Treatment of Back Pain

Types of Back Pain and Spine Surgery

Back pain is not always a result of soreness in muscles located in the lower back. On occasions, the real cause of back pain goes deeper into the body than the muscles, in the spinal column and the spinal chord that it houses. If such is the case then surgery of the affected area is the only way out of the problem.

Types of Spine Surgery for Back Pain

The cause of back pain can be a herniated disc in the spinal column. Apart from this there are five other causes which can result in lower back pain. These five causes are as follows:

* Protruding/degenerating discs
* Tumours
* Facet arthritis and/or cysts
* Disc fragment (this will often cause more severe symptoms)
* An osteophyte or bone spur (a rough protrusion of bone)

If the underlying cause is any one of these, surgery is the only way to treat the problem. However, surgery of the spine is of different types and is distinguished by the underlying cause of the problem. The different types of spinal surgeries are as follows:

Lumbar Discectomy: This type of spinal surgery is performed if the underlying problem is herniated discs. Back pain results from the pressure exerted on spinal nerves by a protruding intervertebral disc. Surgery is performed in order to bring the misshapen disc back into shape and thereby relieve the pressure on the affected nerve. It is a minimally invasive type of surgery.

Lumbar Foraminotomy: This type of spinal surgery is performed if the nerve exits in the spinal canal has become too small for housing the spinal nerves. These openings are otherwise known as foramen or neuroforamen and their small size can result in sever back pain. Surgery is performed in order to increase the size of these spinal canal exits. The result is a decompressing of the spinal nerve which is housed inside it.

Lumbar Laminectomy: This type of surgery can be further sub-divided into two types of surgeries- one in which the entire lamina is removed or one in which only a part of lamina (a bony plate which is sandwiched in between two vertebrae bones) is removed (Laminotomy). This type of surgery is also minimally evasive and is used to treat back pain-inducing spinal disorders such as spinal stenosis, spinal tumors, and spondylolisthesis.

Lumbar Spinal Fusion: This type of surgery is usually performed as a part of Lumbar discectomy or Laminectomy. However, it can be done as a solo surgery as well. The objective of spinal fusion is to improve the stability of the spine using mechanical objects such as plates, cages, rods, and screws.

Preparations for the Surgery

Spine surgery is never performed suddenly. It is planned in advance and hence, all factors and habits which can affect the course of recovery from the surgery (smoking, for example) can be stopped. Proper diet and exercise is incorporated into daily routine to improve the pace of recovery.