For many, clinics such as Beltline Chiropractic can alleviate back pain or even eliminate it completely. However, sometimes there is a special case. If your doctor has tried various forms of treatment such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and back braces, but your back pain persists, then it's time to look at surgical options to remove the pain. A laminectomy is commonly done to repair bone and tissue in your back. Here is how this procedure helps you and what to expect when you have this surgery.
Back Pain Consists of Interrelated Problems
Nerves extend from your spinal cord at various locations as they make their way to other parts of your body. Should your develop bony growths on the spinal vertebrae or one of the cushioning discs between the vertebrae ruptures, pressure is placed on those nerves, causing your back pain. The muscles along your spine become inflamed, putting more pressure on those nerves. You could have pain up and down your back as well as in your arms, shoulders, hips and legs.
Relieving Pressure on the Nerves
A laminectomy addresses those places where the nerves in your back are irritated and painful. Once the surgery is completed and the inflammation in your back has gone away, the pain in your back will be gone. With x-rays as their guide, your surgeon will expose the area of your back where the pain originates and will do one or more of the following:
- Cut away bone spurs that are irritating the nerves
- Remove all or part of the ruptured disc pressing on the nerves
- Enlarge the channel through the vertebrae to give your nerves more room to travel
When significant bone or disc material must be removed, the surgeon may also:
- Attach flexible rods to one or more vertebrae to secure the area while the bone heals
- Fuse one or more vertebrae with small pieces of bone to permanently stabilize your spine
What to Expect After Surgery
The surgery itself will irritate nerves and muscles in your back, causing some swelling. As the inflammation goes down, you'll feel an improvement in your pain level. Your doctor will send you home with a number of instructions designed to keep your back safe while it is healing. These instructions will include:
- No bending or twisting at your waist
- No lifting that requires your back muscles
- No sitting for long periods without taking breaks to stretch the back muscles
When your doctor is satisfied that your back is healing properly from the surgery, you'll begin physical therapy (PT) to strengthen your back muscles and regain flexibility. The PT may take several weeks as your muscles slowly build back up to support your spine. You'll eventually have the full use of your back and will be able to walk and sit pain free.