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How To Know You Need Spine Surgery

Spinal surgery can help with all spine conditions, including degeneration of the vertebrae, vertebral compression fractures, and tumors. Spine surgery is most often performed on patients with severe symptoms or who cannot be stabilized without it. Reconstruction surgery is typically reserved for life-threatening cases that result in complete loss of movement.

The surgical procedure, performed by an experienced surgeon like Dr Timothy Steel, may require the use of screws, rods, screws, and rods together to stabilize the area to heal correctly. There are traditional open surgeries and invasive surgeries that only involve entry through an incision near one or both hips or shoulders.

Spinal surgery can help with all spine conditions, including degeneration of the vertebrae, vertebral compression fractures, and tumors. Here's how to know if you need it.

Common conditions

The most common spine conditions that require surgery are the following:

1.   Trauma

Trauma is a prevalent cause of spine injuries. Motor vehicle accidents can cause traumas, sports injuries, falls, slips and trips, or any other kind of injury that causes damage to the vertebral column. The reason why trauma requires surgery is that there are fractures or ligament sprains that may cause instability in the spinal column. Spinal fractures are usually caused by sudden movement where the vertebral body is not strong enough to support and sustain force and movement.

It cracks and breaks into multiple pieces leading to deformity in the spine. Ligament sprains are also a prevalent cause of trauma; ligaments hold the vertebral column in place and, when they get sprained, lose their structure and elasticity, which can cause instability of the spine. Often, a Craniocervical Instability Diagnosis is related to this loss of structure and elasticity in the neck, which commonly occurs after a car or sports accident.


2. Degenerative spinal conditions

Degenerative spinal conditions are prevalent among older adults in their 50s or older. Factors like heredity, nutrition, lifestyle & activities play a role in degenerative spinal diseases. Degenerative spinal conditions usually occur because of an injury in the past or the aging process. Osteoarthritis is one example that affects the joints between vertebrae, causing pain when bending backward or squatting down.

Spondylosis is another example where the intervertebral discs get very soft and start to deteriorate, causing pain when they rub against the bones of the vertebrae. Also, when discs get dehydrated or very soft, they might prolapse and put pressure on the spinal nerve causing pain and loss of function.


3. Spinal tumors

Spinal tumors can either be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A spinal tumor compresses the spinal nerves and puts pressure on them that will cause pain in any body part innervated by that particular spinal nerve. The pain might be a mild or a severe one. In the case of malignant tumors, it can spread to other parts of the body.


4. Spinal infections

Spinal infections are prevalent among people because of artificial joints, nail infections, displaced or broken parts in the vertebrae. Spinal disorders are caused by bacteria spreading from the outer part of the spine to the inside, causing inflammation and pus formation. It can cause pain because pus puts pressure on nerve endings, causing severe symptoms like fever, chills, nausea, etc. As a result, surgery is needed to remove that infected tissue and dead bone that is not allowing proper blood flow by opening up the area for true healing.


5. Vertebral compression fractures

Vertebral compression fractures are prevalent among people living in the older age group. They are caused by excessive stress on the vertebrae that causes them to crack or split apart. As a result, the spine goes into motion, and it puts pressure on spinal nerves causing pain in any body part innervated by that nerve.

Spinal instability is also widespread among people without any trauma or degenerative conditions. The aging process leads to loss of strength, muscular atrophy, and stiffness to bones, which cause movement interruption within the spine. This can be due to pain or chronic low back pain (non-specific back pain), which requires surgery to relieve the symptoms.


6. Chronic low back pain

Chronic low back pain is widespread among people. The cause of chronic low back pain is usually an injury or degenerative disorder that presses on spinal nerves causing pain. If the spinal nerves have not been injured before, the cause of the pain cannot be seen, but if it has, it will be seen as a specific symptom that requires surgery to remove or relieve the pressure on the nerve and prevent future problems.

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7. Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS)

Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a low condition that occurs when after any type of spine surgery, the part of the spine that was operated upon stays unstable and painful for several months or years even after showing signs of improvement after surgery (for example, four to six weeks post-operative).

Methods used for spondylolisthesis surgery

There are two methods used for spondylolisthesis surgery on the spine.

  1. The first one is called open surgery, where there is an incision in the back to look at the operated area.
  2. The second one is called minimally invasive surgery, where no incision needs to be cut into the back, but rather an ongoing procedure that allows doctors to remove degenerative bone from the spine and find out if any other complications exist from the initial surgery by studying X-ray views of patient’s spinal column as it goes through various cycles during a day.

Recovery after surgery

There are no severe consequences of surgery, but results need to be kept in mind when the person with a back problem recovers from back surgery.

Recovery time is an essential factor because the time it takes for the spine to heal, the bones may lose their strength and stiffness. If they are not taken care of through exercises, they will cause problems in the future when they start to degenerate again.

It can be very painful or uncomfortable for some people, even though the injury was expected to be minimal. Still, specific procedures need to be done to recover damaged vertebrae to heal correctly again; and if they are done incorrectly, you will need to seek advice from the best back surgery solicitor to make a claim.


Spinal surgery is not an easy task to do, and it requires patient cooperation, patience, and excellent knowledge of anatomy. There are some risks involved in the surgical procedure, but only if the surgeon has not been tested for their abilities before operating.

Spinal surgery cannot be called a routine or regular or standard procedure because there are many risks involved in the surgical procedure, which necessitates only after completing one back surgery experience another spine surgery can be performed on that same patient under more capable hands.

Thus performing spinal surgery requires an expert surgeon who has extensive knowledge of the spine and its procedures to perform them with minimal risk of causing complications.



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TWL Working Mom

Jennifer is the owner of TWL Working Moms. She is a full time teacher, a mom & step mom, and NBCT Facilitator. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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