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Do I need surgery for disc prolapse?

Q: I am suffering from low back pain since 2 years and have had to be hospitalised twice to Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur for 25 days and then again for 15 days. The MRI test shows compression of the right nerve canal. I just want an opinion whether I should go in for an operation or would you suggest some good medicine?

A:Once the diagnosis is confirmed, decision making in disc prolapse is based on the following: a. Subjective criteria: 1. Severe pain that does not get relieved even with rest and analgesics. 2. Pain that gets relieved but patient has recurrent attacks of pain that cuts into his or her economic activity or activities of daily living. b. Objective Criteria: 1. Pressure in the nerve sufficient enough to cause paralysis. The paralysis must be of major muscles. 2. Severe compression of nerves causing complete paralysis and urinary and bowel symptoms. c. Miscellaneous: 1. When the diagnosis is in doubt then a biopsy is required. Medicines do not really change anything other than help bear the pain or help reduce the swelling on the site of nerve irritation. So, there is no good medicine to take care of all such pains.

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