I haven't had any surgery on my back (thankfully!) so I'm pleased to report that I don't have much to write about for this page.
However, I do know that if I was facing surgery, I think I'd try as many alternatives as possible before succumbing to the surgeon's knife. In my mind, surgery isn't definitely the last option. (Okay, so I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to surgery...)
Here, however, is a pertinent extract Pain Free at Your PC by Pete Egoscue and Roger Gittines:
For years, I've been questioning the wisdom of 85 to 90 percent of the elective orthopedic surgery that is performed in the United States. We've been too quick to cut and be cut, mainly because there is an abundant supply of surgical talent and technology on hand. American doctors conduct surgery for lower back conditions five times more frequently than their British counterparts. Is that due to our genetically weaker backs? I doubt it. The more likely explanation is that the perennially cash-strapped British National Health Service opts for more economical and conservative treatment. The overwhelming majority of British physicians are GPs, not surgeons or other specialists. This is fortunate for the average Briton, since recent studies have shown that of the four possible courses of action - doing nothing, drug treatment, physical therapy and surgery - surgery tends to be the least successful.
Your stories about spine surgery
Paul Oscar writes with his story about surgery:
I have had 3 lower back surgeries and three neck (discectomies) surgeries. In each case I had extreme pain in my arms (neck) and and legs (lower back). Went through acupuncture, osteopathic work, and many others, ending with bee venom injected into my back (homeopathic). The only thing the bee venom did was make my back itch for several days!
My third back surgery was
Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC. Titanium rods were
placed on each side of my spine from breast level to the pelvis,
anchored by screws in the spine and the pelvis. It will be three years
in May 2008 and I am still on vicodin (down from oxycontin and
percacet) but can walk,drive, and live my life. I swim a mile a day and
wear my MBTs faithfully, as reccommended by my physical therapist. My
advice to people that may be looking at surgery as a last resort, bite
the bullet and go for it. If you are in extreme pain everyday, surgery
is a fix. For how long, I dont know. I have been dealing with a bad
spine,(congenital) resulting in surgery since I was 49, 1989.
I am now 68 and still very active. I cant run or jump etc, but I can bend over and tie my shoes, walk and swim. Lose that weight you have been meaning to lose, that can be a big help.
If you have any stories or comments (or even tips) about surgery in response to your back pain, please share them with me and I'll add them to this site. Click here to tell me your story.
Written by Steve Hatherley.