Prevention is key
When experiencing back pain, there are some simple ways to prevent the pain from worsening. Take precautions such as doing light activity, taking breaks in between, and stopping any activity that triggers the pain. Avoid lifting heavy objects. Apply heat therapy to lessen the pain.
During the initial stage of back pain, many people prefer to try home treatments such as over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications or topical pain relievers. When these do not work, patients visit the doctor for stronger medications such as muscle relaxants, narcotics, and steroid injections. The healthcare provider may also suggest physical therapy (PT) to treat the pain. Physical therapy consists of exercises done under the supervision of a physical therapist to strengthen the back.
Opting for laminectomy
If conservative treatments are not effective, the doctor may recommend laminectomy surgery to relieve the symptoms. Laminectomy is a surgical procedure that removes some or all of the lamina, which is part of the vertebra. The procedure helps to release any pressure that is causing the symptoms of lower back pain. Patients with back pain accompanied by other neurological symptoms such as weakness or paresthesia may be a candidate for laminectomy. Spinal laminectomy is also considered in conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disease, or tumor of the spine.
Possible adverse events
Like all surgeries, patients undergoing laminectomy can experience potential complications after surgery. Possible risks include infection, bleeding, blood clots, nerve injury, and worsened back pain. Some patients may also experience a reaction to anesthesia or bladder or bowel issues. Adverse events are rare but can be serious, so patients should always follow up with the surgeon should any concerns arise.
The response to surgery depends on each patient. About 70-80% of patients undergoing laminectomy see a reduction in symptoms and report a positive result from this surgical procedure. However, laminectomy does not treat the underlying cause of back pain, meaning that symptoms may return.
Relief from back pain
There are several methods to manage back pain, ranging from conservative to surgical treatments. When non-surgical options fail to provide relief, the healthcare provider may recommend laminectomy. Surgery is also considered in cases of severe back pain combined with neurological symptoms. Always discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with a healthcare provider to make an informed choice.