Spine surgery is something many of us will undergo at some time. The numbers just can’t be avoided! It is estimated 4.6 million of us will need spine surgery at some time, and 533,839 spine procedures were performed in 1999 alone.
Fortunately, in most cases, the results are good. For example, a report in 2005 of an assessment of 622 of 847 patients treated in 2002 found 70 percent returned to work and full time activities. Even better, 85 percent reported they rarely if ever used medication for pain, following their operations.
If you need a surgical second opinion, check out C3Spine.com who are experts.
Pain in the back is the first sign of the need for surgery, of course.
In older people pain in the back is to be expected. As their muscles degenerate, or a lifetime of bad posture that has progressively stressed the spine catches up with them, they will feel pain. Further, years of wear and tear in the spine at old trauma sites, or overweight that causes the spine’s discs to have less ‘cushioning’, will have their effects. And the damage that results may need to be operated on.
Don’t rush in to it, however. For one thing, it is going to be expensive. And for another in many cases, pain is caused by things like inflammation of the soft tissue, muscle spasms, or arthritis. For this you will not need surgery. A physiotherapist or even a massage or acupuncture technician will often be able to help.
If the pain persists and surgery does seem necessary, your doctor will be able to find out with traditional examinations and x-ray techniques. Ask for him to use them first. The expensive MRI scanners will help if the diagnosis is that spinal surgery is required, but it would seem that in some 85 percent of cases the scanner will not find anything that the old fashioned exam and x-ray did not pick up.
However, once it is thought that surgery will be necessary then an MRI scan will give your surgeon valuable, detailed information about your spine.
You need to quiz your surgeon about that information, however. Because studies show that after five years people who had back pain and elected for surgery got about the same degree of relief from pain, or improved mobility, than those who didn’t. So if your doctor is talking about surgery, get a second opinion.