The low back (lumbar region) is composed of bones (vertebrae) united in the front by discs of fibrocartilage with relatively soft centres, and united behind by small synovial joints, two at each level. A bunch of nerve roots (called the cauda equina or horse’s tail) runs through the center of the bones, and at each side of each spinal level, a nerve root emerges.
Surgery may be indicated for severe damage to any of these structures, but the presence of an abnormality demonstrated on imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI etc.) alone is usually not an indication for surgery.
It is important to take into account the clinical condition of the patient before deciding whether the potential benefits of a back surgery would outweigh the risks involved.
The indication for an operation depends mostly on finding the cause of the presenting problem. If there has been an accident or a sudden incident, that might not be difficult.
If a spine X-ray after a motor vehicle accident shows a fracture, that probably is the cause of the new onset of pain. If an MRI scan shows a massive central protrusion of a disc at the lumbosacral junction in a patient who had a bad fall, that might be an indication for urgent surgery.
But if the MRI scan shows only a minor bulging disc or minor joint arthritis in a person with a sedentary lifestyle, physiotherapy and other non invasive treatments are likely more appropriate.
If you are unsure of what is the best treatment option for your low back pain, or if your condition has not improved despite standard treatments and have been told to consider surgery,
simply call us at +65 6732 2397 or leave a message below for Dr Tan to discuss a customized non-invasive solution for you.