Low Back Pain

Surgical procedures offered by Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic Inc for low back pain

Low back pain is an extremely common condition: about 80% of Americans will experience it at least once in their lifetime.  Cases of low back pain can vary widely, ranging from mild to severe and short-lived (acute) to longer lasting (chronic).  Regardless of its seriousness or duration, low back pain often makes it more difficult than usual to complete many everyday activities we take for granted.  For this reason, it’s one of the leading reasons people miss work and visit a doctor for treatment.

Symptoms of low back pain

Low back pain can develop over time in a gradual manner or it may come on suddenly.  In some people symptoms are noticed constantly, while others only feel them every so often.  Each case of low back pain will present itself differently, but some of its most common symptoms include:

  • —  Pain, tenderness and/or stiffness in the lower back, especially when bending, lifting or twisting the back
  • —  Pain that spreads into the buttocks or legs (sciatica)
  • —  Difficulty standing up or remaining standing in one position for a long time
  • —  Discomfort while sitting
  • —  Weak or tired legs after walking

Risk factors/causes

Anyone can get low back pain and it can develop for a variety of reasons, but certain factors will increase your chances.  Major risk factors for low back pain are:

  • —  Older age: the likelihood of low back pain increases with age
  • —  Poor physical fitness, a sedentary lifestyle or being overweight
  • —  Other diseases (e.g. some types of arthritis, cancer)
  • —  Risky occupations that may strain the back
  • —  Smoking
  • —  Depression/anxiety

Many cases of low back pain are simply the result of overactivity from participating in sports or something like raking leaves the wrong way.  When this happens, muscles and ligaments getting stretched too far, leading to soreness and pain.  Low back pain from overactivity will usually go away after a few days, but pain that lasts a while may indicate another possible cause, such as one of the following:

—Disc injury: the spine is made up of small bones (vertebrae) stacked up on one another, as well as ligaments, muscles, nerves and intervertebral discs, which sit in between the vertebrae and hold them together like a ligament; injuries to the disc usually mean the problem is likely more serious

  • Disc tear: small tears may occur due to aging and pain may or may not be noticed
  • Disc herniation (slipped disc): center of disc pushes against the outer part, putting pressure on spinal nerves and causing pain
  • Disc degeneration: with age, discs begin to wear away and shrink, and the joints may rub against each other; this is called osteoarthritis and may lead to further problems like spinal stenosis

Lumbar (lower back) spinal stenosis: the space around the spinal cord narrows, putting pressure on the cord and nerves and causing pain

—Other common causes: degenerative spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, cancer, infections, pregnancy, kidney stones, fibromyalgia


Treatment: how we can help alleviate your low back pain with surgery

If you’ve recently developed low back pain that’s manageable and not excruciating,  it’s best to see your primary care physician first if you believe treatment is needed.  Most cases of low back pain will improve with time and non-surgical care, which usually consists of rest, medication, physical therapy and exercise.

Sometimes, however, non-surgical treatment does not relieve the pain and surgery may be needed.  Surgery should therefore be considered an option when non-surgical treatment doesn’t produce results after a few months and there is an anatomical cause of the pain on an MRI or other scan.  Surgery may also be necessary if you are completely unable to function in everyday life or if there is severe, persistent abdominal or back pain, or nerve damage.

If you fall into one of these categories, Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic Inc can help.  We will evaluate your low back pain, determine its cause, and present you with effective surgical options based on these factors to help relieve your pain.  The surgical procedures we offer include the following:

  • —  Lumbar discectomy and micro-discectomy
  • —  Laminectomy
  • —  Lumbar spinal fusion
  • —  Anterior or posterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • —  Posterolateral lumbar fusion
  • —  Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
  • —  Foraminotomy
  • —  Medical facetectomy
  • —  Sextant fusion
  • —  Artificial lumbar disc implantation