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Spinal Disc Surgery

Updated on April 4, 2010

Spinal Disc Surgery, should you do it?

So, you are having a problem with your back. The problem is bothering you so much that affects all of your daily life, and you are considering in having a spinal disc surgery. The pain is probably affecting also your hip, buttocks, the back of your legs or your toes.

First, remember that most of the back suffers - given a little patience, will power, study, support and the right treatment - can return to a happy state of relying in a healthy back.

Back pain is a sign that the joints, muscles or other parts of the back are injured, strained or not working properly. Back pain is very common with four out of five people experiencing it at some time in their lives.
Most bouts of back pain get better in several weeks with little treatment. Whether the cause is a pulled muscle or nerve, or a bulging/herniated disc.

The decision of having spinal disc surgery ultimately comes down to you. However you should be in an informed position about the surgery you are having.

- Do you know the success rate of the surgery?

- Do people that have this type of surgery get other problems after some years?

See bellow a list of questions to ask your doctor about your spinal disc surgery?

By the way, have you asked for another medical opinion: Check the video bellow starting at minute 5:45


My doctor told me I should have a spinal disc surgery

Spinal disc surgery should be use as a last option

There are many joints, muscles and other structures in the spine that can cause pain. In most cases it is not even possible to find a cause of the pain. It can be worrying not knowing exactly what is wrong. The good news is that research shows you do not need to know the exact cause of the pain to be able to deal with it successfully.

See my other article on tips that may help you avoid doing surgery: Tips that will avoid Bulging Disc Surgery


Before considering a spinal disc surgery you have to::

- study on your condition; Recommend reading: Dr. John Tanner, Better Back

- change your posture;

- change the way you lift weights;

- do recommended exercises;

- do recommended stretches;

- do small changes to your nutrition;

- do physical therapy and Inversion therapy;

- You can do other available conservative treatments like chiropractics, acupuncture, etc, however if you don't see improvements in 2 weeks stop doing them;

- change a lot of bad habits.

If you are really doing all of this changes for more than 6 months then talk to your doctor on the possibility of having spinal disc surgery. Always look for minimal invasive treatments like Nucleoplasty (or Percutaneous Discectomy). This procedure just uses a sort of needle that penetrates the disk and emits radio waves that break up the material in the nucleus: This will decrease the amount of nucleus material putting pressure on the bulging disc wall and sciatic nerve. Talk to your doctor on what option is best for you.

Progression of herniated disc

Spinal disc surgery - 19 Questions to ask your doctor

1. What type of spinal disc surgery am I going to require?

2. What exactly happens during this spinal disc surgery?

3. I have heard of a surgery called Nucleoplasty that involves a needle and radio waves. Do you know this procedure and can be appropriate for me (if your disc has ruptured it may not be appropriate)?

4. How large will my incision be and where will it be made?

5. Will I need a bone graft?

6. What type of bone graft options do I have?

7. What are the pros and cons of each?

8. Will there be any implants involved?

9. Who manufactures the implants?

10. What is the success rate with these implants?

11. Do patients develop other type of conditions after some years of doing this type of spinal disc surgery?

12. What kind of post-surgical pain can I expect?

13. How should I qualify or quantify my pain?

14. How long will I be hospitalized after surgery?

15. What kind of post-surgical rehabilitation can I expect?

16. Will I be having physical therapy, if so for how long?

17. When should I evaluate my progress in physical therapy and decide whether or not it is working?

18. Who else will be in the OR during my procedure?

19. Can you refer me to a patient who has had a similar procedure?

Poll image

A provokative question...

Regarding the back, who do you think is more correctly seated?

See results

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