The lumbar (lower) spine is a common area for conditions to develop because it is responsible for supporting the weight of the upper body. As a result of these forces combined with natural aging, the discs begin to deteriorate, leading to conditions such as herniated and bulging discs.
Lumbar disc conditions are common, especially in older individuals, and sometimes they may go unnoticed. However, if a nearby nerve becomes compressed, it can be extremely painful. A lumbar discectomy is a form of spine surgery that can relieve dysfunction related to herniated discs, bulging discs, and other conditions.
If you are considering a lumbar discectomy, it is important to be educated about conservative options and the procedure itself. To help you decide if spine surgery is right for you, we’re happy to share the following guide. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about lumbar discectomy, please contact our team at BEST Health System and allow us to help you navigate your next steps.
Although the following steps may assist you in deciding whether a lumbar discectomy is right for you, it is important to consult with a medical professional before making a definitive choice. Our experienced specialists at BEST Health System want to make sure you get the most effective, least invasive treatment possible.
1. You have a lumbar spine condition
Lumbar discectomies can treat disc conditions that are causing nerve compression and potential instability in the spinal column. Oftentimes, this discomfort is associated with a condition known as a herniated disc; a condition where the soft inner disc material of a spinal disc pushes out through a tear or weak point in the tougher outer layer. Another condition that may cause lower back pain is bulging discs. This is when the disc is still intact, but degeneration causes it to bulge out of its normal position in the spinal column.
The goal of lumbar discectomy surgery is to relieve you of this discomfort by removing the damaged disc material that is causing the pain.
This condition is causing back pain and reducing your quality of life
Many patients with lumbar disc conditions do not feel any pain. However, if displaced disc material causes narrowing in the spinal column, nearby nerves can become compressed and irritated.
Although individuals may experience a variety of symptoms, some of the most common are:
- Back pain
- Shooting pains into the lower body
- Leg pain
- Muscle weakness and spasms
- Tingling and numbness in the extremities
If you are experiencing these symptoms and are having trouble doing activities you love, contact BEST Health System and connect with a healthcare professional that can evaluate your symptoms and see if you could be a potential candidate for lumbar discectomy surgery.
3. You have fully explored conservative treatment options
If you are experiencing back pain, it is important to first test out conservative treatment options. Since lumbar discectomy is a surgical procedure, healthcare professionals will almost always suggest trying alternative therapies. Many patients with lumbar disc conditions have found relief through the following:
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy
- Medical massage
- Corticosteroid injections
If a patient tries these methods and finds them ineffective, then lumbar discectomy may become a valid option.
4. Symptoms persist despite making lifestyle changes
In addition to testing out conservative treatment options, individuals considering lumbar discectomy should make lifestyle changes to supplement their other treatments. Factors that may lead to increased back pain include smoking, poor posture, being overweight, an overly sedentary lifestyle, and even an inflammatory diet.
By combining conservative therapies with a spine-healthy lifestyle, many patients can achieve long-term relief. Our medical professionals at BEST Health System are not just here for surgical purposes; allow them to help guide you through conservative treatment, and if it comes a time, assist you in finding the surgical treatment that is best for you.
- You are a suitable candidate for spine surgery
If you have already tried out conservative therapies and are still experiencing extreme discomfort and pain, surgery could be an option. Patients should expect to undergo a full evaluation to determine if they are a good candidate, these steps include:\
- Full medical screening
- Diagnostic testing to confirm the presence of an operable lumbar disc condition
- A physical evaluation to determine ability to undergo surgery
Learn more about back pain relief when you reach out to BEST Health System today.