Chronic back pain can be debilitating for many people. It limits daily activities, job performance, and can interrupt sleep. Pain makes it difficult to stay healthy through exercise. Finding relief from pain can be nearly impossible. For some, laying in bed is the only relief. That is no way to live life. For those suffering from back pain and a decrease in movement, spinal surgery may be an option.
Spinal fusion is the surgery most often used to treat back pain. This surgery involves the fusing, or joining, of the vertebrae together. Doing this will decrease motion between the bones and will limit the stretching of the nerves. This will decrease pain felt in the spine. Rarely, the bones will not fuse properly. If this occurs, another surgery may be necessary.
To relieve pressure on the nerves in the spine, a surgeon can perform a laminectomy. This surgery involves removing parts of the vertebrae or ligaments in the spine. This alleviates pain and weakness in the affected area. Sometimes this procedure can make the spine less stable. If instability occurs, a spinal fusion may be necessary. The surgeon may be able to perform the fusion during a laminectomy.
Nerves exit the vertebrae of the spine through holes called foramen. A foraminotomy widens the holes to relieve pressure on the nerves. This reduces pain. Spinal instability can result from this surgery. If this happens, a spinal fusion may be necessary. Like the laminectomy, the surgeon may perform a fusion during this surgery if the spine becomes less stable.
In between the vertebrae there are discs made of cartilage. If one of these discs slips out of place, it can cause pain and weakness. A discectomy removes the slipped disk, or a portion of it, which relieves pain. This surgery is often performed at the same time as other spinal surgeries.
Sometimes the discs between the bones become damaged. A surgeon can replace the disc with an artificial one. This allows for movement, unlike a spinal fusion. Lumbar and cervical disc replacement refer to the different parts of the spine where the disc will be replaced. Occasionally, the artificial disc may slip out of place. This would cause the need for a repair in the future.
An interlaminar implant is a U-shaped device. It is inserted between bones in the spine to relieve pressure on the nerves. This will alleviate pain and weakness for patients. The benefit of an implant is that it provides stability to the back, and there is no decrease in movement.
No one should have to go through life suffering with pain. Remaining active is a key part of living a healthy and happy life. Pain and weakness limit the enjoyment of and participation in activities. For those living with chronic back pain, surgery may help. Call the office of Dr. Jeffrey M. Epstein and start your journey towards relief today.