Through evolution, our spines have developed into an incredibly intricate and effective tool designed to support an active lifestyle and help us handle physical challenges. However, a change in our lifestyle — sitting at a desk for hours and lack of exercise now means that millions of people experience back pain at some point in their life. Many even go on to live with it. At Ruby Hall Clinic Wanowarie, our spine specialists are committed to get you back to enjoying a pain-free life.
Trauma, aging, improper body mechanics, and normal wear and tear can all injure your spine. Damage to any part of your back or pressure on the nerves in your spine can cause back pain and other symptoms.
If you have ongoing back pain, maybe you’ve wondered — could back surgery help? In fact, back surgery is needed in only a small percentage of cases. Most back problems can be taken care of with nonsurgical treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medication, ice, heat, gentle massage and physical therapy. When conservative treatments don’t help, back surgery may offer relief. But it doesn’t help every type of back pain.
Focusing mainly on treating spine conditions, this speciality includes an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to manage disorders related to the neck and back. This includes a full range of treatment options — including medication, physical therapy and interventional pain management or even surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.
Back surgery might be needed
Benefits : The primary reason for most back surgeries is to get relief from back pain. And for many people, the result is less pain.
Less pain comes with many additional benefits, including:
But not everyone experiences a reduction in back pain after surgery. Studies show it’s difficult for surgeons to accurately predict who will benefit and who won’t. For this reason, and because most back pain improves with time, experts recommend trying non-surgical treatments like physical therapy before considering back surgery.
Complications: The overwhelming majority of people who undergo back surgery have no complications during or after surgery. All surgeries, though, carry some degree of risk. The general risks of any back surgery can include:
Some risks might be higher for certain people. And the level of risk may also vary depending on the type of surgery. Part of the surgeon’s job is to help you identify your risk from back surgery. Talking with your doctor before a back surgery is the best way to understand your personal risk.
Each type of back surgery comes with its own risks and benefits.
Spinal fusion is the most common surgery for back pain. In a spinal fusion, a surgeon joins spinal bones, called vertebrae, together. This restricts motion between the bones of the spine. Fusion also limits the stretching of nerves. Reduced spinal motion does not significantly limit activity for most people. One risk unique to spinal fusion surgery is incomplete fusion of the vertebrae. That can require additional surgery. While incomplete fusion is uncommon, smoking does increase the risk. Smoking also increases the risk of infection after back surgery.
In a laminectomy, a surgeon removes parts of the bone, bone spurs, or ligaments in the back. This relieves pressure on spinal nerves that may be causing pain or weakness.
A laminectomy, however, can cause the spine to be less stable. If the spinal bones become unstable, a spinal fusion is usually performed. Spinal fusion may also be performed at the same time as laminectomy.
During a foraminotomy, a surgeon cuts away bone at the sides of vertebrae to widen the space where nerve roots exit the spine. The enlarged space may relieve pressure on the nerves, thereby relieving pain.
A foraminotomy can sometimes result in reduced stability of the spine, similar to what happens in a laminectomy. A spinal fusion may be done at the same time. Doing so increases the amount of time needed for recovery but also prevents the spine from becoming unstable. If the spine becomes unstable after a foraminotomy, a spinal fusion can be done to correct the problem.
A bulging or “slipped” disc, the cushion that separates vertebrae, may press on a spinal nerve and cause back pain. In a discectomy, the surgeon removes all or part of the disc. A discectomy can be done through a large incision or through a smaller incision using tools from outside the body. A discectomy may be part of a larger surgery that includes laminectomy, foraminotomy, or spinal fusion.
In artificial disc replacement, a surgeon removes a damaged spinal disc and inserts an artificial disc between the vertebrae. Disc replacement permits continued motion of the spine. It is gaining popularity as an alternative to spinal fusion. Recovery time for a disc replacement may be shorter than for a spinal fusion in many people. As with any foreign object placed inside the body, there is a small risk of the device dislodging or failing.
Another alternative to spinal fusion is the implant of a U-shaped device. The device is placed between two back bones in the lower back and helps maintain the space between. The procedure can be done at the same time as a laminectomy and surgical relief of pressure on the spinal nerves. Unlike spinal fusion, the implant provides stability without completely restricting motion. It does limit backward bending in the region where it’s placed, which helps to ease symptoms of spinal stenosis.
For most people, the main risk of back surgery is not gaining good relief from back pain after the surgery. Unfortunately, this risk is hard to predict or avoid. Talking openly with your surgeon can help you know what to expect from back surgery.
Ruby Hall Clinic’s Spine Specialists provide advanced, comprehensive medical treatment for patients with back and neck problems. We use the latest in surgical procedures to address these problems. Each case is thoroughly reviewed to determine the best course of action to fix symptoms at their root cause.
There are a number of symptoms that indicate an underlying spine condition. If you are experiencing any of the following signs, you may be dealing with a spine issue or injury and require the advice of a specialist :
Offering expert medical care and state-of-the-art imaging technology to diagnose a wide range of spinal ailments, our team has successfully treated even the most debilitating spine conditions ranging from herniated disc to spinal stenosis and spinal deformities including scoliosis and kyphosis. From comprehensive non-surgical treatments to complex revision surgeries, our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to providing a personalised treatment plan so that each patient can achieve optimal results:
Surgical Treatments : Based on our understanding of your condition and your living needs, we offer a full range of minimally invasive surgical procedures that help shorten your hospital stay, speed up recovery and get you back on your feet within no time. These include:
Non-surgical Treatments : Our team specialises in non-surgical care by delivering compassionate and innovative treatments, even for those conditions that were once thought untreatable. Emphasising on the most conservative approach, our services include:
Team of Experts:
Our integrated team of super-specialists comprising of spine surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain specialists and rehabilitation physicians bring with them the innovation, experience, skill and compassion needed to treat people of all ages. Other team members include neurologists, physiotherapists, psychologists and support staff.
The foundation of reaching comprehensive spine care is accurate diagnosis — be it for surgical or non-surgical treatments. For a number of patients, there could be innumerable different factors that may be contributing to their spine condition and causing them pain, which can make finding the right diagnosis challenging. Committed to achieving the best results and restoring your mobility at the earliest, we excel at diagnosing all types of back and neck pain.
Communication is Key:
Our experts take time to listen to what you have to say. They ask the right questions and perform the most advanced diagnostic techniques to determine the source of your condition. Educating patients on treatment options and possible lifestyle changes that need to be incorporated is the very reason why we’re a successful treatment programme.
Creating a treatment plan that is unique to your needs, lifestyle and personal goals is our priority. This is where our personalised, focused approach comes into play. Our specialists take great care to help our patients restore long-term back and neck health.
Here are answers to some basic questions to help guide you through your journey at Ruby Hall Clinic Wanowarie:
Q: What causes back pain?
A: People could experience back pain for a number of reasons. It can result from an injury, a developmental defect such as scoliosis, spinal degeneration or arthritis related to ageing or genetics, repetitive poor mechanics or a sports-related injury.
Q: What are the symptoms of a possible spine condition?
A: There are a number of symptoms that could indicate an underlying condition:
– Sustained pain at night or while resting
– Unexplained weight loss with fever and back pain
– Extreme and sudden pain after a mild fall
– Shooting pain that radiates to the knee or elbow, lower leg or ankle
– Back pain with no apparent cause in the very young or elderly
Q: How will my neck or back pain be treated?
A: Specialists today use many methods to alleviate and manage pain. Depending on your condition, a surgical or non-surgical approach can be recommended. In most cases, surgery is not required. If needed, minimally invasive procedures allow for a quicker recovery.
Q: When should a surgery for back pain be considered?
A: Only when all other non-surgical treatments have not yielded the results you were looking for is when surgery comes into play. In such instances, only a certified spine specialist would be the right person to recommend a surgery. Surgery may be the best way to alleviate pain, restore function, prevent further damage and improve health.
Q: Does osteoporosis affect the spine? If so, how does it work?
A: In general, osteoporosis can have a serious impact on the spine. Known to often go undetected, the first indication could be a bone fracture on a body part that carries the most stress – the spine, wrists or hips. The fact is that spinal fractures occur without notice as vertebrae can simply compress. Compression fractures can be painful and can result in stooped posture, loss of height and the risk of a serious neurological damage to spinal nerves.
Q: What kind of exercises can I do to keep my back healthy?
A: Our spine specialists and physiotherapists may be right people to design an exercise plan that is tailored to your condition. Generally, patients benefit from routines that strengthen your lower abdominal muscles and improve back stability and strength. Patients who incorporate postural exercises into their daily routine also see long-term benefits.