Surgical Options for Severe Back Pain: A Last Resort

Surgery should be the last resort when it comes to treating severe back pain. – This is because there are so many conventional & cutting-edge options provided by Pain Doctors.
And as any Pain Specialist will tell you, back pain is one of the most common reasons why patients book a consultation. Indeed: “according to the national Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke, & the American Chiropractic Association, 80% of people will experience lower back pain sometime in their lives” [1]

Did You Know?

“Globally, 540 million people suffer from back pain at any given time” [1], so if you are one of them, know that you’re not alone, and that there are plenty of options available. It is however, very important to book an in-person or online appointment with a Pain Consultant right from the get-go. – This way you can ensure that you receive a correct diagnosis, and get started on a Holistic Personalised Treatment Plan, as soon as the Pain Doctor has reviewed your medical history, asked you various pertinent questions, undertaken an examination, and studied the results of any necessary tests and scans.

A Pain Doctor’s Perspective

A Pain Specialist will have to contemplate two major considerations:

• Number 1: they will need to decide whether there is a good chance that back surgery will solve the patient’s pain and difficulties
• Number 2: they will evaluate the patient’s symptoms in order to establish whether they are severe enough to affect their quality of life, and everyday work and social and other activities (such as shopping and undertaking necessary tasks). In other words, will the risks of back surgery outweigh the potential benefits?

The Low-Down on Back Surgery

No Pain Specialist would recommend surgery unless there was no other viable option to relieve a patient’s severe chronic back pain and anatomical issue/s. In the case of those who do have to undergo back surgery: they must be mindful that surgical outcomes can be vastly different in accordance with with the condition of the patient prior to the surgery. Moreover, their recovery time can vary inline with the type of procedure, the the physical and even psychological condition of the patient, and various other factors. Of note, aspects such as: diabetes, smoking status, having an active or sedentary lifestyle, the patient’s weight (for example, if they are obese), and whether they have decreased muscle mass, all impact the level of success of a surgical outcome.

There is Not Always a Clear -Cut Case For Back Surgery

It is important to be mindful of the fact that, as the Mayo Clinic points out:

“Back surgery relieves leg pain better than it does back pain. Many people who have back surgery continue to have pain in their backs” [2]

As Pain Doctors regularly inform some of their patients, countless sufferers who experience back pain, also deal with pain that runs down one of their legs. In many cases, the latter is generated by pinched spinal nerves. This scenario can come about for a number of reasons, including:

• Disk Issues: Disks comprise the rubbery cushions which separate the spinal vertebrae (bones). In some instances, a bulging (herniated) disk, can end up too close to a spinal nerve.- Thereby generating pain and impacting the way the nerve functions
• Bone Overgrowth: this is a condition which can lead to osteoarthritis. This bone overgrowth (also referred to as spurs) on the spine, can be very problematic, in that it can lessen the available space (openings) through which the nerves have to to pass through [1]


[1]. Zauderer, S. (2023). “57 Back Pain Statistics: How Common Is Back Pain?”,pain%20sometime%20in%20their%20life.

[2]. Mayo Clinic (2022). “Back surgery: When is it a good idea?”