Spine Surgery myths and facts

Dr A.A. Mehra
Myth: Spine Surgery is not so successful
n Fact: This is not true. These days, latest technological advances in medical science have increased the success rate of spine surgery manifold.
n Myth: Long bed rest is the best treatment of back pain.
n Fact: Studies show that the time of bed rest needed is 2-3 days. Long time bed rest can weaken the spine muscles and can cause wasting. It can stiffen the back and can cause pain over time. It is better to get active in daily activities and use the heat pack and start a gentle exercise program for strengthening of back.
n Myth: Back pain and back problems won’t happen to me.
n Fact: Approximately 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point of lifetime
n Myth: The Spine is delicate and easily injured.
n Fact: The Spine and its surroundings consist of muscles, tendons, and ligaments which comprise a well designed structure that is incredibly strong. To help maintain the back and spine, proper conditioning is needed which includes flexibility, strengthening and aerobic training.
n Myth: I am physically active, so I shouldn’t get back pain.
n Fact: It’s true that a well conditioned individual is less likely to have an episode of back pain than a sedentary individual. Some sports are more likely to cause back pain such as Golf, Volleyball and Gymnastics.
n Myth: My back pain will become worse with the age.
n Fact: Many patients think that the back pain will become worse as they age. But the low back pain is common in younger age as compared to older age. They are most commonly because of discogenic pain or any degenerative disc disease.
n Myth: I must be very careful about my back to avoid further pain.
n Fact: Many patients become overprotective for the back with back pain and are more prone to get back injury. The spine needs conditioning i.e. Stretching, Strengthening and Aerobic conditioning. To stay healthy spine needs to be conditioned daily. Due to sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, it will lead to unconditioning of the back muscles. Protecting the back includes proper posture and body mechanics.
n Myth: The father or mother had back pain so patient is likely to have it.
n Facts: For the vast majority of conditions related to back and neck pain there is no genetic predisposition which means that parents do not pass their back conditions onto their children.
n Myth: Laborers are at high risk for back pain.
n Fact: People living a sedentary life style are at equal risk of getting back pain. Truck driver and office workers both are at equal risk as the laborers. Laborers strain their back for the work but the office workers and truck driver has to sit for a long time for their work which can lead to back pain. Proper stretching of the Back and neck at regular intervals is important to relax the Back and Neck.
( The author is Chief Neuro Surgeon, Amandeep Hospitals & Clinics)


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