Importance of Back Pain and Back Surgery

March 17, 2021
Dr. G. Balamurali

Back pain also include here about neck pain as well. Back pain happens not just because there is a problem in the spine. It is also to do a lot with the lifestyle. Back pain is one of the commonest causes for hospital visits worldwide and is the fourth commonest cause for admission to hospital. There are many reasons why people develop back pain. Back pain may be because of your lifestyle, problem in your spine or may be because of the problem the way you are designed.

Most people think that back pain is very serious and some don’t take it serious. But let us look at some figures. If you have 100 people with back pain, for 95% of them with back problems, it is not serious. It is mainly due to your lifestyle, the position you sit, the posture, the work you do and is purely manageable with the various little changes that you can bring about to improve your back muscle. Only about 2% – 5% of back problems are serious. And of which only 50% of them actually need surgery.

Why is back pain important and what are the treatments available for back pain? For the first treatment of back pain is the change in your lifestyle. A change in the way you sit, your posture, your exercise, your fitness and how you train your muscles in your back and strengthen them. It is very important that you give lot of importance to this, before visiting the doctor.

The first thing that people do when they have a back pain is find out on google the best spine surgeon. You end up with the spine doctor, you probably have an MRI scan and then when the MRI scan show something, you all get worried and the doctor gives you various advises. But what I would suggest is, if you have a simple back pain, which subsides with rest, which gets better without much activity, first thing you need to see is a good physiotherapist or you go to a trainer or you go to a gym and start very gently exercising. Strengthen you back, change your lifestyle, and give a lot of importance to bed rest, diet, weight and lot of other things. Despite this if you still have a back pain and if the back pain is progressively getting worse, then you need to see a spine surgeon.

There are certain red flags which you should understand if you develop pain going down your leg, if you have severe pain that is shooting down with tingling and numbness in your feet, if you have weakness in your feet, if you are not able to pass urine or motion or some part of your leg or hand are not working, then you should see a doctor immediately without any delay. A lot of treatment now available for people with back pain, like medical treatment, tablets, ayurvedic, acupuncture, homoeopathy, various manipulations, varma etc. There is so much were people are confused. There is a science behind in all of these treatments, but as long as you go to the right person and get the right treatment, or else you could worsen the problem. When you go to the right person, they will be able identify the way it could be treated and advise you accordingly. An X-Ray or a CT scan or an MRI scan is taken only when we suspect that there is a problem that we can solve. It is not just like a photograph where you can just check for everybody who comes to the hospital. It is not like a blood test. So sometimes scans and x-rays are over used and people are confused too much by doing such investigations. 95% of people who suffer from back and neck pain, they all get better within 6-8 weeks.

Some questions that people commonly ask who have back pain are, whether they have to sleep in a specific type of a bed and whether they need to use a pillow? The answer to that is we need a firm mattress. You also need to use a pillow always. Do not lie without a pillow. Lying on the floor may give relief to somebody and you can follow that. It is not necessary that you should lie on the floor. But an important thing is that your bed should not be too shallow, too soft and it should not go in when you sleep on it.

The next question is about sitting. So sitting is that you know something that we all have to think about, because we sit for several hours in our work. Most of us now do blue colored jobs where we actually sit for long hours. An average IT person sits for about 8-10 hours a day, which is not good for your back. So you need to keep constantly moving, doing exercises.

The next question that people ask about is medication. The pain killers and tablets that doctors give you will only give you relief for few hours. This is not the cure for their back.

The next question is about exercise. Whether exercise should be done or you should take rest? So most people have this myth and a wrong belief that if you have back pain, you should restrict your work, you should not drive a two wheeler, not drive a four wheeler, should completely take rest and not go for work. But the contrary is you have to be actually very active. If you have back pain, you need to go to a gym; you can do walking, swimming, jogging exercises to strengthen your back muscles. So that your back muscles are stronger and it is not bed rest the solution.

Those who require surgery, there is a myth that spine surgery is very dangerous and is not safe. I totally disagree this. We have advanced in all fields of medicine and surgery. And spine surgeries are safe. I perform only spine surgeries in my practice. And very rarely we come across complications or problems, because we are skilled and trained in spine surgeries. The common myth about spine surgery is that you may not be able to do things that you done before. Like you may not be able to walk, self care, you may not be able to drive, sit on the floor, bend, twist and various things. Surgeries are actually performed in order to make you better and get back to normal life. So 99% of spine surgeries are safe. If there are complications and the more complex your problem is, the more chances of complications are likely to happen.

Here at Kauvery hospital, we use various safety devices during spine surgery. We do something called neuro monitoring that monitors the spinal cord. We monitor the nerves and we use regularly x-ray, navigation and various other safety instruments, which prevent us from developing complications. Spine surgery is sometimes the last resort or sometimes is also the first choice. Because sometimes when you leave things towards the end, the surgery becomes very complicated and the operation also becomes complicated. So, when you meet the right surgeon, and if the problem is very serious and they advice you surgery, I would strongly recommend that you go ahead with it as long as you know the credentials of your doctor

Importance of Back Pain and Back Surgery

Back pain also include here about neck pain as well. Back pain happens not just because there is a problem in the spine. It is also to do a lot with the lifestyle. Back pain is one of the commonest causes for hospital visits worldwide and is the fourth commonest cause for admission to hospital. There are many reasons why people develop back pain. Back pain may be because of your lifestyle, problem in your spine or may be because of the problem the way you are designed.

There are certain red flags which you should understand if you develop pain going down your leg, if you have severe pain that is shooting down with tingling and numbness in your feet, if you have weakness in your feet, if you are not able to pass urine or motion or some part of your leg or hand are not working, then you should see a doctor immediately without any delay. A lot of treatment now available for people with back pain, like medical treatment, tablets, ayurvedic, acupuncture, homoeopathy, various manipulations, varma etc. There is so much were people are confused. There is a science behind in all of these treatments, but as long as you go to the right person and get the right treatment, or else you could worsen the problem. When you go to the right person, they will be able identify the way it could be treated and advise you accordingly. An X-Ray or a CT scan or an MRI scan is taken only when we suspect that there is a problem that we can solve. It is not just like a photograph where you can just check for everybody who comes to the hospital. It is not like a blood test. So sometimes scans and x-rays are over used and people are confused too much by doing such investigations. 95% of people who suffer from back and neck pain, they all get better within 6-8 weeks.

Some questions that people commonly ask who have back pain are, whether they have to sleep in a specific type of a bed and whether they need to use a pillow? The answer to that is we need a firm mattress. You also need to use a pillow always. Do not lie without a pillow. Lying on the floor may give relief to somebody and you can follow that. It is not necessary that you should lie on the floor. But an important thing is that your bed should not be too shallow, too soft and it should not go in when you sleep on it.

The next question is about sitting. So sitting is that you know something that we all have to think about, because we sit for several hours in our work. Most of us now do blue colored jobs where we actually sit for long hours. An average IT person sits for about 8-10 hours a day, which is not good for your back. So you need to keep constantly moving, doing exercises.

The next question that people ask about is medication. The pain killers and tablets that doctors give you will only give you relief for few hours. This is not the cure for their back.

The next question is about exercise. Whether exercise should be done or you should take rest? So most people have this myth and a wrong belief that if you have back pain, you should restrict your work, you should not drive a two wheeler, not drive a four wheeler, should completely take rest and not go for work. But the contrary is you have to be actually very active. If you have back pain, you need to go to a gym; you can do walking, swimming, jogging exercises to strengthen your back muscles. So that your back muscles are stronger and it is not bed rest the solution.

Here at Kauvery hospital, we use various safety devices during spine surgery. We do something called neuro monitoring that monitors the spinal cord. We monitor the nerves and we use regularly x-ray, navigation and various other safety instruments, which prevent us from developing complications. Spine surgery is sometimes the last resort or sometimes is also the first choice. Because sometimes when you leave things towards the end, the surgery becomes very complicated and the operation also becomes complicated. So, when you meet the right surgeon, and if the problem is very serious and they advice you surgery, I would strongly recommend that you go ahead with it as long as you know the credentials of your doctor.

Dr G Balamurali
Consultant Spine and Neurosurgeon
KAuvery Advanced Spine Surgery
Kauvery Hospital, Chennai
www.drgbalamurali.com
9840480529

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DR. G. BALAMURALI
Internationally trained Spinal Neurosurgeon with 24 years of surgical experience, from UK. Extensively trained in all niche aspects of spinal surgery as part of 3-year fellowship in the UK (Liverpool & Nottingham), USA (San Francisco & Chicago) and Switzerland (Zurich). Senior Spine and Neurosurgeon in India since 2011.
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Dr. G. Balamurali is one of the leading spine surgeons in Chennai, India. He is internationally trained in all niche aspects of Spine Surgery. He has over 26 years of surgical experience in this field.
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