As we age, problems such as back pain, sciatica and pain shooting down one’s thighs can become common. According to Charles Nalley, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at AdventHealth Tampa, age progression can naturally lead to a degenerative process that creates changes in the spine that often put pressure on the spinal nerves, causing pain.

Dr. Nalley and his colleagues at AdventHealth Tampa encourage patients to first try a more conservative treatment approach, such as physical therapy. “By using nonsurgical, holistic care and a core strengthening program, many patients see improvement in their pain,” Dr. Nalley explained.

Pain and poor quality of life may require more aggressive treatment in the form of an epidural shot or surgery. This shot provides temporary pain relief. When epidural injections no longer work, it may be time to consider surgery.

Dr. Nalley said that the “gold standard” procedure for severe spinal stenosis is called laminectomy or lumbar decompression surgery. Stenosis, the bad alignment of the spine or a herniated disc, may require a surgeon to perform fusion surgery, fusing two vertebrae to create stability.

“Procedures that used to take two to four hours can now be completed in as little as 45 minutes thanks to a new tool called an ultrasonic bone scalpel,” said Dr. Nalley.

The other benefit is that it decreases surgical bleeding.

Patients now have spine surgery on an outpatient basis. They can go home the same day if they can get up out of bed and use the restroom on their own. Older patients and those with walking difficulties may benefit from spending a night in the hospital.

After surgery, a majority of patients find relief from their back pain and embrace a more active lifestyle.

If you want to know more about back pain treatment options or schedule an appointment, visit

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