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Spinal surgery has made significant advances in both its safety and efficiency in correcting many back problems, from traumatic spinal cord injury to degenerative diseases like spinal stenosis, spondylosis, and slipped disc. Many of these advances in spinal surgery have come in recent years due to minimally invasive microsurgical tools and techniques. Nonetheless, back surgery is a severe operation, and surgical candidates need to be aware of all facets of the procedure they’re considering – not only the benefits of the surgery but also the potential risks. One of the risks of spinal surgery is that of developing blood clots.
Any injury to the body increases the risk of a blood clot, as the injury itself stimulates the clotting process. Surgery constitutes an injury or trauma, and the body responds accordingly. Spinal surgery – which the body interprets as an injury to the spinal cord – can lead to the formation of blood clots within the veins. If such a thrombus becomes dislodged, it can block a blood vessel as it narrows, causing a stroke or heart attack, possibly resulting in paralysis or death. Proper postoperative care, medications, and the patient’s active role in the recovery process can minimize the risks of blood clots.
That’s a postoperative disease associated with thrombus forming in the deep veins of the lower extremities. Often, it is induced by muscle atony or, simply put, lack of movement.
DVT symptoms include:
To understand why you get blood clots after surgery, it’s worth analyzing the typology of thrombus. So, the hemostasis of the human body is maintained by forming blood clots (e.g., during wound healing). But sometimes, such a phenomenon has a negative impact on the body’s functioning. The thrombus is formed as a result of activation of the blood coagulation system in response to a vascular injury. The occurrence of thrombosis is also associated with a violation of the venous wall. That’s life-threatening because pulmonary embolisms from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may happen later. A blood clot breaks off and goes through the bloodstream to the lungs, settling in the pulmonary arteries.
It may also cause some ischemic strokes or blood clots near the spine while blocking the artery that supplies the spinal cord. Its signs usually appear suddenly and can feel like a tight bandage wrapped around a torso. That’s precisely the point where the blood supply is disrupted. The thickening or narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the spinal cord often triggers cerebrospinal strokes.
Treating conditions such as slipped discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylosis is much less likely to cause complications than a hip or knee replacement. The cumulative incidence of deep vein thrombosis or DVT, also known as blood clot after surgery, steadily increases during the first two weeks and depends on the professional hospital care and factors of the patient’s preoperative condition, for example:
One of the misconceptions is regarding the existence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as a risk factor. The reality is that postoperative complications don’t occur; for the most part, they may be comorbid.
The most important concern after an operation is to prevent any negative consequences. In this case, we’re talking about two serious diseases: deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
Since the thrombus has a high density, thinning drugs, namely anticoagulants, will prevent blood clotting (e.g., warfarin/ coumadin, heparin).
Note! Use the article for informational purposes only. Follow the therapeutic instructions of your doctor.
Clot busters are injected intravenously and break down clots. Filters settled in large veins can sometimes be used during therapy. Their function is to prevent pulmonary embolism. Compression stockings may also prevent puffiness (one of the signs we’ve noted above).
Prevention of the illness in the postoperative period consists of maintaining normal body weight and good physical shape. Thus, you need to play sports, walk and avoid prolonged inactivity constantly. So, for example, it’s essential to take short walks. Discuss with your doctor how vulnerable you’re at risk of blood clotting, tell your medical history. If you suffer from comorbid diseases, such as diabetes or heart failure, ensure to report it. During the preoperative period, your goal should be to achieve a stable state of health.
Blood clots in the back can be triggered by an invasive operation, trauma, disease. In 40% of cases, people who have suffered a cerebrospinal stroke can walk independently, 30% move with a cane, 20% are confined to a wheelchair. The scary data only makes you want to stay out of that 20% and 30%, right? Therefore, the preparatory period is significant: systematic; targeted treatment will help eliminate possible negative consequences. Anticoagulants, drugs that lower blood pressure, occupational therapy to preserve muscle function – these are all standard manipulations for preventing and treating cerebrospinal stroke. By the way, don’t forget to stick to a healthy diet – foods rich in fiber will help avoid the risks of intestinal inflammation. So take care of yourself now, not when you reap the rewards of a poor lifestyle.
Anyone considering back surgery should also be aware that some procedures for treating a spinal problem may present lower risks or provide better outcomes than others. For example, the TOPS™ (Total Posterior Solution) procedure, which may be performed after spinal decompression surgery to stabilize the spine, provides better clinical outcomes than spinal fusion surgery, which was the traditional choice for spine stabilization before the introduction of the TOPS system.
The TOPS provides for minimally invasive spine surgery and thereby significantly reduces the risks associated with DVT. Previously, when knowledge in spine treatment wasn’t as developed as today, the fusion procedure was the only available and most innovative option. The vertebrae were “glued” into a relatively rigid structure, which significantly limited movement. Even though flexion and extension weren’t possible, and the risks were very impressive, the fusion continues to be performed today. However, TOPS™ surgery has become a more acceptable alternative to treating degenerative spondylolisthesis of lumbar spinal stenosis for many younger physicians. Its advantage is movement in all axial directions, as well as stability.
The structure is implanted using a traditional posterior surgical approach, but the TOPS system exerts less force on the screws than other configurations.
After the operation, the blood clotting mechanism in the body is very active because it’s aimed at stopping bleeding. Damage to the blood vessels around the surgical site is often the cause of DVT. Thrombus can form in the veins of the lower extremities but travel to the pulmonary veins with the blood flow, generating pulmonary embolisms, which are life-threatening. This process can last for weeks, and some symptoms can be identical to other diseases. The same shortness of breath or coughing are often warning symptoms, and if the convalescent neglects visits to the hospital or rehabilitation center, then often valuable time can be wasted.
The TOPS solution has the added benefit of preserving the spine’s full range of motion and also has significantly lower risks of thrombosis, unlike spinal fusion, which permanently fuses adjacent vertebrae. If you’re a candidate for back surgery, make sure you understand not only the upsides and downsides but also all the alternative surgical solutions that can help you minimize the already low risks associated with advanced spinal procedures.
Near the top of the list of questions from almost every spinal surgery, the patients indicate how long they will have to wait for the following surgery before resuming their everyday activities. When it includes athletics – golf and tennis, bowling and the like, pastimes that put tremendous strain on the back – the answer becomes more complex. The factors influencing the time before patients can get back in the game include their physical condition and health. Just because one engages in strenuous physical activity doesn’t mean they are in good physical condition or health. Recovery times are faster for surgery patients in good physical shape because their bodies heal more quickly. Of course, the operation itself will play a significant role in deciding when you’ll be back on the tennis courts, golf course, taking a job, or engaging in a simple walk. The postoperative physical therapy program also plays a significant role. But the type of back surgery is the primary factor affecting the time required to get back into sports activities.
How to recover from surgery if you are an athlete or cannot live without daily activity – read further in this article.
While many people consider back surgery as the end of a promising sports career, Olympic, amateur, or professional athletes have returned to their competition after many common types of operations. General physical condition, professionalism during surgery, and spine rehabilitation affect how quickly you return to the game. Here are some tips for athletes planning to return to sport after a minimally invasive intervention.
In most cases, surgeons consult about postoperative care. They depend not only on the patient’s health and medical history but also on the desire to return to sports. We previously discussed lower back surgery recovery: diet, exercise, physical therapy, massages, proper wound care, and medication support are vital aspects of recovery. Of course, you shouldn’t neglect motivation and grit to achieve success. And if your competition is right around the corner, and you’re still in the hospital ward, this is not a reason to be upset. Your orthopedic surgeon will take this into account when planning your postoperative period. Of course, everyone wants to leave and start an everyday life immediately. Still, following the recommendations, you’ll be able to return to sports faster than causing implicit harm to your body during self-rehabilitation. Returning too early cancels not only the healing but the operation’s effectiveness.
So, a doctor’s advice may include:
You’d also talk to your coach about your career prospects or options (if you’re an amateur athlete) when getting approval from your PCP to return to athletics. It’s essential to be careful and aware of the limitations.
The postoperative stage depends on the patient, understanding the symptoms of complications, and a quick reaction if something goes wrong. E.g., accurately characterizing the level of pain and discomfort, reporting aches, numbness of the limbs, dizziness, suppuration in the wound area doesn’t mean a step back in the rehabilitation progress, but on the contrary, the ability to accelerate after a slight slowdown. Try to protect the spine, especially in the early stages of recovery. Respect your body and its healing times.
Infections at the site of the surgical incision most often occur 2–4 weeks after the intervention. Most often, the following symptoms appear:
It’s essential to treat any of these and some other signs as they arise. If ignored, unavoidable consequences may occur.
For patients with deep infection, a course of intravenous antibiotics is often given for about two months. Chronic contamination leads to the removal of the implant.
Keep the wound clean: it must be washed with water and soap at least once a day. Remember to keep the wound dry for healing and crusting. It’s undesirable to utilize ointments, lotions, body creams on the operated areas. After two weeks, when the staples or stitches are removed, you may return to bathing or swimming.
For opioid pain relievers, discontinuation usually occurs within the first few weeks, at most a month. There are other pain management options, such as using acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. But, as in the first case, they have their pros and cons and depend on the medical history. By combining medicines with physical therapy, you can achieve impressive results.
It’s no secret that athletes’ dedication to the postoperative rehabilitation program greatly influences their subsequent success. Depending on overall progress in physical therapy, you may get consent to exercise, but return to activity must be gradual and gentle to avoid unnecessary risks.
Patients, who have undergone minimally invasive TOPS™ procedures, can usually regain a full and painless range of motion. They have the greatest likelihood of returning to sport at pre-injury levels. Conversely, most exercises after spinal fusion aren’t available to athletes, and the possibility of injury increases – they’re less likely to return to athletics. Any collisions and falls will negatively affect health.
In any case, physiotherapy is a panacea for healing – movement combined with other aspects of rehabilitation can give you a chance for a better life. Let’s consider the leading practices that are useful for patients in the postoperative period.
It’s worth moving daily to improve blood circulation and speed up the healing of muscles and spine tissues. E.g., an essential therapy is walking, which can support the normal functioning of the heart and lungs. An upright position of the body is the best activity for the spine after surgery – this way, you can protect the discs from unnecessary stress. So, start with simple walks, and then work with your coach to develop your exercise program.
That’s one of the simplest and effective therapies utilized in various types of operations. For instance, laminectomy recovery exercises are invaluable as they help protect discs and strengthen your back muscles.
This exercise is valuable because the discs hold the lower back during flexion and extension of the lumbar spine. So, to perform the training, you need to do the following steps:
To strengthen the muscles of the lower back, it’s worth doing the SLR exercise. To do this, while lying on your stomach, slowly and alternately lift each leg up. In doing so, try to tighten your abdominal muscles. Do an exercise with a delay of two seconds at the highest point of the limb position. As before, do ten reps per set. Such a physiotherapy approach is appropriate for laminectomy, fusion, microdiscectomy, decompression, and of course, implantation.
In some cases, the surgical treatment chosen for a given spinal condition will affect not only the time needed to get back on the playing field but the degree to which you will ever be able to recover your old form. Take the stabilization procedure following spinal decompression surgery, for example. Spinal decompression is performed to relieve pressure on nerves within or emanating from the spine caused by conditions including spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and other degenerative changes or as a result of spinal cord trauma. Spinal fusion back surgery has been the primary stabilization procedure. But the fused vertebrae lose their independent motion following stabilization. Often, patients are restricted from physical activity for up to 6 months while waiting for the biological fusion process to complete. Today, the TOPS™ (Total Posterior Solution) System provides an alternative to spinal fusion. The TOPS™ System, a surgical implant, stabilizes the spine while preserving each vertebra’s independent motion – and the good news is that there are no restrictions on your physical activity after surgery. That’s going to ensure better performance whenever it’s time to get back in the game.
As you improve your range of motion in your spine, it’s time to start doing more challenging activities that will help you get back to working condition. To do this, discuss a possible change in activity with a PCP and trainer and adjust the training schedule. After implantation, you don’t have to worry that you can’t perform some exercises. The TOPS™ System is an alternative to spinal fusion and allows you to perform any range of movements required for warm-up, training, and cool-down.
Any surgery is a serious stress for the body. Therefore, even if the surgeon who performed the operation is a true genius of medicine and everything went well, postoperative rehabilitation is necessary to restore the body’s strength and functions fully.
In recent years, there has been a tendency to increase the incidence of spine disease, which is primarily due to lack of adequate exercise, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle in the era of total computerization. That consequently leads to a decrease in the tone of the torso muscles that hold the spine.
Thus, in the developed countries of the world, osteochondrosis of the spine is 90% of the total number of dystrophic diseases of the spine.
Recovering from back surgery happens in entirely different ways, as there are four main types, each of which has a different effect on the body.
That’s the removal of the disc that separates the vertebrae and helps support part of your spinal column. The intervention can be performed with different surgical techniques under general or spinal anesthesia.
Such an operation is prescribed for injuries or degeneration of the spinal cushion, with osteochondrosis or hernia. Disease symptoms are as follows: localized pain and numbness or extremities tingling.
Recovery from the procedure is often quick, but the patient continues to feel pain. There may also be numbness or weakness in the nerve pathway that has been exposed to high pressure.
Foraminal Therapy is applied to patients who have been diagnosed with spinal canal stenosis, a gradual narrowing of the vertebrae openings on any part of the back (cervical, thoracic, lumbar). That’s a manipulation of the spinal nerve roots that requires repositioning the tissues and cutting the bone to relieve pressure on the nerve. The procedure involves access to each vertebral level, so the incision length depends on the desired operable area.
The practice of recovery from lower back surgery shows slow and steady progress: patients can be exposed to light physical activity and also drive a car after eight weeks. Complete healing occurs within 18 months.
That’s the removal of the plate, bone spurs, ligaments, as well as the back of the bones that make up the vertebrae to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves or spine. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and mechanical ventilation.
Laminectomy is usually performed for lingering back or neck pain and nerve damage symptoms such as limb weakness and numbness. Patients can often lose control of bowel movements and urination. Complications such as bleeding, infections, blood clots, and nerve root damage can occur with this type of intervention.
After the operation, a mandatory stay in the hospital for up to several days is required, and most likely, in the evening, you won’t be able to walk as with TOPS™ implantation. Of course, any mobility will be controlled with medication: you’ll have to overcome pain to do any exercise constantly. When caring for the sick, it’s necessary to follow clear rules for bathing, walking, and sleeping. It’ll take at least 3-4 months for your bones to heal well, and recovery will take place gradually over a year.
If your diagnosis is spine arthrodesis, but you’re young and healthy, then the possibility of work will still be excluded for a period of up to 6 weeks. On the other hand, older people will have to fight for every movement: it’ll take 4-6 months for them to recover.
It’s the fusion of two bones in the back. Today, the procedure is considered outdated and incomplete among doctors: its peak came at the turn of the 20th century and required great care and planning from the patient and the surgeon. Previously, it was prescribed to patients with osteochondrosis or other diseases that didn’t respond to conservative treatment.
The fusion aims to prevent pain by immobilizing a specific spine area and is very dangerous in everyday life. Specialized titanium screws, rods, and plates are designed to maintain the rigidity and stability of two or more vertebral segments, which will be a monolithic bone structure after surgery. Such an operation is often delayed up to 8 hours. Recovery time to spinal fusion is also very long and takes from 6 months to a year. Its duration depends on your preoperative state: if you’re in good physical shape and have a healthy lifestyle, it promises the best predictions.
The TOPS™ implant maintains the mobility of the vertebral segment while the upper and lower vertebrae don’t suffer from increased stress as in previous procedures. Such a design doesn’t immobilize a person but gives the whole range of movements. The operation is considered minimally invasive, and its average duration is about 60-120 minutes. There is also an early clinically significant reduction in pain compared to the patient’s baseline.
Complications during implantation are much less common than in previous procedures. E.g., only one patient had an asymptomatic screw halo in the postoperative period six months later. However, the process involved changing the screw position, which could probably be the reason for the above conclusion. Also, after 36 months, one patient showed progressive degenerative changes.
Many specialists have inclined to therapy with no fusion spinal surgery in recent years but based on safety and positive results of clinical trials.
Recovery from lower back surgery will depend on your preparedness in the preoperative period: the level of activity and physical fitness will affect the rapid progress. You will be able to walk and move on the next day after the intervention – the maximum stay in the hospital for patients in four days. Achievement of the expected level of mobility is reached already at 4-6 weeks and depends on the correct rehabilitation approaches and a course of physiotherapy. Using nutrients to improve recovery and healing is another aspect of quick recovery.
Research shows that using spinal surgery recovery vitamins and other supplements helps the body rehabilitate better. Immune nutrition minimizes the risk of complications such as infection. Oral supplements are commonly used in tablets, or the liquid is given intravenously. Arginine, glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids, nucleotides, and antioxidants are the primary nutrients for healing after injuries such as osteochondrosis, herniated discs, and surgery. Let’s take a look at each substance.
It’s an amino acid that the human body produces in small quantities. The supplement is so valuable that it increases the ability to fight infections.
Foods containing arginine are nuts, seeds, legumes, poultry (especially turkey).
The amino acid can be synthesized in sufficient quantities. It participates in biological processes that control cell growth and also reduces the risk of infections.
You can get glutamine naturally by eating beef, eggs, rice, corn, and soy cheese.
Reduces the body’s inflammatory response, which is a source of persistent back pain. Salmon, eggs, nuts, flax, spinach, and other leafy vegetables contain omega-3.
DNA and RNA are made up of nucleotides, which are their formative and supportive components. The human body synthesizes and processes nucleotides, but they can additionally come from food. Sources of nucleotides are foods of plant and animal origin.
Antioxidants are vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, selenium. They reduce oxidative stress associated with chronic inflammation.
Examples of naturally occurring antioxidants include leafy greens, nuts, fruits, seeds, and whole grains.
To understand how long the recovery from back fusion surgery is, consider its risks. There can be a difficult struggle with the arising complications, where the correct diet and universal rehabilitation methods aren’t always appropriate. On the other hand, with the TOPS™ implant, healing will be much faster as the risks of infections and bleeding are minimized.
First of all, it is a pain and fear that will increase with movement. Therefore, the patients often limit themselves, thus delaying recovery.
It may seem that rehabilitation of the spine is not necessary, as if you can go home after surgery and get treated there. But this is really a very risky intention, and if you do so, you may stay bedridden forever.
Spinal surgery can provide dramatic relief for people with moderate to severe spinal problems that do not respond to conventional conservative therapy. For example, spinal decompression can remove pressure on nerves, relieve pain and restore mobility in many such patients.
Spine surgery recovery time varies depending on the procedure. The main purpose of rehabilitation is to restore the full range of motion, as well as the formation of a capable muscular corset.
Here are the methods used: the simplest exercises, supervision, and support of a doctor, physiotherapy procedures, classes on the simulators and in the pool, therapeutic baths, massage, reflexology, psychological support.
First, the physiological therapist examines the postoperative card, the features of surgery. Then, in collaboration with other specialists, create a method of treatment. The method of treatment includes two sides, physical and psychological. These two methods perfectly complement each other and give a great result together.
If you’re a candidate for spinal surgery, it’s important to understand all aspects of the procedure and its aftermath. One of the most important questions these patients should have answers to is the length of time required to recover from spinal surgery.
Recovery time from back surgery depends on the form of surgery. There are two forms of back surgery: procedures where vertebrae are fused together versus procedures that do not immobilize the spine. Recovery from fusion surgery can take longer than the recovery time from back surgeries that only involve a decompression or a surgery that preserves motion. Your physician can tell you more about the recovery time required for a particular procedure. But it’s important for patients to consider outcomes as well as recovery time.
Effects achieved after physical rehabilitation:
For example, spinal decompression surgery has traditionally been performed in conjunction with spinal fusion back surgery. As part of the recovery process, restrictions on motions and activities are placed on the patient to allow the previously independent vertebral bodies to biologically fuse together and become one long rigid segment devoid of motion. In contrast, with the TOPS™ System, an alternative to spinal fusion following a spinal decompression procedure, there are no restrictions placed on the patient. You maintain a full range of independent vertebral motion after surgery, and the patient dictates the speed of recovery from this back surgery. You can increase your activity level as quickly as you want.
The answer is simple — the sooner, the better. Rehabilitation treatment should begin immediately after surgery and continue until an acceptable result is achieved. The rehabilitation process is no less important than the success of the operation itself.
Timely physical and psychological rehabilitation helps to pass the adaptation period quickly and without consequences. The doctor, before the intervention, must explain its features, course, possible complications. After the operation, he must clearly indicate what restrictions the patient has and when they are removed. In the initial stage, you should use painkillers to reduce discomfort. But by the end of the first week, they should be canceled.
The importance of rehabilitation measures should not be underestimated. Rehabilitation mustn’t cause pain, as muscle spasms can cause a painful reaction. The clinical effect will give a gradual muscle relaxation and increased range of motion in the joints.
The patient should be guided in the stages of rehabilitation, know the rules of conduct and the necessary exercises in the postoperative period. It is the doctor who determines how much recovery time is required in each case.
Back surgery treatment doesn’t end when the surgeon completes the operative work. The recovery period is of critical importance in restoring spinal health. Whatever the recovery period requires, make sure you carefully follow your physician’s instructions. And be aware of all your options for spinal surgery, so you’ll have not only the possible shortest recovery time but also the best possible outcome to your back surgery.
The rules of spinal surgery emphasize the consumption of more vegetables and fruits, preference for white meat and fish, the addition of jelly to the diet. After all, these dishes help to restore cartilage.
The rehabilitation program is made individually. It depends on the type of operation, patient’s age and general condition, the recovery period. The activities are planned and carried out under the close supervision of a surgeon, a neurologist, and a physical therapist.
People with low back pain develop a fear of movement, which once again confirms the close connection between biological and psychosocial factors. Often patients avoid the movements that caused the pain, even after recovery. This not only negatively affects the mobility of the spine but can also provoke depression, which increases the risk of recurrence.
How long you will recover after surgery depends on many factors. First of all, it is a method of surgery. Minimally invasive recovery techniques are now increasingly used. After that, the patient returns home for 3-4 days. With traditional interventions, the hospital stay can be extended by 1-1.5 weeks.
Previously, patients were allowed to get out of bed only a day after surgery. Other methods are now being practiced. In a few hours, it is recommended to get to your feet. You may need the help of a nurse. You can walk on the first day for no more than 5-10 minutes, then the load increases.
If the surgery was complex, only passive rehabilitation (massage, passive gymnastics) is used in the first month. The effect begins on the muscles of the thighs, buttocks, pelvis, shoulder girdle, and chest. The operated site is not involved in this period.
Gradually active ones are connected to passive techniques. With a physical therapist, you will learn how to perform exercises for flexibility, strengthening the back muscles properly. You can use gymnastic sticks and rubber bands, expanders, dumbbells, fitness and medicine balls during classes. At a remote stage, join the exercises on a special simulator, a balancer.
One of the causes of lumbar spine surgery is overweight and poor nutrition. Therefore, we recommend that all clients who come for rehabilitation and have signs of obesity consult a nutritionist. The doctor will choose the type of diet that will help normalize body weight and speed recovery.
Spine and lumbar spine surgery is a procedure with a rather lengthy recovery.
Young people are generally more capable of a faster recovery from back surgery than their older counterparts.
The purpose of treatment and rehabilitation measures is to remove swelling in the operated area and eliminate pain. Doctors prescribe patients a course of medication and procedures designed to prevent complications after surgery.
Walking is important after spinal surgery, but you must remember to start slowly and follow your doctor’s orders on how much to walk
Do not do strenuous activities, like jogging or golfing; do not do household duties that put a strain on the back, like gardening and vacuuming.
It should not be assumed that six months after the intervention, you can forget about rehabilitation. The degenerative changes in the spine that provoked the hernia do not go away. It is possible to slow down their development and prevent the recurrence of the problem only with the help of exercise, massage, and lifestyle changes. Therefore, most doctors recommend not to stop special classes for the rest of your life.
Take your time, be patient, allow your attendants to help you, and know that each day, with each step, you’re on your way to recovery.
Most back pain improves with a few weeks of self-care, including over-the-counter pain relievers, ice, heat and taking care not to lift heavy items or work out too vigorously. It also helps to get some mild exercise and movement into your day, rather than lying down and staying still for too long – which can make back pain worse. But if these self-care methods don’t relieve your back pain after a few weeks, you should consult with a back pain specialist to improve your symptoms with medications.
The most common first steps in pain-reducing medications is your doctor’s recommendations of acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen (Aleve). Both of these types of medications are effective at relieving back pain, often within a very short period of time after taking them. Always take these medications as directed by your doctor, because overuse can cause serious side effects.
If over-the-counter medications don’t relieve your back pain issues, including secondary pain such as sore hips from compensating for your stiff or painful back, your doctor may also prescribe a muscle relaxant. While muscle relaxants will often lessen back pain, they can cause side effects like sleepiness and dizziness, so you should take them only when you’re done driving for the day, and when you can relax and let the medication ease your pain. Do not take muscle relaxants when you’re at work or if you have to make important decisions, cook, or conduct any other tasks that require focus. Save them for when you’re truly free of all items on your to-do list, and be sure someone is available to care for your kids and pets. Some people are more sensitive than others to the effects of muscle relaxants, and you may be among those who cannot function safely while on a particular type of back pain medication.
Your doctor may also prescribe to you narcotics, such as codeine or hydrocodone, which should be used only for a short period of time and with close supervision by your doctor. Take these medications only as prescribed.
Interestingly, some back pain patients experience relief for chronic back pain from low doses of certain types of antidepressants — particularly tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline. You may not feel depressed, or show other signs of depression, but this is among the arsenal of pain-relieving medications that your doctor may consider for you.
Lastly, cortisone injections for back pain are also an option. These anti-inflammatory injections are delivered to the space around your spinal cord (like an epidural is administered during childbirth.) Your doctor might inject cortisone into the facet joints of your vertebrae, decreasing inflammation in those areas that may be the cause of back pain and allowing your spine to regain fuller range of motion and stability. A cortisone injection helps decrease inflammation around the nerve roots, and you might experience back pain relief for up to a few months after your injection.
Ask your doctor about which medications may be ideal to relieve your back pain, and ask for information on possible side effects, as well as – importantly – how long you should take each type of medication suggested or prescribed to relieve your back pain.
There are several different types of back surgery proving successful at resolving patients’ back pain issues, each involving the highest level of surgical technology available today, as well as the skill of a board-certified spinal surgeon. If your spinal specialist advises back surgery, you’ll embark upon a learning process about the different available back surgery procedures – guided by your physician. You always want to get your information directly from your spinal surgeon, since back surgery information online can be outdated or incorrect, and Googling back surgery topics can sometimes cause unnecessary anxiety. The best course of action for researching back surgery procedures is to prepare a list of questions for your surgeon, and request all of the back surgery literature possible that your doctor can provide you with so that you can fully understand what will be done during your surgical procedure.
Overall, back surgery can accomplish several different pain-relieving goals, including removing portions of the bone to widen the narrowed area in your vertebrae, which can cause back pain. Your spinal surgeon may remove the gel-like middle section of a ruptured disc to relieve pressure on pinched nerves in the back. And sometimes, the damage to a disc is so severe, your doctor has to remove the entire disc and then fuse together the remaining discs.
Below is a list of some of the different types of back surgery that may be the customized choice for your back damage or condition:
Since back surgery is a complex procedure, work with your spinal surgeon to explore all your options. Every situation is different and you need to feel secure that you have fully researched which type of back surgery would be best for you, and if back surgery is necessary at all. And of course, your doctor will guide you through all the information you need regarding recovering from back surgery and what you can expect for your post-surgery lifestyle.
If you’re experiencing ongoing or severe back pain, you’re likely wondering if you’ll need back surgery to finally rid yourself of that constant back ache or debilitating back pain. The answer will come once your spinal surgeon assesses your back pain or back injury symptoms, and takes a full medical history, to review your general health level and medical issues. But before you panic, keep in mind that back surgery is generally needed only in a small percentage of back paincases. Most back pain can be resolved by a range of non-surgical options that can keep you off the operating table and have you feeling better soon. Some of these are as the application of ice or heat, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and massage. Changing your diet with the goal of losing weight can also help take pressure off the nerves in your back and once the initial discomfort is lessened, exercise can also provide non-surgical relief.
However, when conservative treatments don’t help, back surgery may be your physician’s advice. This is often the case when your doctor is seeking to get you relief from back pain that’s limiting your lifestyle, interrupting your sleep and preventing you from being active and at your best.
Here are the symptoms and conditions that might mean back surgery would be an optimal solution for you:
You may also be diagnosed with a condition that causes back pain and additional progressive nerve compression:
Your spinal surgeon’s primary goal is to eliminate your back pain and to return your quality of life. When a progressive condition is diagnosed through testing and examination, back surgery may certainly move to the forefront of your surgeon’s mind. It is their job to consider your best and personalized options for ridding you of back pain before your current condition deteriorates further.
Back pain is not just a symptom of aging. Anyone, of any age, in any physical condition, can and will likely experience back pain at some point in their life. So if you are experiencing back pain, don’t think that you’re alone. There are plenty of seventeen year-old athletes who experience back pain and thus seek the same medical care that you do for your own back issues.
While getting older can be a cause of back pain, as your body’s discs, joints, muscles and ligaments carry you through your life for a longer amount of time, and while many people experience their first back pain episodes while in their 30s and 40s, there are other top causes of back pain:
In short, anyone can get back pain. And perhaps you see yourself in several of the above causes, so take steps now to help prevent back pain or help lessen your back pain symptoms.
Hearing “It’s just a back strain” may not be very comforting when you’re experiencing severe back pain. While back strain may sound like a minimal back injury, it can cause you a great deal of discomfort, perhaps sleepless nights, back spasms that can cause severe lower back pain and in some cases, immobility. Many people with back strains go to the emergency room for relief.
Most lower back pain episodes are caused by damage to the muscles and/or ligaments in the lower part of the back. When you have back strain, you may have one or both of the following:
Strain and sprain are often used interchangeably, since the treatment and prognosis for both of these are the same. So one is not worse than the other, although the amount of pain you’re experiencing may make you think that what you have is indeed the worse of the two. Especially since you cannot see inside your back, your imagination may conclude that you have something much worse than a back strain or sprain. Patients experiencing pain can often jump to dramatic conclusions and envision difficult treatments ahead.
It can calm your worries to understand what a back strain is. When the muscles or ligaments in the lower back are strained or torn, the area around the muscles will likely become inflamed. That back inflammation leads to back spasms that can cause your severe back pain and immobility.
“How did this happen to me?” is likely the next question on your mind. Back strains are often the result of a movement or movements that put undue stress on the lower back. Motions like lifting a heavy object, lifting multiple heavy objects (such as with landscaping using large rocks or bricks,) lifting and twisting, a sudden and single twisting motion (like your last golf tee-off of the day,) or a fall are just some of the movements that can cause back strain.
Symptoms of back strain may range from a mild ache to sudden, debilitating pain often localized in the lower back. The pain of a back strain is likely to be located in the low back, and not radiate down your leg (as with sciatica.) Your back may be sore to the touch, pain comes on suddenly and strongly, you may have those muscle spasms in your lower back, and you might find standing or walking to be more uncomfortable than resting.
With a doctor’s care and pain-reducing medications, you may find your back strain’s worst pain subsiding quickly, but with back strain, you may experience a lower level of pain, or flare-ups of pain, for a few weeks to a few months, depending on how severe your back strain is. And how well you rest after being diagnosed. Self-care is essential with back strain, so that those stretched or torn muscles of ligaments can heal well. Most back strains and sprains are much better after 3 to 4 weeks, since the large muscles in your back have a good blood supply, which delivers healing nutrients and proteins to your injury site for healing to take place. You might not be able to see that happening, but as you heal from your back strain, that’s what’s happening beneath the surface.
Failed back surgery syndrome (also called FBSS, or failed back syndrome) is a generalized term used to describe ongoing pain after back surgery. After going through a spinal surgical procedure, of course both you and your surgeon desire your complete painlessness. But, even with the best spinal surgeon and the best indications for your spinal surgery success, there is always a small chance that back pain may continue after surgery and recovery (studies report continued back pain after 5% of all spinal surgeries ).
What causes Failed Back Surgery Syndrome? There are many reasons why a back surgery might not result in a completely pain-free existence, partially owing to the fact that spine surgery is only able to accomplish stabilizing a painful joint and decompressing a pinched nerve. If your back condition involves more than these two pain-causing situations, your spine surgeon will need to continue your care and explore additional solutions to your back pain condition.
Back surgery is reported to be 95% successful at changing anatomy that causes pain and correcting the physical results of a back injury. But it’s also important to realize that back surgeryisn’t a cure-all for every type of back pain-causing condition. Since the spine is a very complex part of your anatomy, with many vertebrae, nerves, and cushioning between your discs, it can be a complex process to get to the root of what’s truly causing you pain.
Your back surgeon will thoroughly assess your back pain condition, and use top technology to diagnose your back pain causes, but it’s important for you to have realistic expectations of what back surgery can and cannot accomplish for you. If you experience Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, your skilled physician will then conduct additional tests and map out a plan of action to remedy as much of your back pain as possible. All valuable things take time, so don’t set yourself up for possible disappointment by expecting a quick fix to any back pain. It may take an extra procedure or extra treatment after your back surgery to get you feeling much better.
If you do have great success after your back surgery, then you’re in that fortunate 95% of back pain patients whose symptoms lessen and whose lifestyle will very soon be active and more comfortable again.
Sleep provides important healing and rejuvenation to your back. When you’re suffering from back pain, it can be difficult to get a solid and healthy good night’s sleep. Lying down can be painful, and sleep simply doesn’t come. One of the many unpleasant symptoms of inadequate rest is being even more sensitive to pain. So it’s essential to take the smart steps necessary to improve your ability to sleep.
It may seem to be an impossible goal, but there are ways to improve your sleep quality while dealing with back pain: