ZocdocAnswersI am having back problems. Is surgery imminent?

Question

I am having back problems. Is surgery imminent?

I have had a MRI,a ESI also a Myelogram. My MRI results list : Mild Interevertabal Disc Degeneration,Mild - Moderate Posterior Element Hypertrophy,Left Midline Small Central Disc Extrusion also L5-S1 Level Posterior Annular Bulging with mild Facet Hypertrophy. The ESI didNOT work. I have severe Left Leg Pain upon standing. Is surgery Immenient?

Answer

Thanks for your question, and sorry to hear about your pain. With most back pain, the decision about whether or not to proceed with surgery is driven primarily by the symptoms that a patient is having. So it is important to speak with your doctor. If the symptoms are severe and are impairing the person's quality of life to a great degree that does not respond to more conservative measures such as physical therapy, then it may be appropriate to obtain imaging. Imaging can then be used to confirm that there is a surgical target, or something that would seem to be an appropriate thing to attempt to repair. Based on the symptoms that you are describing, it is possible that surgery may be an appropriate consideration at some point. While back surgery can be very helpful for some people, it is not something that should be considered unless more conservative methods at reducing your pain and improving your quality of life have been attempted first. Physical therapy can be immensely helpful for some people, as can other medications and efforts to reduce pain. Speaking with a spine surgeon and others who manage chronic back pain can provide more information that can help. Again, please speak with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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