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When To Know If Your Bad Back Pain Needs Surgery? Here Are Four Signs.

When To Know If Your Bad Back Pain Needs Surgery? Here Are Four Signs.

Back pain sometimes feels like the end of the world, but it isn’t. Every problem has an answer, and waiting is often the best option. After a few days or weeks, most lower back pain episodes subside on their own. Unless, of course, when they don’t.

There are non-surgical therapy options available for practically every cause of bad back pain, even if it progresses from acute to subacute to chronic. However, determining when surgery is the best option can be difficult. So, when is it necessary to get back surgery? Here are a few indicators:

1. Persistent Back Pain

A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 75% to 90% of people suffering from lower back pain recover within a month. That may sound like excellent news for folks dealing with such discomfort, but it’s a cold consolation when you’ve just been suffering for two weeks and have at least two weeks ahead of you.

There’s no need to wait it out when you have acute back pain. There are many non-surgical back pain treatments you can try.

After a month, if these conservative approaches have not been able to minimize or eliminate the discomfort, it may be time to see a spine surgeon.

2. Failed Non-Invasive / Traditional Treatments

Surgery should only be used as a last resort for back pain (except in emergency cases). Surgery, while frequently beneficial, is invasive and necessitates downtime and rehabilitation. It also carries risks, not to mention that it’s usually the most expensive choice.

Given that, conservative treatments like physical therapy, medications, lifestyle changes, and even alternative treatments should be explored and exhausted first. However, not everyone responds to these natural treatments, particularly those with a definite mechanical or structural issue with their spine. If conservative treatment approaches have failed you, back surgery is an option you may wish to discuss with your doctor.

3. Frequent Tingling or Numbness in the Arms and Legs

Acute numbness and pain could be signs of a medical emergency. If you’re experiencing severe pain, numbness, or tingling in the arms and legs, seek medical help right away. 

Nerve injury, pinching, or obstruction in the back can produce chronic or frequent numbness or tingling. Numbness can also be both frightening and hazardous, increasing your chance of falling and injuring yourself and limiting your ability to perform basic motor functions. You might be an excellent candidate for back surgery in this situation.

4. Emergency Cases

In many cases, back surgery is not needed. Surgeons often advise patients to wait to see if bad back pain discomfort goes away on its own or with non-surgical treatments. Back discomfort, on the other hand, can sometimes be an emergency, necessitating immediate surgery.

Acute events and trauma, such as a car accident, can trigger an emergency, as can a chronic ailment that has gone untreated and turned into one.

Back surgery may be the next best line of action to consider with your doctor if your back pain is affecting your quality of life and if non-invasive treatment options have failed. Your physician will assess the source of your pain and suggest a treatment plan that is right for you, which may involve conservative pain management or surgery.

Want to read more articles like this? Visit our Surgery section.

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