How to Tell Wether or Not You Need Spinal Surgery
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 14 percent of all new visits to spine doctors are for lower back pain. About one in four back pain patients has a herniated disc. Cervical spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column, is another common cause of back pain, as is cervical radiculopathy, which is the clinical description of pain and neurological symptoms resulting from any type of condition that irritates a nerve in the cervical spine.
The spine consists of 33 bony vertebrae. Discs are the shock absorbers between the vertebrae. Each disc is made up of two parts including a tough outer ring called the annulus, and a soft inner core called the nucleus, filled with a gel like substance.
When a disc becomes herniated the gel filling of the nucleus bulges or leaks out through the disc’s outer ring. This bulging or leaking disc filling can press on nerves in the neck and spine, causing severe pain. A herniated disc is a relatively serious injury and may require cervical spine surgery, (also called bulging disc surgery).
If the inner material of the cervical disc herniates, or leaks out, and inflames and or impinges on the adjacent nerve, it can cause a cervical radiculopathy, and you may need to seek the help of a spinal surgeon. Patients with cervical radiculopathy typically feel pain, weakness or numbness in the areas served by the damaged nerve. Pain can be in one area only, like the shoulder, or progress along the entire arm. The type of pain also can vary
Having neck surgery or lower back surgery is not just whether or not you are in pain. It is when the pain becomes persistent numbness or weakness that impacts your day to day quality of life. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek a doctors’ opinion immediately. Cervical radiculopathy may require surgery, so it is imperative you take the proper precautions.