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Is back surgery a good idea? Sometimes the answer is YES!

Alison Dodd-1

Alison Dodd Senior Sports Massage and Deep Tissue therapist – blog post produced and written by Sports Massage Therapist Alison Dodd

I think most would agree that any form of surgery is always a last resort after having exhausted all other options. Having had back surgery 4 months ago, I am extremely happy to report that my surgery was very successful and I am grateful for having a top surgeon who I had complete faith in from the moment I met him last August.

Over 30 years ago, I suffered a trauma to my lower back when I jumped from a rope into a river from quite a height and landed on a tree trunk beneath the water. At the time, I actually feared I had suffered some form of paralysis as my legs went numb immediately and I couldn’t stand up or walk for a few weeks! I was very lucky and recovered pretty well, however, unbeknown to me at the time, I most likely sustained a fracture to my vertebrae L4/5 in by lumbar spine. It took a few months to recover but I went onto to enjoy a very active life with regards to various sports and activities and managed any subsequent back problems with various treatments, exercises and medication over the years!

Unfortunately, in recent years, my back issues started to get much worse and I got to the point last year when I was unable to stand or walk for more than 10 minutes before my legs would get numb and I would have to sit down. I was no longer able to enjoy any form of exercise which was quite depressing and I was referred once more for an Mri scan last February. I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis which is a condition where one vertebra has slipped forward over another one below it resulting in Stenosis of the lumbar spine (a narrowing of the space within the spinal canal, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine).

I had my surgery at the end of September 2019. The procedure was called a Laminectomy where parts of the vertebral bone and ligaments were removed in order to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves and ease the pain and weakness. My surgery took much longer than expected due to complications but luckily I was in good hands under the care of a top neurosurgeon at the UCLH.

I had a great recovery and was back working within a few weeks and back walking daily. I have recently returned to more vigorous exercise and feel my life is back on track again now which is such a great feeling. I know not everyone has the same outcome following surgery and there are various degrees of success. I would always recommend you do your research and know the risks involved, understand what to expect from your surgery and make sure you make a list of questions to discuss with your surgeon.

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