Instant impact, quick response, and immediate results are phrases everyone has gotten accustomed too in today’s day and age. With the human body however, it may not be that simple. Issues such as low back pain tend to develop over longer periods of time. If something happens over time it only makes sense that it would take a period of time to resolve.
When talking about back pain, surgery comes up more often than not. Most people may feel this is a quick and easy solution to their problem wanting immediate results. However, there are multiple reasons that this may not be the best option and is something that you should not rush into.
1. Conservative Treatments are Usually Effective
Low back pain will tend to improve over time as long as the body has time to heal. Conservative treatments such as therapeutic exercise, soft tissue massage, physical therapy, and manual physical therapy often increase the speed of recovery to relieve pain in a less invasive and less expensive manner.
2. Surgery is Expensive
Surgery is expensive. Once you add up imaging, surgeon cost, hospital costs, equipment, and medication the cost of a surgery can range from $100,000-$200,000. Depending on insurance coverage at the end of the process you could be left with a hefty bill, and the kicker is the surgery may not have been successful.
3. All Surgery comes with risk
When an individual goes for surgery all necessary precautions are always taken, with that said thought there are still inherent risks to surgery. Some of these risks include infection, blood clots, nerve damage, respiratory distress, stroke or heart attack. Most people come out of surgery with no side effects whatsoever, but the risks should make you think about surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary.
4. Long Period of Recovery Following Back Surgery
Depending on the procedure you may be unable to return to your normal way of life for weeks too months. Larger scale operations such as spinal fusions often take months to return to somewhat normal physical activity. During those initial days to weeks, you may need help getting in and out of a car, help showering, and need driven around due to the pain medication. You may never be able to return to full activity levels which will limit your functional ability and ability to complete your activities of daily living.
5. Surgery Doesn’t Always Solve the Problem
Where is your pain actually coming from? Is it a nerve or decreased joint space? What about poor posture or muscle imbalances? Maybe it’s actually deconditioning of your core and leg muscles. The point is, the back is complicated with multiple factors playing a role. It’s not always so cut and dry which is what makes back surgery a risk. In a study posted to WebMD “Almost 40% of patients in the study reported virtually no difference in back pain one year after having surgery”. It would be awful to go through the expense and recovery to then find out that you are still in the same pain you were before.
For these reasons, surgery should only be considered for the most severe or very specific cases. Really do your research before going into low back surgery to determine the best options for you and your pain.