Lower back pain treatment options

Patient

Q: My name is Tom Valdez, 46 years old. I recently had my MRI due to a chronic back pain and it was found out that there is a significant canal compromise at L4-L5 due to combined posterior disk herniation and facet hypertrophy. Because of this my Doctor recommended for me to undergo a spinal surgery. I just want to know the following questions: How safe is the surgery being recommended? How long is the recovery? Would I still be able to go back to my normal activities after the surgery, e.g., playing golf? Or, is there is any conservative measure I could do and not to undergo the surgery as recommended by my doctor. Thanks

Doctor

A:   Every surgical procedure has risk and potential complications. Spine surgery is no different. However, spine surgery is relatively safe procedure with a low complication rate. Recovery rate varies significantly between individuals but will be probably be a minimum of 6 weeks. The idea behind surgery is to have you return to all your normal activities pre-surgery. It may take a few months before you are able to engage in sporting activities like golf. There are conservative treatments that are sometimes employed prior to undergoing surgery. these include physical therapy, steroid injections, injections of local anesthetic and the use of oral pain-killers. Most surgeons do not recommend surgery without first attempting conservative management unless there is severe disease.

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