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Low back pain is one of the most common spine problems, affecting millions of people around the world. In most cases, conservative treatments can provide relief from back pain. However, when conservative remedies fail to subside, a spine specialist might suggest spine surgery for certain spine problems. 

Spine surgery is a significant procedure, so if you are making a decision, understanding certain aspects of the procedure can help alleviate anxiety and help ensure a successful outcome. Here are a few insights into spine surgery for lower back pain.

Understanding spine surgery for low back pain

Low back pain is caused due to strain or sprain of the lumbar disk. Improper lifting of heavy objects, poor sitting or standing posture, inactivity, a fracture, a ruptured disc, or arthritis can also result in lower back pain. Most of these spinal problems can be addressed by conservative approaches. 

The primary causes of spinal problems are herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis. Certain structural abnormalities can also cause chronic pain and functional impairment. These spinal conditions can be treated with the help of spinal surgery to alleviate pain and restore function. 

Common spinal surgeries:

Below are the most recommended surgical procedures to treat severe spinal problems.


This is a major surgical procedure that involves removing a portion of the herniated disc.


This procedure involves removing a portion of the damaged vertebra (the lamina) that is caused by injury, herniated disk, spinal stenosis, or tumors. The primary aim of this procedure is to reduce nerve compression.

Spinal Fusion

This procedure is also called spondylodesis or spspondylolisthesis, which involves fusing (joining) two or more vertebrae permanently. The primary aim of this procedure is to prevent painful motion between them, often caused due to degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis, or to fix scoliosis.

Artificial Disc Replacement

This is an advanced procedure that involves replacing a damaged disc with prosthetics to regain and maintain spinal movement.


This procedure is to enlarge the foramen to relieve nerve pressure. The foramen is the opening where nerves exit the spinal canal.

Before surgery

The first step is to consult a spine specialist. Depending on your symptoms and other concerns, the doctor performs a comprehensive evaluation to proceed further.

The spine doctor may inquire about your medical history and also perform certain physical tests to check your overall health to assess your spinal condition.

To obtain a more detailed view of your spinal problem and other structural information, certain imaging tests, like MRIs, CT scans, or X-rays will be conducted.

After a complete evaluation, the surgeon will come to a decision and explain the benefits, risks, and expected results of the spinal procedure that suits your problem. If you have questions regarding the surgical recommendation or have any other concerns, this is the time for you.

Preparations before surgery

Once you are ready for surgery, you may have some pre-surgical preparations, which include:

Engage in physical activities, because better physical strength before surgery aids in smooth recovery. 

There will be food restrictions before surgery, and you will be on a special diet. If you are taking any medication, you may need to stop them for a while. You should stop smoking and drinking because it slows the healing process.

If you have any other health concerns, they need to be addressed, if necessary. You have to be mentally prepared for the surgery process, and potential challenges.

During Surgery

Any major surgery would be performed under anesthesia, which includes spine surgery. Spine surgery can be performed in two different approaches a laparoscopic approach and an open surgery.

Laparoscopic approach: It is a minimally invasive technique that requires a few smaller incisions. This procedure has numerous benefits, like less tissue damage, less post-op pain, less blood loss, and quick recovery. In complex situations, surgeons turn it into an open surgery; however, it is rare.

Open surgery: This is a traditional procedure where the surgeon makes a large incision to fix the spine problem. This might be less beneficial than the laparoscopic approach, but each procedure has their own benefits.

These days, most spinal procedures are carried out with the help of a laparoscopic approach.

After Surgery

Immediately after surgery, you will be transferred to a recovery room to monitor your vitals and manage your pain. A combination of medications like opioids, NSAIDs, and muscle relaxants are given to manage pain. A few hours after surgery, physical therapists try to move you to prevent complications like blood clots. Once you are stabilized, you will be discharged.

Hospital stay mostly depends on the type of surgery if there are no complications; the laparoscopic approach requires a shorter stay, and it’s an outpatient procedure (discharged within 24 hours). 

When it comes to open surgery, hospital stay will be around 3 to 5 days to monitor the recovery.

Recovery at home 

Regular physical therapy sessions are important for a few weeks as they help to regain strength, flexibility, and function. You will also be instructed by the therapist to perform certain exercises specific to your situation and stage of recovery.

Make physical activity a part of your daily routine, and start with gentle activities like walking and warm-up exercises.  

You may need to avoid lifting heavy objects, bending, and twisting your spine until you recover completely. Don’t neglect your surgeon’s instructions, or this will hinder your recovery.

Follow-up appointments: 

Don’t miss your follow-up appointments; they are important because the surgeon will monitor your recovery and address any concerns. If necessary, your recovery plan will be adjusted during these follow-up appointments based on your condition.

Lifestyle modifications: 

Certain lifestyle modifications are suggested to speed up the recovery process and prevent recurring or other spinal problems in the first place.

  • Maintain a healthy weight; it is very important to minimise the strain on your spine.
  • Engage in physical activities daily to keep your spine healthy.
  • Quit smoking and drinking
  • Eat healthy food

One way or another, lower back pain can be treated and improve the quality of life. Understanding the surgical aspects is crucial for a successful outcome. Always consult a qualified spine specialist, like Dr. Surya Prakash, one of the best spine surgeons in Hyderabad with more than 20 years of experience as a spine doctor in Hyderabad. If you have any spine problems, call +91 9848024699, book your appointment with the doctor, and get the best course of treatment for your specific spine condition.


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