Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Lower Spine News

Aggressive Approach to Stop Severe Spine Pain

Age and injury can cause the discs between the bones of the spine to wear down. This condition is called degenerative disc disease, or DDD. Most people with DDD get better without needing surgery. They may see a physical therapist, use a brace, or take medications. However, a small number of patients just don't get better, even after years of trying different treatments.

Surgery is sometimes a final step for these patients. Fusion surgery is commonly used to treat pain from DDD. However, past results have not been all that promising for patients who still had severe pain prior to surgery despite many nonsurgical treatments.

Equally disturbing is the fact that pain sometimes remains high even after fusion surgery. In this study, a group of doctors used an aggressive way to stop movement in the problem part of the low back. They fused the spine in front and back and used screws and plates to hold the spine in place. The results were good. Many of the patients (88 percent) were able to get back to work, and most patients were highly satisfied with the results.

Adults with DDD usually get better without surgery. When surgery is needed, the spine can be fused in one or more places. In some cases of severe and disabling pain, doctors may fuse the spine from the front and back with a good result.

Kathleen R. Moore, MD, et al. Degenerative Disc Disease Treated With Combined Anterior and Posterior Arthrodesis and Posterior Instrumentation. In Spine. August 1, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 15. Pp. 1680-1686.


*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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