Standing still or sitting, which causes the most back pain?
The answer can be both.
Chronic pain seems to always be lurking around the corner when you have back problems. For some, standing on their feet all day is a trigger. Others find that sitting for work brings a world of hurt.
If standing and sitting can both be traps, what can someone do to escape back pain? They can explore neurosurgery and spine treatments. There are minimally invasive surgeries, significant open surgeries, and non-surgical options.
What type of spinal treatment or surgery would help you the most? Read on to find out.
Physical Therapy for Back Pain
After undergoing diagnostic testing, your doctor might recommend physical therapy. A licensed therapist will be able to guide you through different types of exercises and stretches. The different movements will help work your body in a way that can relieve the pain.
For instance, you can release pinched nerves or strengthen core muscles. You’ll be able to enjoy a customized treatment plan that explicitly targets whatever type of spinal pain you’re dealing with. Your therapy might include massages, ultrasounds, electric stimulation, and pelvic traction.
A physical therapist will also recommend at-home remedies such as how to best apply heat and cold. Certain offices will even offer ice and heat therapy during your appointment.
The amount of time you’ll need for physical therapy will depend on the type of spinal problem you’re dealing with. A simple lumbar muscle sprain could heal within a month.
After healing, your physical therapy journey doesn’t end. You may still find yourself needing appointments on an as-needed basis.
Treating Spinal Stenosis
Over the next decade, 18 million Americans are expected to suffer from spinal stenosis. The condition can come from a variety of factors, such as aging and degenerative disc disease.
The good news is that there are non-surgical and surgical ways of correcting stenosis of the spine. The type of treatment you’ll need is going to depend on the severity of your symptoms along with the location of the stenosis.
For some, simply taking pain relievers such as ibuprofen is enough. Others will need physical therapy along with steroid injections.
Steroid Injection Spine Treatment
When a nerve is being pinched, it becomes inflamed. Steroid medications are able to help reduce inflammation. As the nerve becomes less swollen and irritated, you’re able to experience pain relief.
Unfortunately, steroid injections don’t work for everyone. You also can’t use steroid injections as a long-term solution.
Repeated injections can weaken bones along with connective tissue. It’s recommended you only get steroid injections 2 to 3 times a year at most.
Spinal stenosis in their lumbar region could be eligible for a decompression procedure. Patients have to have a thickened ligament along with lumbar spinal stenosis to qualify.
Decompression procedures are minimally invasive. The neurosurgeon uses fine needle-like instruments to remove a piece of the thickened ligament. By removing a piece of the ligament, there will be increased room in the spinal canal space. If there’s any nerve root being pinched, the extra space can release it.
Lumbar decompression is considered minimally invasive. Patients don’t have to undergo general anesthesia, and instead, localized anesthesia can be used.
Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
There’s a number of spinal conditions that can be treated using minimally invasive spinal surgeries. Here’s a shortlist of the conditions that could qualify:
- Spinal tumor
- Spinal infections
- Herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Compression fractures
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Spinal instability
If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the spinal conditions on the list above, they might be a good candidate for a minimally invasive spinal surgery. One of the biggest benefits of minimally invasive surgery is that they’re easier to recover from. There will be less trauma to the soft tissue and muscles when you compare these small surgeries to larger open surgeries.
Patients will also be able to enjoy a better cosmetic result since there will be a smaller incision. There’s also a likelihood that you’ll need less pain medication after the surgery since the recovery will be easier.
How exactly do minimally invasive spinal surgeries work? There’s a number of techniques that a neurosurgeon in places like this location can use. One of the techniques a spine neurosurgeon can perform involves using a tubular retractor.
What Does a Neurosurgeon Do During Tubular Retractor Surgery?
Patients who want to move forward with tubular retractor surgery won’t have to worry about trauma to their muscles. The gentile technique involves progressively dilating the soft tissues in the spinal area.
Instead of cutting through the muscles, doctors will be able to use tubes. The tubes keep the muscles pushed aside. The spine neurosurgeon will be able to work through the small incision without having to expose any wide areas.
Sometimes surgeons will be able to use a microscope focused down the tube to help assist with the surgery. When the surgery is complete, the surgeon can completely remove the tubular retractor.
The dilated tissue will naturally come back together. Typically the incisions are small for attractive tubular surgeries, but it’ll depend on the extent of the surgery taking place.
Discectomy vs Laminectomy
Last but not least, let’s talk about neurosurgery and spine treatments called discectomies and laminectomies. A discectomy is also sometimes referred to as a microdiscectomy.
During a discectomy, the neurosurgeon is going to remove a herniated intervertebral disc. By getting the herniated disc out of the way, the compressed nerve will finally be able to stop sending out pain signals.
A laminectomy is different because it involves removing the thin bony plate on the back of the vertebrae. The thin bony plate is the laminae.
By removing the laminae, the surgeons are able to increase space along the spinal canal. The added space helps relieve the pressure with the spinal nerves, which almost immediately helps with pain relief.
Leading a Pain-Free Life With Neurosurgery and Spine Treatments
It’s clear to see from this article that there’s a lot of options for neurosurgery and spine treatments. Whether you’re dealing with spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or something else, there’s a solution out there for you.
Your path to recovery can only begin once you have a diagnosis. Reach out to your doctor today.
Schedule an appointment to discuss your back pain and explore all of your options. As you work towards rebuilding your life, we’re here to help with more tips. Go ahead and see what the rest of our blog