The Most Common Type Of Pain
Most people experience back pain at some point in a lifetime. About 80% of adults in the US report having back pain, whether acute or chronic. Being in pain is one of the most common reasons for missing work. In mild cases, some people may experience symptom improvement through rest, ice, and proper stretching. However, patients with certain conditions may want to consider spine surgery. Some of these conditions include arthritis, slipped discs, and cervical radiculopathy.
Inflammation of the joints
Most people do not require surgery for osteoarthritis (OA). However, sometimes the inflammation of the joint that is caused by arthritis can lead to other conditions. Some of these include pinched nerves, such as in spinal stenosis, or unstable joints, such as in degenerative spondylolisthesis. In these cases, a surgeon may recommend spinal fusion to stop the motion of the inflamed joint. If OA is caused by a pinched nerve, then a patient may consider surgical decompression of the joints or a laminectomy to get rid of bone spurs. The laminectomy procedure has proven to be highly effective for patients who have pinched nerves caused by arthritis of the spine.
When a disc slips out of place
Also called a herniated disc, a slipped disc occurs when one of the shock-absorbing discs between the vertebrae slips out of place and pushes into the spine. A slipped disc can happen at any point along the spine; however, this condition is most common in the lower back. A disc can slip out of place through overexertion, such as lifting something too heavy, or from another health condition.
Most healthcare providers will not recommend surgery until all other slipped disc treatments have been exhausted. These can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), steroid injections, or physical therapy. When surgical treatment is deemed necessary, some of the most common spine surgeries for slipped discs include laminectomy, discectomy, or spinal fusion.
Tingling and numbness in the arms
Cervical radiculopathy occurs when a spinal nerve becomes inflamed. The condition can cause numbness or tingling in the limbs, as well as weakness and pain. When symptoms don’t improve with more conservative treatment options, surgery may be recommended. The objective of surgery for cervical radiculopathy is to relieve pressure on the inflamed nerves. The most common spine surgery for this condition is the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) procedure. During ACDF surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged disc or bone spurs and then performs a spinal fusion to stabilize the spine. The procedure sometimes also involves the placement of an artificial disc or a bone graft.
Learn more about minimally invasive surgery
For many patients with advanced conditions such as arthritis, a herniated disc, or cervical radiculopathy, spine surgery may be an effective treatment option. In many cases, surgeons can perform minimally invasive surgery (MIS) on the spine. MIS is associated with fewer cuts, a lower chance of infection, and a faster recovery period. This means that patients can get back to normal life sooner. Speak with a spine surgeon to learn more about surgery and treatment options.