Herniated Disc: Too many operations

12.01.2012

According to statistics, about 80 percent of Germans suffer from back problems once in their lives. In many cases, a herniated disc is behind the sometimes severe pain. But even this diagnosis does not necessarily mean an operation.

More about:
  • Health Minister: Too many surgeries
  • Too many surgeries in Germany
  • study: Many surgeries are unnecessary

Back pain is not only caused by herniated discs
The causes of back problems are manifold. They can be caused by hard physical exertions, such as long sitting at the desk and lack of exercise. Both are risk factors for the spine.

Back pain can be triggered by a herniated disc. In this case, material from the intervertebral disc in the spinal canal and can press on the nerve. A clear diagnosis is only possible by imaging techniques such as computed tomography( CT) or magnetic resonance imaging( MRI or MRI).

Another cause of back pain is lumbago. This is a sudden, stabbing pain with su

bsequent restriction of movement. As a rule, narrowing or bruising of spinal cord nerves by vertebral bodies or tight muscles is the cause of lumbago.

In some cases, patients report back pain, but this is due to some organic disease, such as ulcer of the duodenum, coronary heart disease, or salivary gland inflammation. In addition, back pain can be caused, inter alia, by inflammation of the vertebral bodies and discs, by tumors and degenerative diseases of the spine.

physicians often recommend conventional pain therapy
Back pain is still the most common reason for sick leave. In addition, 17 percent of all pension applications are now due to back problems. Hans-Peter Köhler, Chief Physician of Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery at the Asklepios Westklinikum Hamburg reports: "Not every backache means a herniated disc." The doctor advises those affected to have a detailed discussion about the symptoms with a doctor. He will then carry out the necessary investigations.

Due to the pronounced regenerative powers of the human body, the spine expert first advises on simple pain therapy. Before considering surgery for a herniated disc, all conservative treatment options should be exhausted. The doctor explains: "A herniated disc is therefore initially no reason to panic."

health insurance rather pay expensive surgery instead of alternative treatments
However, when all other options are exhausted, is usually an operation in question. Orthopedist Martin Marianowicz, chairman of the German section of the World Institute of Pain in the United States, reports: "There is still a lot of surgery." He criticizes: "At least 50 percent of all surgeries are unnecessary." Nevertheless, the operation increased by about 400 last yearPercent, explains the orthopedist further. Because only with operations is money to earn. Conservative, cheaper therapies would sometimes not even be covered by health insurance.

Alternative Treatment Options for Back Pain
In addition to physiotherapy, massages by sufferers are often perceived as beneficial. Furthermore, acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathy can help with back problems. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi and progressive muscle relaxation are also recommended for back pain. In back exercises affected people learn appropriate movements for everyday life.(ag)

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