Spinal Fusion for Relief from Chronic Back and Neck Pain
A significant percentage of adults have back pains at some point in their lives. If the pain results from muscle strain, non-surgical interventions like exercise will help ease your symptoms. However, sometimes the pain could be chronic, worsening despite your attempts to reduce your debilitating symptoms. Your Pain & Anesthesia Care specialist recommends spinal fusion to relieve you from spine and chronic back pain. Your doctor can use spinal fusion in the treatment of spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and herniated discs.
Why would your doctor recommend a spinal fusion?
The procedure is a complex spinal surgery your doctor will use to alleviate chronic back pains in some instances. Fusion could be an option when you have a degenerative condition or spinal fracture. During the procedure, your doctor will use a bone or a synthetic material between two or more vertebrae, causing them to fuse over time. The surgeon could also eliminate parts of your bone structure to minimize pressure on your nerves.
Your surgeon will also recommend the procedure when you have:
- Spinal deformities
- Spinal instability and weakness
- Herniated disc
What should you expect during a spinal fusion procedure?
Your doctor will perform the procedure under general anesthesia. The choice of treatment technique to be used will depend on the location of the vertebrae your doctor will fuse, your root cause for spinal fusion, and your overall health. A typical spinal infusion procedure entails the following steps:
- Incision. To access the affected vertebrae for infusion, your surgeon will make an incision either on your neck or back (directly over your spine), your abdomen, or either side of your spinal cord to access it (spine) from the front.
- Graft preparation. The bone grafts your surgeon will use to fuse your vertebrae could either come from a bone bank or your body (your doctor is likely to harvest a bone from your pelvis).
- Fusion. Your doctor will place the graft material between your vertebrae’s spaces to permanently fuse them. The specialist could also use screws, rods, and metal plates to help hold the two bones together as your graft heals.
In some cases, your doctor could use synthetic substances instead of bone grafts to promote bone growth and hasten your fusion.
What should you expect after the procedure?
After a spinal fusion treatment, your surgeon will expect you to spend a few days in the hospital. Depending on your treatment area and surgery extent, you might experience pain and discomfort, which your doctor will control with medication. Since it could take you months for the affected vertebrae to heal and fuse permanently, your surgeon will advise you to wear a brace for quite some time to align your spine correctly. You should expect to start physical therapy approximately six weeks after your treatment. The care provider will advise you to refrain from lifting heavy weights your whole life to minimize strain and reduce your risks of a similar problem.
Chronic neck and back pain could prevent you from living a comfortable life. Do not live with painful symptoms when you can contact your spine surgeon today to learn how you could benefit from spinal fusion.