As our spinal bones and discs age, they naturally undergo degeneration that can lead to back pain. Back pain can also be a consequence of underlying conditions like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis. Though severe back pain and numbness of limbs can affect patients’ quality of life, they are not in and of themselves signs you need back surgery. Generally, surgical back pain treatment should usually be a last resort to consider against other safer and effective non-surgical choices.
I typically advise patients to explore all non-surgical back pain treatment options before considering surgery. There is simply no guarantee that spinal surgery will relieve you of your back pain in the short or long term, and in many cases an integrative approach with physical therapies, diet, or acupuncture may be just as effective as surgery; plus, undergoing any surgical procedure puts you at risk for minor to serious complications. That’s why nonsurgical treatments are my preference, even for severe back pain relief.
Sometimes, though, back pain calls for surgery. There are a few conditions for which surgery is the best or only option for severe back pain relief. Even if like the majority of patients you won’t require surgical treatment, please take a minute to look over these signs you need back surgery. In some cases, awareness of serious underlying issues that accompany severe back pain can save you from paralysis and even death.
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