8 Reasons to Help You Determine if Back Surgery is a Smart Choice

8 Reasons to Help You Determine if Back Surgery is a Smart Choice

Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. All opinions are based upon my own chronic low back symptoms. Please use this post as a guide to making an informed decision about your own care.
8 Reasons to Help You Determine if Back Surgery is a Smart Choice

Do you struggle with chronic low back pain? Does your pain keep you from enjoying the things that you once enjoyed? I would say that I am glad that you stumbled upon my post but as a chronic low back pain suffer, I totally understand how draining it is to live with chronic pain. For those who haven’t read my story yet, I was in a car accident in 1998 and injured my back in three spots. I sought treatment a few hours after the car accident and the x-rays didn’t show any significant damage. Well needless to say, my body was never able to fully heal after this initial incident. Up until 6 years ago, the pain would come and go and I used to be able to get by on a few Motrin a day plus rest. Then about 6 years ago, I was digging up some grass in our yard so that I could put down some rock edging around the tree in our yard.

I didn’t think anything of the task but the next day I woke up in excruciating pain. From that day forward, things have never been the same for me. I went to the orthopedic doctor and was told that I had a bulging disk at L5-S1 and arthritis up and down my spine. Before I even considered having back surgery, I wanted to make sure that my problems weren’t treatable or manageable first. To think of someone operating on my spine unless there isn’t any other treatment options available first scares me to death.

Over the last year, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in addition to my chronic low back pain. Each day is a constant struggle and at the beginning of the year, I decided that it was time to take another look at my back and work with my doctors to determine the best treatment method for me. After several more treatments, my doctor is recommending major back surgery and I wanted to share with you some tips on how to determine when surgery is a smart option.

Consider Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a great way to help strengthen your surrounding muscles and could potentially even relieve some of your pain. A good physical therapist will tailor a rehabilitative program to your specific injury and condition. The goal is to help keep you mildly active so that you can continue to do a limited amount of daily activities. Here are my favorite stretches that help keep me moving.

Invest in a Good Tens Unit

A tens unit can be purchased without a prescription and they are fairly inexpensive. You simply place the electrodes over the area that is painful and turn on the machine. The Tens unit is designed to help increase blood flow to the area and help reduce the pain signals to your brain temporarily.

Try Acupuncture First

Most people don’t want to go under the knife and are willing to try just about anything including acupuncture for chronic low back pain. Experts think that acupuncture helps release endorphins (your body’s natural pain-killing chemicals), release immune system cells in the body, releases natural opioids, or causes a change in your brain chemistry by altering the release neurotransmitters and neurohormones (helps dampen pain signals). If this doesn’t, help you might consider having surgery.

Can’t Function Normally

As you age it is totally normal to lose some of your mobility but if your mobility is severely impacted then it might be your body trying to tell you something is truly wrong. If you opt for surgery before things get too bad, you might be able to correct your issues entirely or at least improve your ability to function somewhat normally.

Your Condition is Worsening

If your back condition is constantly getting worse, it might be worth considering back surgery in Palm Beach Gardens. Your doctor has probably already explained to you that osteoporosis will continue to deteriorate over time. Work closely with your doctor to monitor your condition and make sure that you are open and honest about how much your injury affects your life. Be open to other non-invasive treatments, they may give you temporary relief and help delay surgery as long as possible. Don’t be afraid to bring up discussions about treatment options including surgery so that you can make an informed decision if your condition takes a significant turn for the worst.

The Quality of Your Life is Impacted

Quality of life is a big influencer for me personally and this was why I decided to seek out advice for a third orthopedic spine surgeon (my doctor’s life was cut short due to a tragic car accident). My life over the last 5 years has changed drastically and there are so many things that I can no longer do that I used to enjoy. Daily chores are a huge struggle for me and I don’t feel like I am giving my kids everything I have. I used to be so active and often dream of the things that I loved doing. So if your condition is greatly affecting your daily life, you should talk to your specialist to determine the best treatment for your condition.

All Other Treatment Options Have Failed

If you get a surgeon who wants to operate on you without trying other non-invasive treatment options, run away as quickly as you can unless you were in a life threatening accident that requires immediate treatment. However, if you have tried a wide variety of treatment options and none of them help improve your overall health, then you should consider surgery.

Don’t Wait if You Have Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Nerve damage could cause permanent damage which would leave you disabled so if you think that you have potential nerve damage you will want to have it checked out immediately. Make sure that you let your doctor know if you have tingling or numbness in your arms or legs. Also, go to the nearest emergency room if you lose control over your bowels or bladder. This is a sign that something is pressing on the nerves in your spinal cord and you need immediate treatment.

Just remember that you are in control of your health and that you are your own best advocate. As a chronic pain suffer, I totally get that opting for spinal surgery is a huge commitment. Use these tips to help you determine if back surgery is a smart option when dealing with chronic or recurring back pain. Over the years, I have tried a number of non-invasive treatments on my back and they have all failed including my most recent spinal block to determine if the disc in my back was pushing on my nerves. In my case, the disc wasn’t pushing on my nerves and doing a non-invasive surgery wouldn’t fix my problems. My doctors have also asked me to consider a spinal cord simulator to help block the pain signals from reaching my brain in addition to having a major back surgery. The plan is to remove my L5-S1 disc and for my doctor to build a cage to help fuse my bones together along with several screws.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

What would be your deciding factor when it comes to your health? What would make you opt for back surgery or another type of major surgery?

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14 responses to “8 Reasons to Help You Determine if Back Surgery is a Smart Choice”

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) Avatar
    Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I have a good friend that suffers from back pain. She misses out on so much because she can barely walk. I feel bad sometimes.

  2. Diana Villa Avatar

    Great post and info! I’m going to share it with my cousin he is always talking about how bad his back hurts. Thanks! 🙂

  3. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle Avatar

    Back problems like this are horrible. They just scare the crap out of me. I can’t imagine not being able to move correctly or having to consider surgery just to be able to move.

  4. Annemarie LeBlanc Avatar

    I would try alternative medicine first. I have tried Acupuncture before and it does help. However, I will always be open to consider surgery if that is the only permanent cure for chronic back pain.

  5. Jenny Avatar

    My husband has back pain and shoulder pain that only seems to be getting worse as he ages. When he was young, a horse fell on him and he was never taken to a Dr so it stems from that. Haven’t tried acupuncture yet only a chiropractor which helps but for a short time.

  6. Ourfamilyworld Avatar

    I was recently diagnosed with a gall stone. My gastro doctor wants it removed. I was seriously considering this, but when an opportunity came last week to try acupuncture, I went for it. So far, so good. I hope this works for me.

  7. HilLesha Avatar

    The idea of back surgery scares me. One of my uncles was never the same after having it. His health took a turn for the worse and he died shortly after. 🙁 Also, my sister’s friend has had back surgeries back to back since her 20s with no success whatsoever. I feel like if someone is going to get something drastic as back surgery that they should get the best specialist possible, or try the alternatives first.

  8. rika Avatar

    I had a severe back pain for almost 5 years. i had a physical therapy but didn’t help. Luckily I bought a massage chair . It helped !

  9. Annemarie LeBlanc Avatar

    I revisited and showed this article to my brother. He has recovered from a slipped disk but his pain never seemed to go away. He might consider alternative pain management first, he said.

  10. Jesica H Avatar

    I dont know anyone person with Chronic back pain, and I am so glad I dont! This sounds horrible!

  11. Rose Cottrill Avatar

    My husband has been complaining about back pain before and he went to the doctor, he was advised to lost a little bit weight and it helped a little but it’s still bothering him once in a while.

  12. Lynndee Avatar

    My husband complains about lower back pain from time to time, but it’s not severe yet that he needs any treatment. If ever it’ll get worse, I think I will tell him to try acupuncture first. I’ve heard a lot about it and that it really works.

  13. Jeanine Avatar

    I have such back issues, but I believe they are all caused from my epidurals I’ve had. I wouldn’t ever think of surgery for them because I don’t need it nor would it help but this is great for those who are in this position.

  14. Wandering Carol Avatar

    I’m emailing this to my husband right now. He’s trying a lot of different things to cure his back pain. Right now we’re seeing a personal trainer with a degree in body science twice a week.