Should You Consider Back Surgery?

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The answer to this question will be unique for everyone, but there are red flags that should send you straight to a doctor to discuss whether back surgery is right for you.

These red flags include:

  •  A sudden change in your ability to control your bladder or bowels.
  •  Progressive weakness, loss of sensation or tingling in one or both legs or feet.
  •  Pain that isn’t relieved or controlled by medication, injections, physical therapy or acupuncture.

If your doctor suggests back surgery, see more than one surgeon and ask how the surgery is going to make you better or prevent you from getting worse than you are now, and ask what the risk are that it could make you worse, advises Jeffrey Gross, M.D., of New York University School of Medicine. Back surgery doesn’t always help sometimes people get no relief from the pain and it carries a risk of paralysis, blood clots, incontinence and adverse reactions to anesthesia, among other complications.

Keep those concerns in mind, and you’ll go into the proposition with your eyes wide open.


Written by: Stacey Colino, a Maryland based health writer
Originally published by Pain Solutions Magazine, Spring 2010
Photo Credit:  Albertdebruijn, courtesy of Stock Free Images

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