By Kornelis Poelstra on 2020-06-08

4 Signs You May Need Back Surgery

According to research from Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, back problems rank among the most common complaints patients bring to doctors, with over 65 million adults reporting a recent case of back pain, and 16 million adults each year reporting persistent or chronic pain (Health Policy Institute).

This results in over 500,000 adults undergoing back surgery in the USA each year for lower back pain, with millions more having surgery in an effort to remedy other types of pain or conditions. 

Although drugs and other therapies abound, few of these therapies are able to provide more than a band-aid to the underlying nerve or structural issues that are the root cause of the pain. This leads many individuals in pain with no other option than to seek out back surgery for relief.

But is back surgery right for you? And what signs can you look out for that may indicate the need for back surgery in the first place?

Read on to find out the top five signs you may need to schedule an appointment to discuss back surgery options with your doctor.

Signs You May Need to Consider Back Surgery

1. Traditional or Conservative Treatments Have Failed

Surgery should very rarely (outside of acute or emergency situations) be the first line of treatment for back pain. Surgery, although often effective, is invasive, requires downtime and recovery, and like all surgery, comes with certain types of risks. Not to mention it is usually the most costly option.

As such, conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medications (pain or anti-inflammatory), lifestyle changes, and even alternative treatment options should always be explored first. However, not everyone is responsive to these treatments, especially for those who have a clear mechanical or structural problem with the spine. If conservative treatment options have failed you, back surgery is the next treatment option you may want to discuss with your physician.

2. Reduced Mobility Impacts your Quality of Life

Back pain isn’t just an annoyance, it can impact how you live your life. Perhaps you once enjoyed hikes or used to play pick up basketball on the weekend but now can’t due to mobility issues tied to your back. In other cases, limitations on mobility can impact your ability to work in certain positions or industries, or increase your risk of serious injury. If this sounds familiar, back surgery may be a path towards taking back control of your life and enjoying the activities you once reveled in.

3. Chronic, Sharp, and Debilitating Pain 

Is your pain so constant or intense that it has become a part of your daily life? No one deserves to live in pain. While pain management techniques and drugs can help, they don’t treat the underlying issue and come with a myriad of risks of their own. In contrast, back surgery seeks to remedy the cause of the pain, not the pain itself. Although not always the right fit, back surgery may offer the hope of long-term relief, allowing you to live your best life, pain-free.

4. You Experience Frequent Tingling or Numbness in Extremities 

Acute numbness and pain may indicate an emergency situation. Always seek out medical attention immediately if you experience abnormal, acute or severe pain, numbness or tingling. Back issues that include nerve damage, pinching or obstruction may cause chronic or frequent numbness or tingling. Numbness can be both scary and dangerous, increasing the risk of falls and injury, and reducing your ability to perform basic motor functions. In such cases, you may be a good candidate for back surgery.

Is Back Surgery Right for You?

If back pain is impacting your quality of life and other non-invasive treatment options have failed, back surgery may be the next best course of action to discuss with your doctor. Don’t live needlessly in pain and discomfort. Reach out today and learn more about how The Robotic Spine Institute of Silicon Valley has helped countless patients take back control of their life and live pain-free. Call us today at (408) 412-8124 or visit 340 Dardanelli Ln, Suite 10, Los Gatos, CA 95032.

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