Health Issues Common In Women

Health Issues Common In Women

When Surgery Is Your Next Option For Lower Back Pain Relief

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Your orthopedic doctor has tried several non-invasive approaches to treating your back pain. They helped initially, but the pain continues without improvement. Your doctor now recommends surgery to give you some relief. Here is what you can expect from back surgery and the subsequent recovery after the procedure.

Lower Back Pain Caused By Nerve Irritation

The pain in your lower back, hip and legs comes from an irritation of nerves coming out of the spine. The nerves leave the spine through small openings in the vertebrae which allow the nerves to safely pass out and to other areas of the body. When the pathways through the spine are compromised by illness or injury, the nerves can be irritated. Inflammation and pain come from this irritation.

There are several causes for this nerve irritation, including:

  • rupture of one of the cartilage discs in the spine from a sudden force on the back
  • deformity of one or more of the vertebrae from arthritis or osteoporosis
  • development of a bone spur on one of the vertebra in the path of a nerve

In some cases, non-invasive treatment can give some relief until the body heals itself. For example, a bone spur may be reabsorbed by the body or a partially ruptured disc can heal over. When the pain continues, surgery to correct the problem is the next alternative.

Surgical Procedures to Relieve the Nerve Irritation

The back surgeons will take X-rays and may do other diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the nerve irritation. This will give them some direction as to what procedure is necessary. They may also decide that other work needs to done on your back once they are able to visualize the affected area of your spine.

Some of the techniques the surgeon will use on your back include

  • removing any bone spurs in the way of the nerve
  • removing a portion of the vertebrae to widen the space for the nerve
  • removing part or all of one or more of the cartilage discs
  • reconstructing vertebrae damaged by disease to relieve pressure on the nerve

If the surgeon needs to remove one of the cartilage discs, other procedures are done to make your spine stable where the disc was removed:

  • bone chips are packed into the space where the disc sat between two vertebrae
  • metal rods are attached to either side of the vertebrae to hold the spine secure

The metal rods hold the spine until the bone graft fuses the two vertebrae together. The rods may be left in your back or removed once the fusion is complete.

Recovering at Home After the Surgery

Once the pressure on the nerve is relieved, the inflammation and pain will subside. Before you are sent home from the hospital, you'll be given several instructions, such as

  • no twisting and limited bending at the waist
  • no heavy lifting
  • no sitting for long periods

You'll have a follow up appointment with your doctor a few days after the surgery. When they are satisfied with the healing progress in your back, they will have you begin physical therapy. The first phase of therapy will be to recover your normal range of motion in your lower back. This will get rid of the stiff back and give you back your normal flexibility.

The next phase of physical therapy will be strengthening exercises to build up the muscles in the back. This is not only important for moving your back, but strong muscles around the spine will help to protect it from future injury.

It may take several weeks for a full recovery from back surgery. You'll set a pace with the physical therapist so you make slow and incremental progress. It's important to not overwork your back during this period. Putting excess stress on your spine could re-injure your back requiring additional surgery and slowing down your recovery. For more information, visit sites like


About Me

Health Issues Common In Women

My name is Shawna Banks and this is a blog that focuses on health issues that affect women. I became interested in women's health when my sister began having medical problems. After her condition worsened, she went to see a doctor. After her diagnosis and successful treatment, I helped her research the different kinds of health conditions that are common in women. By becoming knowledgeable about these types of problems, we can keep ourselves healthier. I hope that when you read this blog, it will help you to identify symptoms that shouldn't be ignored. If necessary, you can schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.