When Would I Need Back Surgery?

Back pain is a prevalent problem that mainly resolves on its own. It may be due to muscle strain, injuries, or age-related issues such as arthritis. The severity of pain varies from one person to the other, depending on the cause of the discomfort. Most back pains respond to conservative treatments such as medication and physical therapy. However, if you have had severe back pain for over three months, orthopedic surgery in Clifton, NJ, may alleviate the pain. Below is why you would need back surgery.

When is back surgery necessary?

Surgery may be an option if your pain is getting in the way of your daily activities and does not improve with conservative treatments. Experts usually recommend surgery if you have other symptoms besides back pain, such as muscle weakness, numbness, and a tingling sensation that goes down your arms or legs. These symptoms indicate nerve compression, which usually improves after a surgical procedure. The following are different reasons why your nerves may be compressed.

Herniated discs

Your spinal cord comprises small bones called the vertebrae, separated by rubbery cushions called discs. These discs have an outer covering called the annulus, which encloses the inner contents of the discs. Over time, the membrane wears out and may develop a weak spot through which part of the disc may bulge out. Since the spinal space is limited, the herniated or bulged disc presses on the nerves, causing pain.

Bone spurs

Bone spurs form when your body triggers a cellular response, often after detecting an injury or inflammation. Trauma or conditions such as osteoarthritis may result in bone overgrowth, limiting the spinal space and compressing nerves. Bone spurs also stiffen the spine, restricting your range of motion

Types of back surgery

Lumbar fusion

Lumbar or spinal fusion is surgery that connects two or more bones in your spine to eliminate painful motion between vertebrae. For this procedure, surgeons use a bone graft to promote the growth of new bone. Your doctor may remove a piece of your pelvis and use it as a graft or may use one from a donor. After placing the graft, the surgeon uses rods, metal plates, and screws to hold the vertebrae together, healing them into one unit. Spinal fusion benefits individuals with spinal instability, which may be due to fractures, deformities, and structural changes.


It is a surgical procedure used to create space in your spinal canal. It involves removing a small part of your vertebrae called the lamina. Laminectomy or decompression surgery aims to relieve the pressure often caused by bone overgrowth resulting from conditions such as arthritis. Specialists recommend laminectomy only when your symptoms worsen dramatically or do not improve with medication, therapy, and less invasive procedures such as injections.


Your surgeon removes part of a bulged disc that presses on a nerve for this procedure. Your doctor may only recommend this procedure if the pain radiates down your legs and spine and does not improve with other treatments.

Chronic back pain can be debilitating and puts you at risk of other conditions, including anxiety and depression. Reserve a session with your doctor at Garden State Pain & Orthopedics for treatment to improve your quality of life.