Health + Wellness

5 Signs You Need Back Surgery

back surgery

Surgery is usually a last resort when it comes to back pain. However, there are times when it’s the only option left to ease your symptoms. Here are a few signs you might be one of the 500,000 Americans who need to have back surgery every year. 

5 Signs You Need Back Surgery

1. The Pain Isn’t Going Away

Unless you’ve been severely injured, it’s common for doctors to ask you to wait to see what happens with your pain. In many cases, people who have acute back pain will see improvement in a few weeks.

Those whose pain stretches past the 12-week mark are said to have chronic pain that may need to be managed through different therapies like anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, epidural medications, and physical therapy. If none of that works, it’s typically time to explore surgical options. 

2. The Pain Radiates 

Your spine is connected to the rest of your body through an intricate system of nerves. If you hurt your back but the pain is radiating to your limbs, it could indicate that the nerves in your spine are being pinched or compressed. Usually, this kind of injury will only be alleviated by surgery to release that pressure. 

3. There’s Numbness In Your Legs

Having numbness or weakness is usually a sign that you need to see a doctor urgently. One issue that causes numbness is spinal stenosis – a condition in which the spine is narrowing.

Other symptoms that you might experience include loss of sensation in your feet, burning pain in your feet, and a decreased ability to walk long distances.

Numbness in your legs can also be caused by disc herniation, tumors, or infections of the spine. Fortunately, surgery can take care of all those problems.

RELATED: The Most Common Back Surgeries, Explained

4. The Pain Is Affecting Your Mobility

If your pain is significant enough to limit your mobility or change your level of physical activity, you need to talk to your doctor about your treatment options. The same is true if you’ve seen changes in the physical curvature of your spine or body. These are valid reasons to explore surgery. 

5. You Have A Spinal Injury

Once your spine has been injured in a way that won’t be solved by any other measures, back surgery is no longer

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