Back Pain & The Risks of Back Surgery
Back pain can be serious, and it can have
serious implications on your daily routines and overall quality of life experience. Many people are drawn to
surgical remedies for back pain, even though, often enough, their effectiveness in ending pain is not well
established. This is a particularly important consideration considering the fact that surgical procedures on the
back can carry with them significant risks.
Surgery, as we all know, always has some
kind of risk. Between the anesthesia and the invasive techniques of entering the body with instruments, and the
presence of infection often found in medical facilities, dangers exists with any surgical event.
But back surgeries have other, more
specific risks to take into consideration when weighting your options for treatment plans. The first of these is
infection. As we pointed out, infection is a risk with any surgery, but in cases where bone grafts are used, or
hardware is inserted to the body, the risks of infection increase. These infections can be serious enough to cause
illness that leads to death.
Other risks associated with back surgery
include leaks of spinal fluid that result from a tear of the membrane around the spinal cord that occurs during the
procedure. Frequently, these leaks are seen during the procedure and fixed at the time. Still others will
self-heal. However, some will go unnoticed and will not heal on their own. When this occurs, the patient can become
susceptible to infections, spinal meningitis and headaches. Sometimes an additional procedure is required to
correct the problem.
Spinal cord injury can also occur during
surgery, and the injury can result in paralysis. While rare, these events do occur. There can also be nerve damage
that occurs during the procedure. Never damage can manifest in many different ways, for example in a loss of
movement or sensation. There are rare cases where this nerve damage can cause death.
And, as we elluded to, there are certain
risks associated with anyone who is “brought” under for a surgical procedure. At their worse, these complications
can caused death, though, again, this is rare.
Back surgery also tends to require a
recovery period, both from the procedure itself as well as the anesthesia. During this period, often pain
medications are administered to combat the surgical pain. Recovering from this period can be long and arduous, as
simply laying in bed during the recovery period for a couple of days can greatly weaken the muscles that will be
required to help drive the recovery.
So, in addition to the risks associated
with back surgery, the recovery from back surgery can have its own set of potential complications.
Despite all of these risks, most surgical
procedures to address back pain, do not in fact, address the root cause of the pain. As most cases of back pain can
be resolved without surgery, by addressing the underlying causes of the pain – which are frequently related to
imbalances in the muscles – patients can both free themselves of pain, and avoid the risk of serious complications