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How Does Spine Surgery Reduce Lower Back Pain?

Update Date: Jan 15, 2021 09:09 PM EST

A person's lumbar spine is a structure of interconnecting joints, nerves, bones, and muscles which all work together to flexibility, strength, and support the whole body. But, this complex structure is susceptible to pain and injury. 

If you're experiencing a constant ache, to a sudden, shooting pain in the back, then you're most likely to have lower back pain. The symptoms of back pain can range from muscle aching to a burning sensation in the back radiating down to the leg. It can also worsen with lifting, bending, twisting, or walking.

What is Lower Back Pain?

How Does Spine Surgery Reduce Lower Back Pain?
(Photo : Pexels)

Most low back pain is the result of an injury, such as ruptured disks, muscle sprains, or strains due to lifting heavy objects and poor body mechanics. It can also be a result of one or some of these problems of the lower back such as the ligaments, nerves, muscles. 

Certain diseases may also be causing low back pain such as arthritis, kidney, infection, cancer of the spinal cord, infections of the spine.

Low back pain is most probably to occur in persons between the ages of 30 and 50 which is partly due to the changes in body aging. This can be experienced for a few days or a few weeks, while chronic back pain can last longer than three months.

Spine Surgery for Lower Back Pain

For someone who's been struggling with back pain for a long time now, spine surgery can be a great treatment option, especially if non-surgical treatment (i.e. medications and physical therapy) fails to relieve the symptoms. Sydney is one of the best places to visit when deciding to undergo surgery, as they have experts in all areas of spinal surgery. The spine surgeon Sydney locals would recommend spine surgery if the exact source of back pain is determined. So the first thing you need to do is to have your back checked.

Types of Spine Surgery

1. Open Surgery. This type of spine surgery is classically known as "open surgery", which means that the area being operated on is opened with a long cut to allow the surgeon to examine closely the spinal anatomy. Recently, technological approaches have allowed more spine conditions to be treated with a minimally invasive surgical technique.

2. Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). This procedure typically does not involve long incisions, and open manipulation of the muscles and tissues to prevent significant damage to the muscles bordering the spine. Typically, this results in less pain after surgery and a faster recovery. The goal of this type of surgery is to give the patient the same outcome as open surgery, but with fewer complications and less pain. 

The indications for minimally invasive spine surgery are the same as those for traditional open surgery.  Spine surgery is usually suggested if there is no relief of the painful symptoms caused by your back problem after a non-surgical treatment such as medications and physical therapy.

Minimally invasive methods can be applied for common procedures like lumbar decompression and spinal fusion. Decompression relieves pressure on spinal nerves. This is done by removing parts of the bone or a herniated disk while Spinal fusion corrects problems with the small bones of the spine (vertebrae). To provide healing of the painful vertebrae, together the painful vertebrae are to be fused or integrated into a solid bone.

Surgical Approaches

1. Anterior approach. The surgeon accesses the spine from the front of your body, through the stomach.

2. Posterior approach: A cut is made in your back.

3. Lateral approach: The passage to your spine is done through your side.

Spine Surgical Procedures 

Types of Lower Back Surgery. There are different types of surgery for lower back pain, including:

1. Laminectomy and laminotomy. A laminectomy removes the lamina, which is located at the back of the vertebrae. Removal of only a portion of the lamina is called a laminotomy.

2. Discectomy or Microdiscectomy. This is the removal of a bulging or herniated intervertebral disc thus, removing pressure from the compressed nerve. Microdiscectomy is a MISS procedure.

3. Spinal fusion. A surgical technique used to join two vertebrae to stabilize the spine. Spinal fusion may include the use of bone graft with or without instrumentation (eg, rods, screws). There are different types of bone graft, such as your own bone (autograft) and donor bone (allograft)

4. Disc replacement: As an alternative to fusion, the injured disc is replaced with an artificial one.

5. Foraminotomy: Removal of bone or tissue at/in the passageway (called the neuroforamen) where nerve roots branch off the spinal cord and exit the spinal column.

Lumbar spine surgery helps patients recover from acute and chronic back pain. Moreover, even the elderly or those with major spinal problems often achieve a higher level of function once symptoms are alleviated. But before resorting to any type of treatment, always talk to your doctor about your lower back pain as they can best help and give you advice on what course of action to take. 

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