Spine Surgery

Definition of spine surgery 

Spine surgery is a surgical procedure aimed at alleviating back pain from a herniated disk or other issues. This type of surgery may also be performed to change the patient's spinal structure. Once severe back pain is diagnosed, it may require surgery to correct the problem and alleviate the pain.

Some cases of back pain can be relieved by back surgery, but it is rarely necessary. In most cases, back pain goes away on its own within a few months and with the help of medication to alleviate the pain.

Reasons for spine surgery

Pain in the lower back or lumbar region is one of the most common reasons people seek the care of their primary physician. The main reasons people suffer from low back pain is due to bad lumbar support and posture as well as problems related to the following:

- Herniated disks

- Abnormalities like scoliosis

- Vertebral fractures

- Spinal stenosis

In some cases, chronic back pain could be due to genetics

Problems with the back usually respond to conservative or non-surgical treatments like anti-inflammatory medicines, gentle massage, heat and physical therapy.

Risks of spine surgery

As with all surgery, spine surgery also  bears some risks that should be considered these include:

- Infection

- Bleeding

- Heart attack

- Stroke

- Nerve damage

- Blood clots

Some patients may have a negative reaction towards the anesthesia used.

Do you need spine surgery?

If non-surgical treatments have been tried but were unsuccessful at helping to relieve your back pain and as a result, your back pain prevents you from going about your daily activities, spine surgery may be an option. Back or spine surgery is most often successful for a pain that is also associated with numbness or pain that travels into one or both legs or arms.

Treatments, spine surgery-1

This radiating or referred pain is often caused by pinched or compressed nerves in the spine. A variety of different conditions can cause compression on the nerves, including:

- Disk problems: Ruptured (herniated) or bulging discs. These are the cushions that separate your vertebrae (the bones of your spine). Sometimes they can press on spinal nerves and irritate them.

- Overgrowth of bone: Conditions such as osteoarthritis may cause the excess bone to grow (bone spurs) that limits the amount of space available through which the nerves travel.

Sometimes herniated or bulging discs are present for a long time and cause no pain. They show up on x-rays that were taken for an unrelated condition. This is why it can be difficult to find the exact reason for back pain, even if bone spurs or problems in the discs show up on x-ray.

How do specialists diagnose the need for spine surgery

- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans

- CT (Computerized Tomography) scans

- Bone scans

- Blood tests

- Nerve studies

Spine surgery recovery

Spine surgery recovery is needed after a spinal operation and there are several types of spine surgery procedures.

There are several different types of back surgery including:

- Discectomy:  This operation involves removing the bulging or herniated part of a disc, which then relieves the inflammation and irritation it was causing to a nerve. In order to access the ruptured disc, the surgeon typically has to remove part or all of the lamina, or back portion, of a vertebra.

- Laminectomy: In this procedure, the bone that lies over the spinal canal is removed. This relieves pressure on the nerves caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal by creating more room in the canal.

- Fusion: This operation reduces pain by making the spine more stable. It is also used occasionally to keep the vertebrae from grinding on each other when a disc is worn out or damaged. The procedure permanently joins two or more vertebrae together, making them immobile.  

- Artificial discs: This is a relatively new alternative to spinal fusion to relieve pain due to a damaged or degenerated disc. For many people, these devices are not an option.

Treatment and care after spine surgery and for back pain

After spine surgery, patients will undergo physical therapy to restore strength, flexibility, and mobility to the spine and back.
Treatment for back pain may include over the counter medication (prescribed) such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as well as over the counter (OTC) painkillers. However, some patients will resort to massages or natural methods to alleviate pain such as acupuncture and herbal remedies. Some patients also do yoga and special stretches, meditation, and breathing techniques and help alleviate pain and create more flexibility.

Consider all options

Leg and back pain can be complicated issues that need a team of medical professionals to treat. So before you decide to have back surgery, think about getting a second opinion. Back surgeons often have differences of opinion related to whether surgery is needed, what kind of surgery may be best and what other treatments are available.

You might also like to read:
- Nerve Conduction Study (NCS),
- Spinal Diagnostics.

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Questions & Answers
Q:
What is the best way to treat permanent back and neck pain and stiffness?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Use a telephone headset

Never hold a phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset or other hands-free system to talk on the phone and avoid abusing your neck and spine.

Neck Pain Tips: Exercise your neck muscles

One of the best neck pain tips is using the chin tuck. You can do this often throughout the day. In addition to helping strengthen the muscles that hold the head in alignment over the shoulders, it also helps strengthen the scalene and sub-occipital muscles.

Read more tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
What is the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder Pain?
A:

One of the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder pain is exercises:

Neck Pain Exercises: Neck Extension

  1. To begin this neck pain exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the back of your neck, at the base of your head
  4. Apply slight forward pressure with your hand, while resisting the forward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

Neck pain exercises: Side bend

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place your left hand, palm down, on the left side of your head (around your ear)
  4. Slightly push your head to the right side with your hand, while resisting the sideways motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times
  7. Repeat the neck pain exercises with the other side.

Neck pain exercises: Neck flexion

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the tips of your fingers on your forehead
  4. Slightly push your head backward with your fingers, while resisting the backward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

More exercises here: Neck Pain Exercises

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
How do I reduce the shoulder and neck pain?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Carry weight evenly

Many people make the mistake of carrying a heavy briefcase or their purse on their shoulder or on one side of their body. Doing this causes strain in the muscles and leads to pain.

Remove non-essentials from your briefcase or purse. Consider using a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. If you choose to carry a purse or backpack, keep your shoulders level while carrying it.

Neck Pain Tips: Maintain a proper posture

The most common posture contributing to neck pain is the “head-and-shoulders-forward” posture. In this position, the neck slopes forward, putting the head in front of the shoulders.

In this position, the head pulls the upper back forward also in a slumped position. This places a strain on the entire spinal column.

More tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers