Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can spinal cord surgery help relieve my massive back pain?"
I fell off a roof years ago and have had crippling back pain ever since. Should I consider spinal cord surgery? My back really hurts.
Unfortunately, injuries such as the one you had are common causes of long term back pain. Often, the pain or injury is not properly treated at the time, and this results in the development of a chronic long term pain syndrome. Surgical techniques on the spinal cord are usually limited to procedures that relieve a compressed nerve (such as spinal stenosis or a radiculopathy). The symptoms of a compressed nerve are pain, numbness, and tingling in usually one of your lower limbs, thigh, or buttock. If you are having any of these symptoms, an MRI of your back will show these problems. Many causes of back pain are not helped by surgery and thus, other measures must be taken. Therapies for back pain may include physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, or even nerve stimulators that block pain signals from going up the spinal cord. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a detailed history of your back pain and perform a physical exam. Since you had an injury at one point, it may be worth while to get an MRI of your spine to look for anything that can be fixed. If nothing is found, then you and your doctor can discuss what the next best step is.