Degenerative disc disease surgery is a drastic treatment option for patients who are diagnosed with extreme age-related changes in their intervertebral discs. Surgery is only appropriate in rare instances for back pain sufferers, although it is performed on many patients who can most likely find relief through noninvasive methods. Additionally, surgery generally demonstrates very poor permanent curative results for not only DDD, but most chronic back and neck pain syndromes, as well.
This discussion will concentrate on the procedures used to
treat disc desiccation in the spine, as well as detailing the risks
involved with invasive care practices.
Surgery aimed at resolving degenerative disc disease concerns typically falls into 2 basic categories:
The first approach to care is artificial disc replacement. This relatively new operation represents an alternative choice and an enlightened approach in spinal surgeries. The idea of the procedure is to replace old and work out discs with new synthetic discs, maintaining the form and function of the spinal column. Individual vertebral level movement is preserved and the patient should not suffer any physical limitations once healed.
The more common surgical solution calls for spinal fusion. This barbaric procedure is ridiculous in theory and is fundamentally flawed. Fusions often do not often cure any pain, but do create many structural concerns in the spine. A fusion will exponentially increase stress on surrounding vertebral levels, causing muscular problems and escalating progressive degenerative effects. These effects are most commonly treated by additional fusion procedures, until the patient is truly very limited in what they can achieve physically. Furthermore, many patients report worse pain postoperatively than before.
Avoiding disc surgery is always preferable, whenever possible. There are several effective non-surgical solutions which many patients do not even attempt prior to surgery.
The best of these modalities is knowledge therapy, since it is completely cost and risk free. It is also one of the best treatments for understanding and defeating pain which has been mistakenly blamed on degenerative disc disease. Unfortunately, if true structurally-induced pain exists, this treatment will not do much to resolve the complaint.
Spinal decompression is a terrific medical therapy option which shows excellent results for curing rare cases of true DDD pain permanently.
Patients should never rush into surgery and should always do their research on procedural options, even if they have decided on an invasive treatment. Do not allow any doctor to make your choices for you, but instead, consider the opinions offered by several care providers.
Beware of doctors who make illogical threats of paralysis or permanent disability. These are most commonly typical psychological tactics used to get you under the knife ASAP. Always seek a second opinion in these instances.
Surgeons operate. Surgery is their job. Patients write to us every week telling that a surgeon told them they should have an operation. What do you expect? Come on people... I was told by a few surgeons that an invasive procedure was definitely in my near future. I was scared to death by this prospect and this fear drove me to research back pain like few before have ever done. I devoted myself to the study full time and learned much.
It gives me great satisfaction to have proven these surgeons wrong, especially the one who had such doom and gloom to say about my future prognosis. Sorry doc, but you are not going to pay your bills at the expense of my health! No way, no how. Find another sucker. It has been over 25 years since I was told surgery was imminent.
Remember, DDD is rarely the actual source of chronic pain. It is merely a scapegoat used to explain symptoms when other structural concerns are absent. It is so prevalent as a diagnosis, since it is virtually universal in the general adult population. DDD is essentially a surgeon’s dream come true. Just don’t let it become your nightmare.