Back problems (including back pain and nerve disorders) are one of the leading causes of visits to doctors. General statistics show that 65% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Doctors recommend exercise, physical therapy and medication to treat pain, and, for about 90% of back problem sufferers, the pain dissipates after a few weeks. The remaining 10% of patients continue to experience back disorders despite therapy, impacting their mobility and quality of life.
For some of the patients in this 10%, surgical therapy may be recommended. In deciding upon the best procedure for a patient, the doctor must consider both the back pain and any nerve disorders that may also be present. One common treatment option is nerve decompression; the goal, as the name suggests, is to relieve pain by relieving compression on the nerves. Another option, stabilisation, attempts to relieve pain by returning a misaligned spine to its primary intact position and then using a stabilising device or devices to help the spine maintain this position. The goal is to re-establish correct and healthy function by relieving loads on nerves and structures.
In the past, most stabilisations were rigid; however, scientific and medical advances in the past year have significantly improved, and now dynamic spinal implants are also used. Depending on the patient’s particular case, and especially the origin of the pain, it may be possible to avoid rigid stabilisation, allowing the patient to retain more mobility.
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