Tiger Woods had low back surgery called a microdiscectomy to relieve pain from a low back disc herniation that was pinching a nerve. The pain was causing him to perform poorly at work, which for him is playing golf at the highest level.
There is some debate on whether low back surgery is a good idea given the frequency it is unsuccessful in relieving low back pain. Low back disc herniation can be caused by a variety of things. Common causes include:
- Car accidents (like hitting a tree with your SUV!)
- Work stress on the body (lifting heavy objects, twisting while lifting)
- Aging process – (degeneration over lifetime)
When is choosing to have surgery due to low back pain a good idea? The answer is different for each person. In my view, if the pain is too bad to tolerate and is reducing your ability to work and enjoy life, then I’d choose surgery.
However, not everyone will think the same way. There are alternatives to surgery:
- Physical Therapy
- Weight loss
- Pain medication
- Exercise (walking)
Surgery is always a very personal choice and educating yourself about the microdiscectomy procedure is a good first step. Here are some good questions to ask your surgeon as well.