When you've got back pain, one of the best questions you can ask is, "Why is it happening?" That can be the first step to helping the problem.
Common causes for back pain include:
Muscle and ligament injuries. These are the most common causes of back pain. Shoveling snow or helping a friend move her couch can sometimes overstretch the muscles or ligaments. You can wind up with strains or sprains. Most of these injuries heal in a few days to weeks.
Bone is taken from the pelvic bone or from a bone bank. The bone is used to make a bridge between vertebrae that are next to each other.
This bone graft helps new bone grow.
are used to hold the vertebrae together until new bone grows between
What To Expect After Surgery
You will need to be watched in the
hospital for a few days after surgery.
Bed rest is
not usually needed while you recover at home.
doctor may recommend that you wear a back brace while you recover.
Rehabilitation can take a long time. It includes walking, riding a
stationary bike, swimming, and similar activities.
Why It Is Done
Spinal fusion may be done by itself
or along with surgery to remove bone and tissue that are narrowing the spinal canal and squeezing the spinal cord.
may be done as a follow-up after surgery that was done to
problems such as spinal stenosis,
herniated discs, injuries, infection, and tumors.
Spinal fusion was first used to treat fractures or other problems. It is now also used to treat age-related spinal problems and spinal stenosis.1
How Well It Works
fusion is often needed to keep the spine stable after injury,
infection, or a tumor.
But there is not a lot of research about how well it works for other spinal problems. One study
showed no clear difference between spinal fusion and intense
rehabilitation for treating chronic low back pain.2
As you decide about having spinal fusion, talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks. The surgery costs a lot and has serious risks. Although this type of surgery is common, there is no
guarantee it will work to relieve your pain.
Deyo RA, et al. (2004). Spinal-fusion surgery-The case
for restraint. New England Journal of Medicine, 350(7):
Fairbank J, et al. (2005). Randomised controlled trial
to compare surgical stabilisation of the lumbar spine with an intensive
rehabilitation programme for patients with chronic low back pain: The MRC spine
stabilisation trial. BMJ, 330(7502):
Primary Medical Reviewer
William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
March 1, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 01, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this