Over 300 million people sought help for back and neck issues in the past year. From kyphosis to herniated discs, it seems that there is no lack of things that can go wrong with your spine. 

As solutions go, there are lots of options. Exercise, chiropractic manipulation, and painkillers are often the top ways of remedying this. The history of spinal surgery is well documented, though, and when it comes down to a final solution, it often works very well. 

We’re excited to be on the cutting edge of all techniques that enhance your health, and this includes spinal surgery. However, you might be feeling curious. If that’s the case, then we’ve assembled a history of spinal surgery for you!

Ancient Egypt 

As far as medical advances go, ancient Egypt made quite a few. And with the mummies they left behind, their knowledge has proved to be an invaluable resource for those trying to piece together historical medical knowledge.

The discovery of the Smith Papyrus cements the importance of Egyptian knowledge in ancient times. This papyrus details medical techniques to uncover the exact location of a dislocated vertebrae. It also draws the connection between spinal fractures and paralysis.

This information dates back to 1650 BC, which means that by the time it was written down, ancient Egyptians had been learning about the spine for quite some time. That’s why mummies, dating back long before this papyrus, have been discovered with evidence of spinal surgery being performed on them.

Ancient Greece and Rome 

No history of back surgery would be complete without a discussion of Hippocrates and Galen. 

Hippocrates is traditionally referred to as the father of modern medicine, hence the name of the Hippocratic oath. He studied the bodies of soldiers who died in battle and performed dissections on animals to back up his theories. 

All this knowledge led to the development of the Hippocratic ladder, and the board, which were meant to apply pressure to correct spinal distortions. This information would prove invaluable to Galen, who came afterward.

As a gladiator doctor, Galen knew first-hand how fragile the human body would be. His experiments backed up much of the theoretical work Hippocrates had done and led to the first successful spinal surgery by Paul of Aegina. 

This back surgery involved the removal of a vertebra and is thought to have occurred 650 years after Christ.

The 19th Century 

Neck surgery, like most other types of surgery, was a fraught topic in the 19th century. Due to a lack of modern anesthesia and medicines, the mortality rate was high. 

In 1829, Dr. Smith performed spinal surgery on someone who fell off a horse. This was mostly successful and was a major leap in public trust in such procedures. 

The history of spinal surgery continued to evolve throughout the 19th century. More patients were treated with it, and doctors developed better techniques as medicine evolved.

Of course, once the X-ray was invented in 1885, spinal surgery became much easier and more accurate. As far as surgery goes, the X-ray is one of the biggest developments.

The History of Spinal Surgery 

The history of spinal surgery has come a long way since the ancient Egyptians. From the Hippocratic ladder to the first successful vertebra removal, it’s been a process of trial and error. These days, with the advent of the X-ray, modern anesthetic, and robotic surgery, it’s a great solution to your pain.

If you’re interested in pain relief through surgery, we have the knowledge and compassion you need to make a decision. Contact us today—we’d be happy to chat with you!