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Is surgery for back and neck pain necessary?


Is surgery for neck or back pain necessary? My doctor has suggested me to go for a surgery. But I am worried with the side effects caused bu the surgery.

Please do share your opinion with me.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • What is your diagnosis that surgery has been recommended for?
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • It depends on your diagnosis. I would get a second opinion to be sure. If surgery is recommended but not absolutely necessary, then it is a quality of life decision. You have to weigh your pain now against surgery and a long recovery.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,837
    Please read the FAQ so that you can put together a thread/post that will have enough information for other members to respond to.
    Your thread was too vague.

    • Is back or cervical surgery necessary - YES
      Is back or cervical surgery necessary - MAYBE
      Is back or cervical surgery necessary - NO
    The point I a making is that spinal surgery is a complex action and is very personal. No two people go through the same procedure even though the names are the same.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Ron is spot on, the decision for surgery is personal and can depend on many factors.

    For me, the doctor told me that my surgery was technically optional. I would not die if I did not have the surgery. I have suffered chronic back pain for over 10 years. I was under a pain management program and did not want surgery.

    So what changed for me and why did I decide to have the surgery?

    First, my left leg over the past year became half as strong as my right leg and my right leg was about 50% weaker than it was before. I was unable to walk very far and my ability to keep walking was further deteriorating. Oh yes, I still suffered chronic pain and I was taking pain medications.

    The doctor told me that he did not think I had permanent nerve damage yet! Also we discussed the deterioration of my strength and walking ability. There was no iron clad proof that it would get worse, but the trend was clear.

    For me, I had the choice of a surgery with a 90% success rate where I would regain my strength and lose much of my pain, or continue on the current painful trend and possibly lose the ability to walk. I'm not a rocket scientist (my brother is!), but the term optional did not really make a lot of sense to me. I had the surgery 5 weeks ago, I am walking further than I did pre-surgery without most of the original pain and am making excellent progress on the road to full recovery. Of course I still have surgery related pain, but that is getting less every day.

    Your situation is personal to you and you need to weigh all of the factors in making a decision towards surgery. I weighed the risks and likely benefits of surgery for me and I think the decision became easy. For you, you will have to examine the risks and benefits of your situation. My suggestion if you are still indecisive, write down the benefits on one side of a sheet of paper and the risks on the other side. Then weight each of them in terms of relative importance to you. That may help you make a good decision that you can be comfortable with.
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