Chronic spine disease such as scoliosis, disc degeneration, cervical disc herniation, cervical spondylosis, and lumbar intervertebral disc herniation can be painful and debilitating. Some of the symptoms and warning signs include lower back pain that radiates down both legs, lower back pain that radiates to the front of thighs, and neck and arm pain. These can make it very difficult for people to work, play, and live comfortably.
Spine Pain and Spinal Disease
Spine pain and spinal disease is best addressed by an entire multidisciplinary team of medical professionals, including internists, physiatrists, physical therapists, anaesthesiologists, neurosurgeons, and orthopaedic surgeons. Working together, a team such as this will help develop a plan of care that may include medications, physical therapy, and possibly surgery.
Surgery on the spine may sound scary, but it can be an important part of spine care designed to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. In most cases, surgeons can perform minimally invasive spine surgery using endoscopes and microscopes. Minimally invasive surgery comes with a smaller surgical incision, less trauma, and quicker healing. It is a much easier procedure for the patient.
Other ways to reduce the impact of surgery on a person’s health include thorough education both before and after the surgery so that the patient understands the treatment process and also has a plan to resume activities of daily living when they return home. This may include working with a physical therapist on muscle development training.
Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
Some of the spinal surgeries that can be performed in a minimally invasive manner include:
- Spinal fusion
- Percutaneous transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (Miniopen-ALIF)
- Endoscopic decompression
- Endoscopic spine surgery for lumbar and cervical disc herniation
Other minimally invasive spine treatments include spinal interventions such as epidural steroid injections and joint injections. Epidural steroid injections target the nerve root. They reduce swelling and inflammation caused by spinal stenosis or disc herniation. Injections at the facet joint or sacroiliac joint also reduce pain and inflammation.
These injections are also considered minimally invasive. Complications are very rare (less than 1% of patients experience complications) and are relatively minor when they do occur. The most commonly reported complication is soreness at the injection site, which usually resolves itself within a few days.
Minimally invasive spine surgeries and spinal interventions can benefit patients who are suffering from chronic spinal disease and pain. Medical facilities with multidisciplinary teams of medical professionals are especially well-equipped to offer these procedures.