Why Back Surgery for Lower Back Pain Is Not A Solution
Updated: Apr 2
Did you know that we do 200% more back surgeries in this country compared to any other Country? YIKES! You would think we would have more resolution than that with back pain, yet back pain is still a huge problem.
Eight out of 10 Americans will experience lower back pain at least once during their lifetime. And, on average, doctors in the United States perform 200% more surgeries for lower back pain than any other country in the world.
So does that mean that back surgery is the cure for back pain relief? With those statistics, one would assume so.
But, before you decide if back surgery is right for you, let’s look to see what the statistics say.
Is back surgery effective in getting rid of lower back pain?
Surgeons may lead you to think otherwise, but statistics show that one back surgery typically leads to at least one additional, and sometimes more serious, surgery in the future.
That frightening statistic may be enough to make you pause before scheduling your surgery date. However, if it’s not, then realize that research also describes back surgery to be no better than exercise, especially when you consider the risks of undergoing surgery in the first place.
Basically, back surgery is invasive, costly, and not guaranteed to work. Oftentimes, the surgical procedure is not well explained, and you are left to come up with your own conclusions about recovery and prognosis. Plus, there’s a common misperception that back surgery can get rid of your lower back pain, which is not always the case.
Why back surgery for lower back pain is not a solution
To be completely honest with you, back surgery to get rid of your lower back pain is not a good solution.
Now, you may be wondering why we are making such a bold claim. Here are the reasons:
Back surgery does not fix the root cause of your lower back pain.
Most of the time, you’re not exactly sure what triggered the pain. You may have awoken with the pain, or you could have felt it while picking up trash from the floor.
Knowing the root cause of your lower back pain is important because, if you don’t, then it usually happens again. And if you can’t pinpoint the cause, then you definitely can’t guarantee that surgery will fix it.
2. No back surgery will fix bad habits that may be exacerbating your lower back pain.
Admittedly, we all have bad habits, and some are worse than others. Poor posture, bad lifting techniques, and repetitive movements are all considered to be bad habits that increase your risk for lower back pain.
Without correcting these habits and activities that lead to pain, you are not going to find any relief from back surgery. Eventually, the pain will return, and you may be forced to undergo another surgery.
3. Deciding to get back surgery based upon MRI results is never a good idea.
It is a well-proven fact that MRI results are not reliable when it comes to determining your treatment options or health outcomes.
Because MRI results can be misleading, and they do not correlate to the amount of pain that you’re in.
We would even argue that, out of 100 people, at least 80% would have arthritic changes, evidence of a disc herniation, or pinched nerve without any report of lower back pain. This tells you that imaging, like MRIs, is not helpful when it comes to rating the severity of your medical problem and should never be used as the determining factor for back surgery.
What is the best solution for lower back pain relief?
We mentioned it above, but it’s worth mentioning again.
Exercise is the best solution for lower back pain relief. It has been proven to be equally, if not more, effective for reducing pain and movement problems as surgery. When combined with lifestyle modifications and education, exercise can drastically reduce pain levels and get you back on your feet.
If you’re tired of ineffective treatments or surgeons trying to convince you that back surgery is the answer, then consider seeing a specialist at Myokinetix Physical Therapy and Performance in East Hanover, NJ.
Our skilled team of doctors is fully capable of providing individualized physical therapy treatment options and recommendations to get rid of your lower back pain and restore your active lifestyle.
Not ready to take this step yet?
Listen to our recent Podcast that shares a patient’s struggle with back pain and how her experience at Myokinetix brought her back to life. Or, you can download our free tips to fixing lower back pain here.
Once you’re ready to take the step towards wellness, click here where you can learn more about our physical therapy services and schedule for your initial assessment. We look forward to working with you.
About the Author:
Dr. Natty Bandasak received a B.S in Kinesiology in 2012 and his Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2016.
He was a National Level Olympic Weightlifter and competed in swimming, soccer, and lacrosse in high school. He also has experience in 1:1 personal training, CrossFit and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
He is currently a Physical Therapist treating an array of conditions including athletic injuries/return to sports training, post-op, concussions, and other orthopedic conditions.
His goal is to help athletes and active people overcome pain, prevent injury, and improve performance so they can live their lives with no restriction.