Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
What are common causes for back pain?
Back pain afflicts 80% of the population at some point in their lives. Back pain
is not always the result of an accident or injury, but often times back pain is due
to long-term repetitive faulty habits such as poor posture, improper body
mechanics and decline in physical fitness. Other common causes include degeneration of the discs, as well as disc herniations or other causes of pinched nerves, such as spinal stenosis.
However, the discs themselves can be a source of pain. The facet joint, muscles and ligaments can also be involved in creating pain.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition caused by the sciatic nerves in the body becoming inflamed.
The sciatic nerves (largest nerve in the body) begin from your lower spine and
continue down the buttock area, back of the leg, and into the foot. Symptoms can range from a light tingling feeling
or burning sensation to a full blown shooting pain radiating from your lower
back, buttock area or leg. Sciatica usually affects only one side, although it
can run down both legs.
How do disc injuries cause back pain?
Injury to the disc can cause pain in three different ways. First, the injured disc
can itself be painful. The damage results in development of pain coming directly
from the disc. Second, the injured disc may be weakened to the point that it no
longer functions correctly. Normally, the discs allow for normal movement of
the spine by acting as "shock absorbers" between the blocks of bone of the spine (vertebra). When the disc fails to do its job, the other parts of the spine, such as
the joints known as facet joints, may suffer.
This can generate secondary pain arising from the other structures. Finally, an
injured disc may be displaced from its normal position and pinch (compress) a
nerve, causing pain. If the displaced disc compresses or inflames a nerve, there
may be back pain, leg pain or a combination of both.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a condition where the space available for the nerves becomes
very small and the nerves become pinched and inflamed which leads to significant nerve pain. The typical cause of the narrowing of the spinal canal is arthritis of the spine, which gradually narrows the space for the nerves. This condition typically
takes years to develop, although it can become debilitating
What is a Laminectomy?
The bony arches behind the sac of nerves in the lower back are called laminae. Laminectomy is a procedure where the surgeon removes a small amount of bone and tissue that is compressing the nerves.
What are the risks associated with spinal surgery?
Any surgery has risks. There are many risks associated with spinal surgery.
However, in the hands of a well-trained, dedicated spine surgeon, these risks
should be quite low. The risks include paralysis, weakness, numbness, bleeding,
spinal fluid leakage, wound healing problems, infection, spinal hardware breakage,
and failure to fuse. There is also a risk that the pain may not be fully relieved. All
of these risks should be discussed with your surgeon prior to surgery.