It is best to undergo disc surgery for limb pain, not back pain. Statistics clearly show that patients who suffer limb pain from herniated discs enjoy better postoperative results than those who suffer primarily back pain. This fact is rarely discussed prior to surgical intervention, leaving most patients to suffer further injury through disappointing surgical outcomes that leave them with chronic symptoms, despite the operation being called a clinical success.
Herniated disc surgery is virtually always considered optional, regardless of what type of pain exists. Of all spinal surgeries, disc procedures feature the very worst results over timelines of 7 years or more. Only a small minority of patients enjoy true and lasting relief. Disc surgery is also greatly misunderstood in its objectives and limitations, which is exactly why so many patients with contraindicated conditions undergo failed operations each and every year.
This crucial discussion details why herniated disc surgery should be used for limb pain and not for back pain. If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, this is vital information that you must know before seeking any type of invasive treatment.
More herniated disc surgery is performed for back pain than any other type of procedure. Ironically, these operations feature the worst statistics for providing lasting relief from back pain. Let me repeat that for you, just in case it is not clear: Herniated disc surgery is the most common form of spinal operation and also provides the very worst therapeutic outcomes of all spinal surgeries. Something is definitely wrong here…
So many patients undergo discectomy, IDET, nucleoplasty, artificial disc replacement, spinal fusion and other techniques due to a herniated disc that is theorized to be causing back pain. However, few herniated discs actually cause back pain. Instead, when symptomatic, most herniated discs produce limb pain or other expressions in the appendages. Therefore, back pain expressed in association with a herniated disc is most often incidental. This fact clearly explains why so few patients find relief from back pain postoperatively from a disc-targeting procedure.
All surgeons know this as fact. However, only ethical and enlightened surgeons will actually inform their patients of this seeming secret, while the rest happily butcher back pain patients unnecessarily with procedures that are known to provide no verifiable benefit at all. The only one who benefits is the surgeon; who of course makes lots of money and has virtually no accountability for why the patient still has pain. Why should they care? They get paid regardless of the outcome!
Research and clinical medical practitioners have long proven that herniated discs are mostly asymptomatic. Of the few which do produce symptoms, pain is the least common expression. Instead, tingling, numbness and weakness are the logical expressions most often caused by a herniated disc. Furthermore, these symptoms are not found in the back, but at the innervated area, usually in the legs, feet, arms or hands. The vast majority of disc pathologies affect the spinal nerve roots that innervate these areas, so this is logical and sensible.
The facts of this statement are easily reflected in the results of herniated disc surgeries. Only a small number of procedures are necessary and most are unsuccessful. Of those which are successful, the usual benefit is a reduction or elimination of appendage symptoms, although back pain may remain if it was present before the operation. In only a small number of cases is back pain cured through disc surgery and in most instances, will return within a timeline of 7 years. Don’t forget the additional fact that many patients’ conditions are immediately worsened by disc surgery, causing them to descend a downward spiral of functionality often ending in additional surgery, spinal fusion and disability. Even after all of this, the still have back pain...
We are famous for telling it like it is and warning patients to avoid disc surgery whenever possible. In fact, the only time we would agree with a prescription for disc surgery is in an exceptional case profile, such as one where there is a verified source of spinal nerve compression that can be definitively traced to a logical set of symptoms in a limb, a case of a ruptured disc that is verifiably causing chemical radiculitis to the spinal nerves or spinal cord (often does not require surgery, but instead flushing injections) or a true medical emergency like cauda equina syndrome or central stenosis causing spinal cord compression.
These profiles represent a small number of cases compared to the overwhelming amount of patients who undergo disc surgery in an attempt to cure back pain, despite there being no evidence of pathological mechanism of action which can be traced to the disc, nor any expressed symptomology that is considered logical, given the location and condition of the affected disc.
You must understand these facts and research for yourself. Otherwise, you will most likely end up as one of an army of walking wounded who suffered the considerable agony of spinal surgery with no lasting benefit to be gained.
In essence, if you undergo disc surgery, do so when the procedure has a good hope of providing relief, instead of justifying the decision based on mythology and the advice of a doctor who makes his living cutting open people just like you for profit.