Spinal Fusion and Back Pain

Payam Toobian

September 26, 2022


If you are experiencing back pain, you might consider spinal surgery. In this article, you will learn about spinal fusion, also known as spondylosyndesis. This surgery joins two or more vertebrae, preventing movement between the fused vertebrae. The procedure can be done at any level of the spine.

Recurrence of back pain

Recurrence of back pain after spinal surgeries is a common problem. It can occur even when the procedure is booming and may require another operation. In these cases, conservative approaches to treating pain, such as physical therapy and injections, may be recommended. However, surgery may be necessary in severe cases to restore proper function and mobility.

After spinal surgery, scar tissue is formed around the nerve root. This scar tissue can impede the nerve root’s function. If it does, it may reoccur years after the surgery, worsening the pain. However, postoperative rehabilitation, such as stretching and strengthening exercises, can help reduce the effects of postoperative scarring.

A new study has found that almost half of spinal surgery patients will experience a recurrence of back pain within 12 months. In this study, the rate of early recurrence was nearly twice as high as the rate of late recurrence. However, more studies are needed to find a relationship between early and late recurrence.


Spinal surgery is a standard surgical procedure that involves the fusion of one or more vertebrae. Thousands of spinal fusions are performed each year, and the use of minimally invasive alternatives is increasing. Overall, the results of spinal fusions are usually favorable. Complications are rare, but some can occur. Therefore, patients should be aware of possible risks and side effects before the procedure.

One common complication is infection. It can occur at the operation site, incision site, or the area around the operation. Antibiotics may help reduce the chances of infection, and careful monitoring will alert physicians if infections occur. Another complication is damage to the spinal cord. Complex spinal operations can damage the spinal cord’s nerves, leading to radiating pain and even paralysis.

General anesthesia is required for spinal surgery. However, a few patients experience anesthesia problems, which can be related to drug reactions or medical conditions. Some patients may also suffer from infections of the lungs or damage to their vocal cords. These complications can make the surgery unsuitable for certain patients, and a discussion with a doctor should be conducted before surgery.


The healthcare provider will make a small incision on your back during spinal surgery. This incision will allow your surgeon to put a tubular retractor through the wound to access the spine area that needs to be repaired. The surgeon will then use small tools and a tiny camera to repair your spine. After the procedure, the incisions will be stitched together, and a small bandage will be placed over the wound.

Although working between the vertebrae from the back may have advantages, it can also lead to significant limitations. For example, spinal nerves are constantly in the way. This can make it challenging to position implants or instruments. Therefore, many doctors prefer to make a separate abdominal incision. The two operations are typically performed simultaneously but may also be performed a day or two apart.

The laminectomy procedure removes portions of the bone or tissue pressing on a spinal nerve. The lamina is then removed from the bone, allowing the doctor to see the spine and nerve roots. Sometimes bone spurs, bulging discs, or thickened ligaments can cause pressure on the spinal nerve. The surgeon will remove these items or enlarge the area by fusing the vertebrae.


Recovery from spinal surgery is a crucial part of the recovery process. Once the procedure has been completed, you must follow your surgeon’s instructions to ensure your spine is strong enough to recover. This can include physiotherapy sessions, classes in a simulator or swimming pool, massage, reflexology, and more. In addition to physical therapy, you may also seek psychological support. Both types of therapy are necessary to help you heal.

During the first couple of weeks following spinal surgery, you should avoid prolonged sitting or lying. You should also avoid lifting heavy objects. It may be helpful to ask your surgeon about the best sitting and sleeping position. Avoid standing or sitting for more than 30 minutes, as this can put undue stress on your spine. If you can, get a back brace to limit your movements while recovering from spinal surgery.

Physical therapy is another critical component of spinal surgery recovery. Physical therapy helps you regain strength and range of motion. Once you’re feeling better, you’ll be able to return to your regular activities. But, again, your orthopedic spine specialist will provide customized instructions for your recovery.