When Spinal Fusion is Necessary
You may have heard of times when spinal fusion is necessary from friends or family and wondered exactly what it means and why it is necessary. Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that is needed when all other forms of conservative therapy (chiropractic, cold laser, physical therapy, pain killing injections and so on) have failed. It’s a surgical technique that eliminates excessive motion and instability in the spine. It helps to free herniated discs, nerves and improve the flow of spinal fluids down the spine and to help the patient with pain, numbness and tingling.
The process effectively fuses two or more vertebrae together to help improve the function of the spine and to relieve all associated pressures and problems.
What Causes Spinal Fusion to be Necessary?
There are many reasons and causes as to what gets the spine into such a position when spinal fusion is necessary. These include, but are not limited to:
Trauma or Injury
If you have experienced trauma or some kind of injury in your past and you haven’t had much treatment for it, over time scar tissue and adhesions form and this builds up inflammation and pain. If you imagine rubbing your hands together, they get warm. If you continue to do this, friction builds up more heat which leads to inflammation and callouses will begin to form. Eventually, this will lead to pain. An injury inside your body can lead to the same effect if not treated appropriately.
Excessive motion causes one vertebrae to slip over another making the joints dysfunctional and thus creating pain, nerve issues and other problems.
One of the most common causes is disc degeneration where the spine naturally degenerates over time with age and wear and tear. Degeneration is not something we are currently able to correct, but we can treat and manage it, but again, if the issue is too far gone, then surgery may be the only option to help.
Other Reasons why Spinal Surgery is Necessary
The short answer is when you have tried all or many different forms of conservative care such as physical therapy, chiropractic, medical massage, cold laser therapy, pain killing injections and so on. You should look to all these treatments first before making the decision to go towards surgery.
It is always best to catch these issues as early as possible because conservative based treatments for the most part, can and do help. They can help stave off the threat of when spinal fusion is necessary for many years. Many won’t even need it, but the earlier the conditions are identified and managed, the better. Ignoring an injury or pain and thinking it will go away is not the best thing for you in the long term. Moreover, secondary problems can form as a result of the primary affliction, making proper diagnosis harder and delaying appropriate treatment.
When Spinal Fusion is Necessary
To summarize, for the most part, chiropractic care can take care of most issues, especially when in their infancy. If you have tried a variety of treatments to no avail, then spinal fusion is necessary to be fully investigated to see if it is right for you. There are of course risks associated with surgery, (there always is), and that is why conservative treatments should always be tried first.
If you do go the route of surgery, it is also necessary to follow your surgeon’s guidelines on rehab work and physical therapy after your operation to ensure full and proper recovery. It will likely also be important to have a regular maintenance plan in place to receive regular adjustments because your spine will be fused and while this helps that immediate area of your body, it is not uncommon to experience pain elsewhere in the back because the back now isn’t as it was originally “designed” for want of a better term. So taking better care to your back is vital from this point forwards.
If you are in pain, if you are finding you are consistently experiencing tingling, numbness, weakness in your legs then spinal fusion and you have tried the above, then surgery may be the answer to managing your condition. As ever, consult with us first and we can even help you find the appropriate surgeon if this is the direction your condition is going in.
Check out my podcast below for more information on when spinal fusion is necessary.