The lower back supports the weight of your upper body, making it prone to conditions and injuries that cause pain. Lower back pain often resolves on its own or within a few weeks of self-care measures such as hot and cold compresses. However, sometimes the pain may last for more than three months, making you less productive and interfering with your quality of life. In such cases, medical evaluation is necessary to determine the cause of your pain. If you have chronic problems that affect the spine structure or press on nerves, neurosurgery Edison may help you get rid of the discomfort. Below are the back pain conditions that can benefit from surgery.
Lumbar herniated disc
The spine comprises multiple vertebrae, which are cushioned by discs. These discs have a jelly-like center and a tough outer covering called the annulus. Over time, the outer membrane may develop a weak spot, through which the disc nucleus pushes through the tough layer, irritating a nearby nerve root. The portion of the disc that bulges out can also press on nerve roots, producing intense pain. Herniated discs are common along the lumbar and cervical regions but can occur anywhere along the spine. Most of the time, surgery for herniated discs involves removing the disc portion, causing pressure on the nerve roots.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that causes pain due to the narrowing of the spinal canal, which may cause nerve compression. The narrowing can be forminal, central, or both, and it can occur on single or multiple levels in the lower back. Spinal stenosis may cause no symptoms, but some people experience pain, loss of sensation, tingling, and muscle weakness. Your spinal space can narrow due to osteoarthritis’s wear and tear changes. Other possible causes of spinal stenosis include spinal injuries, thickened ligaments, and tumors. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to create space for the nerves.
Degenerative disc disease
The intervertebral discs in the spine lose hydration and wear down as you grow older. When these discs dry out or lose water, they do not absorb shock and transfer the forces to the disc wall, which may develop tears and cause pain. Less hydration also means less padding between your vertebrae which may contribute to spinal problems such as spinal stenosis. Degenerative disc disease affects nearly everyone over time, but not everyone experiences pain.
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is associated with aging and occurs when the cartilage protecting joints wears out. The condition can attack any joint in the body and occur in the spine. Osteoarthritis causes wear and tear of the discs and facet joints, causing pain, inflammation, and stenosis to a variable degree. When the cartilage on the facet joints wears down, the bones rub against each other upon motion. As a result, the bones wear down, and the body responds by forming bone spurs. The tiny bones can narrow the spinal space and stiff the facet joint.
If your lower back pain is not improving with conservative treatments, schedule an appointment with your neurosurgeon at Jeff Pan, MD, to know whether surgery might be the best option.