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What Are Some Alternatives to Lumbar Surgery?


1.13 - What-Can-I-Do-Instead-of-Lower-Back-Surgery

Thousands of spine surgeries are performed each year in the United States, and many of these procedures are mostly or entirely successful. However, most people prefer to avoid spine surgery whenever possible. If you wish to avoid or delay lower back surgery, this article explains what you can do instead of having lumbar spine surgery.

Physical Therapy

A good place to start when looking for lower back surgery alternatives is with a customized physical therapy (PT) plan. PT involves supervised exercises, stretches, and other routines meant to strengthen the muscle groups that support the spine. You can increase your odds of success with physical therapy for
lower back pain by:

• Actively participating in PT sessions
• Doing recommended exercises at home between sessions
• Providing clear and detailed feedback so your PT plan can be adjusted as necessary
• Coordinating PT efforts with your doctor to ensure you are getting the most out of your sessions

Nonsurgical Decompression

If you have a herniated spinal disc, you may benefit from a nonsurgical approach to decompression. This is performed using a specially designed table that can be adjusted to gently shift spinal discs so nerves are not being excessively compressed or irritated. While nonsurgical decompression is not effective for everybody, it is worth trying if you want to avoid having a surgical procedure such as a
lumbar discectomy.

Hot/Cold Therapy

A simple way to manage lower back pain is to apply heat and cold to the affected area. Heat increases circulation and promotes productive and beneficial tissue and nerve healing. Cold helps with lower back pain by reducing inflammation. Avoid direct skin contact as you apply either heat or cold, although you can also take warm baths to benefit from heat therapy.

Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine involves getting injections that enhance tissue regeneration. The most common option is platelet-rich plasma injections. These injections enhance the body's natural healing abilities. You will simply receive the injections and check back with your doctor for follow-up visits.

Steroid or Epidural Injections

These injections are made directly into the affected area of the lower back. The resulting relief provides the opportunity to benefit more from physical therapy and other treatments. Injections typically last for several months. You will not necessarily need repeated injections if PT minimizes your symptoms and discomfort.

Chiropractic Treatments

Many patients experience relief with chiropractic care for lower back pain. Treatments are based on results from diagnostic tests and a thorough understanding of the likely cause of the lower back pain. The adjustments are performed gently and safely in a way that increases circulation and promotes healthy tissue healing.

Improved Posture

Another simple way to ease lower back pain is by improving your posture. Sit up straight, avoid sitting for long periods of time, and sleep on a supportive mattress. Also, watch how you use your mobile devices so you are not excessively leaning forward. Upper back pain can sometimes aggravate lower back pain. Additionally, make sure to wear supportive shoes.

If you have a herniated disc that is not responding to conservative treatment, a discectomy may be discussed and potentially recommended. Although this is generally a very successful procedure, having a large hole in the outer ring of the disc more than doubles the risk of needing another operation. A new treatment, Barricaid, is a bone-anchored device that closes this hole, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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