For many people, ruptured or worn out spinal discs can make life miserable. It can create disability and constant pain, which is only relieved by taking strong and dangerous pain drugs. However, for many back patients, there is hope in the form of implantable devices for the human spine. The procedure is known as artificial disc replacement.
Standard Treatment for Spinal Disc Issues
The main treatment for disc problems is either pain management or fusion surgery. Let’s discuss both options and compare them.
Before implantable devices, pain management could be very successful depending on the nature of the back problem. For example, a single ruptured disc will eventually heal and may fuse itself. In time, the patient may be able to return to normal.
Physical therapy can be beneficial for many. It strengthens the back muscles and helps maintain spinal flexibility and this can prevent pain.
Pain drugs are considered a last resort although they are commonly used for temporary pain relief while the body heals. Strong pain drugs can be addictive and lead to other problems like side effects and accidental overdoses.
When a disc ruptures, surgery is sometimes required. With the help of implantable devices like screws and pins, the spinal disc is stabilized and fused together. This restores spinal alignment and can relive pressure on nerves causing pain. However, the spine loses some of its flexibility.
Fusion surgery can be a risky proposition. Yet, some new fusion procedures are minimally invasive and not as risky.
If you meet the qualifications for disc replacement, it can be very beneficial, especially for lumbar spine problems. New implantable devices replace the entire disc, restoring flexibility and support to the spine. However, the procedure is not without risks and the patient should talk to the surgeon, doctor and family before making this kind of decision.