren’t enough to cure back issues. But you don’t have to live with pain. For some people, surgery may be an option.

The type of surgery that’s right for you depends on what’s causing your pain. Here are three common procedures:

  • Microdiscectomy – This type of surgery can help relieve low back pain that extends into the legs. During the procedure, the herniated portion of a disc that is pressing on a nerve is removed. Although this is traditionally an open surgical procedure, it can also be performed using minimally invasive techniques in some situations.
  • Spinal Fusion – During this procedure, two or more vertebrae in your spine are fused to improve stability and reduce pain. A bonelike material is placed within the space between two vertebrae. Additionally, metal plates, screws and rods may be used to hold the vertebrae together.
  • Laminectomy – This procedure enlarges your spinal canal to relieve pressure on your spinal cord and nerves. Depending on your situation, your surgeon may be able to do a minimally invasive procedure.

Although recovery time depends on the complexity of your surgery, here are a few things you can do to help speed things along:

  • Lose weight – Taking off just five to ten pounds prior to undergoing surgery can make a difference in how quickly you recover. Losing weight is also helpful for alleviating back pain in general.
  • Quit smoking – Nicotine can increase pain and inflammation in the low back area. So it’s best to kick the habit to improve how you feel – before and after surgery.
  • Get moving after surgery – Staying in bed is one of the worst things you can do for back pain and while recovering from surgery. Instead, make it a priority to get up and moving as soon as you’re able.
  • Stay on top of pain medication – You’ll be sore the first few days after surgery so it’s important to take your pain medication as prescribed by your physician.

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, we guide patients through their entire journey to wellness, including the weeks leading up to spine surgery, through the procedure and during rehabilitation. We are highly skilled at performing these types of procedures and want to make sure our patients understand why they need surgery and what to expect throughout the process.

To learn more about spine surgery, visit us online. To schedule an evaluation, call 630-527-7730.