5 Signs You Need Spine Surgery: A Guide for Parents and Young People

average back pain

Spine surgery is more common than you think among young people. For example, a young person suffering from scoliosis and an extremely curved spine might need to undergo spine surgery to fix the issue and regain their quality of life. The best part about this is that the surgery has a high success rate, which is good to know if you’re someone who has been recommended spine surgery. 

If you’re a young person or a concerned parent, here are five signs that strongly indicate that back surgery is needed. 

Where to Get Spine Surgery 

Before discussing the potential signs that you need spine surgery, you might be wondering where to get spine surgery and what it involves. 

Firstly, spine surgery can be performed at the Spine Center at Rady Children’s Hospital, whether it’s injury-related or a condition like scoliosis. Initially, the consultation involves advanced technology being used for the diagnosis and subsequent treatment planning. From there, a date will be scheduled for your spine surgery, which will be performed by a professional spine surgeon. 

The length of time it takes someone to recover from spine surgery varies depending on their specific case, overall health, and the success of the surgery. Typically, though, you can expect anywhere from six months to a year for a complete recovery. During the recovery process, you’ll go from strength to strength and will (eventually) be able to do all the activities you did before. 

Persistent Pain 

If you’ve been suffering from persistent (and progressive) back pain for several years and no other treatment methods have worked, it’s a very strong indicator that you might need spine surgery. This will enable you to fix the underlying issue and finally put an end to the back pain you’ve been dealing with for so long. 

The Pain Is Spreading to Your Arms and Legs

Often, people with severe spine problems find that the pain gradually starts spreading to their arms and legs. When this happens, it’s better to take action sooner rather than later, as your problem will likely get worse. 

When back pain spreads to other parts of the body, it’s often because of a herniated disc. Sometimes, herniated disks require surgery, but this isn’t that common. On the other hand, it might be sciatica, which is caused by an irritated nerve and normally requires surgery if non-surgical treatment fails. 

Bladder or Bowel Issues

Bladder and bowel issues caused by back pain are usually your body’s way of telling you that the problem has become serious. The second you start experiencing bladder or bowel issues, arrange an appointment with your doctor to discuss it in more detail. 

Reduced Mobility 

Reduced mobility leads to reduced quality of life. 

At first, it can be tempting to ignore your mobility problems and assume they’ll go away on their own. For example, you might be struggling to stand or walk straight. However, back problems never disappear without some kind of interference — which might need to be spinal surgery. 

Persistent Leg Numbness

The fifth and final sign that you need spine surgery is leg numbness that never seems to go away. 

If you’ve been experiencing leg numbness as a direct result of back problems, your doctor will almost certainly refer you to a spine surgeon if everything else has failed to work. Depending on the diagnosis, the spine surgeon will likely recommend surgery, which is then something you’ll have to consider. As mentioned earlier, spine surgery has a high success rate and is generally safe.