Do I really need back surgery?


Almost half of us will have back pain at one point or another in our lives, but only a very few will have the need to have surgery for recurring back pain or injuries. If you’ve been offered the option for a recurring condition with your back, should you do it?


What surgery can do

Many people view surgery with a mixture of horror and dread, simply because of what it implies, that someone will need to open your body up to correct some issues. This is all the more a sensitive topic for people who have been given the option of back surgery.

Spinal cord issues

One big issue about the risk of surgery for your back is that something may happen, and you could end up temporarily or even permanently paralyzed. After all, the operation will be near areas where major nerve centers and connections are located. It’s only right that you be concerned. But then, there’s a reason why surgery is supposed to be presented as an option of the most serious kind.

Final option

One of the big problems of presenting surgery for a person’s back injury or back pain is to find out if the option should even be on the table. Normally, in the case of injuries, if the injury needs surgical correction for a normal (or close-to-normal life), then there should be no questions about its implementation, unless the patient himself or herself has issues with surgery.\

On the other hand, if the reason for surgery isn’t life-threatening, and may be treated by therapy and painkillers, then back surgery should only be an option if the patient is willing to take it (again, presented as an option, not the option).

Budget and care

One way to present the case for surgery would be to factor in how much it would be for the whole long-term treatment, versus the back surgery and its attendant physical therapy. If the cost happens to tip in favor of back surgery, then it may be a better idea for back surgery to be the presented primary option. However, if there long-term treatment ends up as a more viable option, then one should look into other preventive options, such as proper back exercises and lifestyle management. It’s highly possible that in this case, there will be no need for drastic surgery.


Life or death

It’s been mentioned before in this article that surgery may be an option for life or death issues, but then, this isn’t necessarily black and white, as life or death issue can also mean that quality of life can be an issue as well. If you feel that your quality of life is being affected such that you are willing to go through potentially dangerous surgery, then you must remember that you are primarily responsible for that choice.

Second opinions

As always, it’s a good idea for you to check with another doctor or specialist to see if your options really do point to the need for back surgery.