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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

What is the Success Rate for Bulging Disc Surgery?

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 08:05 AM

back surgeryIf you’re considering surgery for a bulging disc or discs in your spine, there are many factors you should think about before proceeding. Surgery is not generally considered by back specialists and can require long-term use of strong prescription pain medications. There are many natural treatments that can be used to alleviate your back problem and make surgery unnecessary.

You should always get a second opinion before agreeing to a surgical procedure. When asked for a second opinion, the physician may recommend a different type of surgery, or none at all, to treat your bulging discs. It’s also wise to make sure you've tried and given natural, less-invasive disc treatments every opportunity to work, considering the inconclusive success rates for back surgery to remove or repair spinal discs. 

treating chronic back pain risks of surgery CTA

Surgery success rates and useful facts

Hospitals and surgeons that specialize in back surgery have been known to quote very high success rates, near 100%, but also acknowledge the chance of a recurrence of a spinal or disc problem following surgery. A recurrence often means additional surgery. There are also plenty of sources quoting much worse success rates for bulging disc surgery-and many who deem success rates very unpredictable.

  • Experts disagree on success rates for back surgery.

  • In many cases, even successful back surgery may not give a better outcome than non-invasive treatment for bulging discs. Studies show that improvement in ability to function, work and be active is about the same for those patients who had surgery-and for those who received only non-invasive treatments, as noted in a study published in Spine in 2005. 

  • Back pain may not be helped by surgery, as noted by NYU’s Langone Medical Center, which places the relief of central back pain at >50 % and notes that leg pain reduction has a slightly more predictable result.

  • People with mild to moderate symptoms often do well without surgery.

  • Surgery is expensive.

  • Recovery time is required.

  • After surgery, physical therapy may still be required as part of recovery.

  • Some people require additional disc surgery after their first surgery.

  • Back surgery carries risks like any surgical procedure.

For all of the above reasons, and because every individual’s case and overall health situation is unique, it’s even more crucial to avoid unnecessary surgery. If there’s no emergency need for surgery due to a tumor, trauma, infection or other complications, make sure you’ve tried all the following treatments over at least a 12-week period, before considering back surgery.

Non-invasive and less-invasive treatments for bulging discs include:

  • Functional Disc RehydrationTM
  • Physical Therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Medical Doctors

If you have questions about bulging discs or back pain treatment options, contact the Illinois Back Institute for a free consultation with a back specialist. Dr. Jeff Winternheimer, D.C., founder of the Institute, developed the simple, yet innovative natural back pain treatment called Functional Disc RehydrationTM  which has eliminated back pain for many patients. Learn more today at the Illinois Back Institute.

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Topics: bulging disc, Functional Disc Rehydration, Back Pain, back surgery, Surgery Risks, Natural Treatment