Back pain can be excruciating, and it’s certainly not something you want to have to live with for the rest of your life. While some back problems can be fixed without going under the knife, there are some that require surgical intervention. Here are seven reasons why your back pain may require surgery.

Disc Issues

The spine is made up of many vertebrae (about 33 to be exact), which are essentially a network of nerves. The spine also includes many discs. As you get older or because of performing certain activities that place a strain on your back, discs in your spine can bulge, rupture, or even slip. An injured disc places pressure on your spinal nerves and causes a lot of pain and inflammation at the site of the injury.

Bone Spurs That Are Painful

Bone spurs are often simply a result of aging, but when they begin to impact spinal nerves, surgery is often required. If bone spurs are compressing your spinal nerves, you’ll begin to notice tingling, numbness, or pain in your extremities.

Spine Abnormalities

There are several spinal conditions that cause the spine to curve in an abnormal fashion. Conditions like scoliosis or kyphosis, which cause the spine to curve can require surgery if the condition does not improve.

Back Pain Impacts Daily Functioning

Sometimes, back pain can be so bad that it impacts your ability to complete everyday tasks. Some sufferers of severe back pain may visit back pain clinics in order to improve the condition or manage pain. If back pain affects your ability to work, sleep, stand up correctly, or leads to bowel and bladder problems, you should consider surgery.

The Spinal Canal Becomes More Narrow

A spinal canal’s purpose is to protect the spinal cord. The spine’s bones can become stenosed if the canal narrows in an abnormal fashion. In cases where everyday life becomes difficult and the condition cannot be improved through non-surgical means, surgery might be necessary.

Numbness, Tingling, and Pain are Things You Feel Frequently

Pain or numbness that begins to worsen and travels to your lower back and legs is a sign that surgery may be necessary in order to fix an underlying back issue. It could be an issue with the nerves that run through your spine.

Your Height Decreases

Osteoporosis is a condition that can make the spine weak over time. If the condition worsens and causes the spine to collapse and shrink your height, surgery may be the next step.

Back pain can be a real nuisance. It’s often debilitating and can leave long term consequences if not treated appropriately. Be sure to consult with your doctor about your back pain so you can determine whether or not surgery is something you should be considering.


Addy Reeds is a freelance writer from Eugene, Oregon. She discovered her passion for journalism while attending the University of Oregon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @addyreeds1;