When chronic back pain appears to sabotage your every move, it can be frustrating and feel hopeless. According to studies, an estimated two out of three people in the world will experience low back pain at some point in their life. When conservative methods are unable to combat low back pain, surgical intervention may be necessary.
When patients have exhausted conservative treatment methods to address low back pain they turn to EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region for guidance on lumbar total disc replacement in North Carolina. Our fellowship-trained surgeons are here to help provide you with everything you need to know about the benefits of lumbar disc replacement surgery and how to Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.
Lumbar Total Disc Replacement in North Carolina: Is it for You?
When discussing total disc replacement for the lumbar spine, it is important to understand that not all causes of back pain are appropriate for this procedure. One of the most common conditions addressed with lumbar total disc replacement is age-related disc degeneration due to arthritis (osteoarthritis). A herniated disk, pinched nerves, or spinal stenosis, for example, while all capable of causing back pain, are not treated with disc replacement.
While there are a number of ways your back can be impacted by pain, two common conditions that produce low back pain include:
As previously discussed, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. In the spine, osteoarthritis causes wear and tear to the joints in the vertebrae. In addition to degenerative disc disease due to aging, there is also inflammatory or “rheumatoid arthritis.”
A less common form of arthritis that affects the spine includes ankylosing spondylitis. This is a type of arthritis that affects the sacroiliac joints located close to the pelvis and hip joints. In addition to pain, patients diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis can experience stiffness and inflammation.
When a lumbar disc ruptures or “herniates,” pressure is placed on the spinal nerves causing back pain. For this condition, however, a lumbar total disc replacement is not an appropriate surgical method. Instead, a spine surgeon performs what is referred to as a discectomy procedure to relieve pressure on the nerve root.
Conservative Methods For Treating Low-Back Pain
Prior to considering surgical intervention for your low-back pain, your EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region Spine Specialist may suggest one or more of the following conservative treatment methods:
- Short term rest (24 to 48 hours)
- Physical therapy
- Activity modification
- Heat or ice
- Chiropractic care
- Over-the-counter medications (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs or Acetaminophen)
- Topical patches and pain creams
- Cognitive-behavioral therapies
- Lumbar corsets
- Electrical stimulation therapy
While the previously mentioned non-surgical options are designed to address symptoms, they are not considered permanent treatment solutions.
When your surgeon has isolated the cause of pain (ruling out muscle strains, fractures, stenosis, simple disc herniation, or a severe arthritic condition) at one or two levels of disc issues, you may be considered a candidate for lumbar disc replacement.
What Is Lumbar Total Disc Replacement?
Lumbar total disc replacement is a surgical procedure that utilizes an artificial disc to replace a worn and damaged disc. Artificial discs range in design and material. Artificial discs are made to mimic and replicate the motion of your body’s natural disc. They are made of different materials, both polymers and metal. Most artificial discs are similar in composition to the material used in total hip and knee replacements.