Physical therapist discusses misconceptions about back surgery

June 25, 2012

Topic: Minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery

Back surgery may be unavoidable for certain conditions.

During any given three-month period, about 25 percent of American adults experience at least one day of back pain, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. While it is best to initially approach this problem through conservative treatments, some individuals will ultimately require back surgery.

Joe DiVincenzo, a physical therapist, discussed some common misconceptions that people may have about such operations with the Gloucester Times in Massachusetts.

Some individuals are afraid of the outcomes associated with surgery. However, most patients report high levels of satisfaction at the three-month post-operation mark, DiVincenzo said.

Although conservative approaches are best in the beginning, some people may not have that option for certain conditions.

"Disc herniations and spinal stenosis are examples of disorders that if left untreated, could result in permanent sciatica or the inability to walk more than a few minutes at a time," he said.

Some people are afraid that surgery on one part of the spine will affect the rest of the structure. However, an operation on the lower back is unlikely to affect the neck, and vice versa, according to DiVincenzo.

The recovery process for back surgery may be extensive. However, minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery techniques may cut down on both recovery time and pain.

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