Located in our spine are intervertebral discs who acts as the cushioning system for the spine. It helps to balance the forces experience by the spine through actions like standing, jumping, lifting and sitting. It also helps to protect the vertebrae and brain by limiting the amount of movement allowed by each individual disc. Repeated actions over time can cause the disc to weaken and sudden impact or trauma can cause shearing of the discs, resulting in the semi-liquid substances to impinge onto the nerves, causing pain. When things get more serious, daily actions such as bowel and bladder control may not be possible and thus, surgery is often recommended by doctors. However, should you really consider surgery or other options like physiotherapy?
During microdiscectomy, a small part of the bone is removed to create a space between the vertebrae which helps to relieve internal pressure, reduce pain and relieve neural impingement. As a small piece of bone is removed, it will not cause any instability issues with it. Neural impingement can cause pain in places such as the leg and after microdisectomy, an almost instant relief can be felt by the patient. As with all spine injury, there is a certain risk level. It is often the last resort as no surgery is 100% risk free. Unless patients suffer from bowel and bladder incontinence or other neural problems, doctors will not recommend surgery and will often suggest physiotherapy to try to find a solution to the problem. However, risk level is still generally low compared to other forms of surgery.
Physiotherapy is one of the options doctors will recommend initially together with pain relief medication. Physiotherapy is non-invasive, relatively safe and helps to strengthen the muscles in the body. Through stabilisation and strengthening exercises, some patients are able to find relief and are able to continue to lead a good quality lifestyle without surgery. Strong muscles are able to help take on some of the burden from the spine and distribute the weight much more evenly, reducing the stresses placed on the spine and reducing pain. Even if surgery is required after physiotherapy, it helps to reduce the recovery time as physiotherapy helps to keep them in a tip top condition and with strong muscles and body functions, they are able to recover faster.
When you suffer from spinal pain, you should consider going for physiotherapy first. There is always a chance that you can recover and lead a pain free life without surgery. However, only when things start to become more serious should you consider surgery.