Myths & Facts

Myth: All spine surgeries are major surgeries.

Fact: The spine is a large and very complex structure, but that does not mean that the surgery is also the same. Today many spinal conditions can be treated with minimally invasive (keyhole) procedures that enable reduce the incision size so that scarring, pain, the risk of post-operative infection is reduced, and overall recovery is much faster than in the past. In short, the most complex of spinal surgeries are now much faster and safer than in the past.

Myth: Spine surgery is never successful.

Fact: This is not true. These days, latest technological advances in medical science have increased the success rate of spine surgery manifold.

Myth: Long bed rest is the best treatment of back pain.

Fact: Studies show that the time of bed rest needed is 2-3 days. Long time bed rest can weaken the spine muscles and can cause wasting. It can stiffen the back and can cause pain over time. It is better to get active in daily activities and use the heat pack and start a gentle exercise program for strengthening of back.

Myth: Surgery is the last resort.

Fact: If, after all, tests and examinations have been completed, a spinal specialist thinks that the best way to treat a spinal problem, relieve pain, restore mobility and help the patient return to a more active, pain-free, and productive life is surgery, it will be presented to the patient as the best option. When surgery is the right choice, the earlier it is done, the better in catching and treating the condition before it becomes worse so that the recovery and return to active life is faster is the best course of action.

Myth: Back pain and back problems won’t happen to me.

Fact: Approximately 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point of lifetime

Myth: The Spine is delicate and easily injured.

Fact: The Spine and its surroundings consist of muscles, tendons, and ligaments which comprise a well designed structure that is incredibly strong. To help maintain the back and spine, proper conditioning is needed which includes flexibility, strengthening and aerobic training.

Myth: I am physically active, so I shouldn’t get back pain.

Fact: It’s true that a well conditioned individual is less likely to have an episode of back pain than a sedentary individual. Some sports are more likely to cause back pain such as Golf, Volleyball and Gymnastics.

Myth: My back pain will become worse with the age.

Fact: Many patients think that the back pain will become worse as they age. But the low back pain is common in younger age as compared to older age. They are most commonly because of discogenic pain or any degenerative disc disease.

Myth: I must be very careful about my back to avoid further pain.

Fact: Many patients become overprotective for the back with back pain and are more prone to get back injury. The spine needs conditioning i.e. Stretching, Strengthening and Aerobic conditioning. To stay healthy spine needs to be conditioned daily. Due to sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, it will lead to unconditioning of the back muscles. Protecting the back includes proper posture and body mechanics.

Myth: The father or mother had back pain so patient is likely to have it.

Fact: For the vast majority of conditions related to back and neck pain there is no genetic predisposition which means that parents do not pass their back conditions onto their children. Myth: Laborers are at high risk for back pain. Fact: People living a sedentary life style are at equal risk of getting back pain. Truck driver and office workers both are at equal risk as the laborers. Laborers strain their back for the work but the office workers and truck driver has to sit for a long time for their work which can lead to back pain. Proper stretching of the Back and neck at regular intervals is important to relax the Back and Neck.

Myth: A spine specialist will always recommend surgery.

Fact:  A spine specialist is focused on treating the spinal problems and if this can be done without surgery, this will be the doctors’ first option. In many cases, lifestyle changes, exercise, and medication may be prescribed to alleviate a problem. Only if this is not possible or effective will surgery be considered. Accepting generalization about spinal surgery is dangerous because the myths can cause people to avoid treatments that will improve the quality of life.

Myth: Recovery from spine surgery is unbearably painful.

Fact: There will be pain and some degree of discomfort after any surgery because spinal surgery may be a significant procedure that does not mean that the pain will be great. New techniques and medications make the recovery process far more pain-free and pleasant than it used to be.

Myth: Recovery from spine surgery always takes forever.

Fact:   With minimally invasive surgery and other modern procedures, the recovery time for spinal surgery has reduced considerably. The time taken will depend on the surgical procedure, so it may be far less than people think in many cases.

Myth: Life after spinal surgery will be restricted.

Fact: Spinal surgery aims to enable the patient to return to the pre-problem quality of life as far as possible. Depending on the nature of the surgery and the patient’s overall health, there may be some restrictions on activities. There will be no restrictions in many cases, except to not take needless risks with the spine, which applies to everyone.