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Lumbar Decompression

Lower back pain affects almost 620 million people worldwide. By 2050, that number is expected to exceed 840 million. Ranging from mild to severe, this type of pain can prevent a person from leading a normal life.

Lumbar decompression surgery is one of the treatment options for people who suffer from lower back pain. When conservative methods don’t work, a doctor may recommend a surgical procedure that reduces pressure on the nerves and alleviates the pain.

What is Lumbar Decompression Surgery?

A lumbar decompression surgery is an operation that reduces nerve compression in your lumber (lower back) region. By eliminating the compression in your spine, the pain can begin to subside.

While this surgery can be highly successful (3 out of 4 people experience a significant improvement), your doctor is likely to recommend it only when other pain management tactics don’t work.

The lumbar decompression surgery can help treat conditions such as:

  • Spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spaces within your spine that results in pressure on the nerves near it.
  • Slipped disc or sciatica – soft inner portion of the spinal disc that bulges out through the outer ring. This can cause pain, weakness, or numbness along the sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal injuries – damage to the spinal cord or vertebrae (bones of the spine), which can lead to loss of sensation, movement, or function below the injury site.
  • Metastatic spinal cord compression – the result of cancer spreading to the spine, causing compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots. This can lead to pain, weakness, or paralysis.

This surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient surgery center

Who is a Good Candidate for Lumber Decompression Surgery? 

Your level of pain, age, and treatment history may determine whether you are a good candidate for outpatient lumbar decompression surgery.

You may be a good candidate if you:

  • Have persistent and severe symptoms of spinal stenosis (debilitating pain, weakness, and numbness in lower back and legs)
  • Haven’t responded well to conservative treatments, including medication and physical therapy
  • Have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, compressed spinal cord, scoliosis, or spondylolisthesis.

If your pain interferes with your daily life, our providers can help you decide whether lumber decompression surgery is the right choice for you.

Recovery from Lumber Decompression Surgery 

Depending on your age and prior health condition, lumber decompression surgery recovery can take between four and six weeks.

Once you leave the outpatient surgery center, you will begin physical therapy and other rehabilitation activities recommended by your doctor. They will help you regain strength and mobility. Pain should become less intense over time while you gradually return to your normal activities.

The key to successful recovery is following your doctor’s advice and avoiding overexerting yourself even when the pain subsides.

Taking Control of Your Pain Management 

A lumbar decompression surgery is an effective way to reduce pain related to compressed nerves in the spine if other pain management methods aren’t successful.

At the Pain Institute of Middle Tennessee, we have an experienced team of interventional pain specialists who will partner with you to collectively determine the best treatment option for your individual needs. To start your journey to a better quality of life, make an appointment with our pain management specialists today.