Avoiding the Surgeon's Knife with Chiropractic
In our Anchorage office, we see a lot of people who are dealing with back pain, and some of these patients have been advised they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Nellie has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgery. The scientific research confirms the results we see in our practice. One medical study published in the journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first step in dealing with your back pain may actually keep you out of the operating room.
In this report, medical professionals from Dartmouth analyzed data from about 1,900 workers from Washington state who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractor for their back pain issues. They then examined three years' worth of follow-up medical data to determine whether the patients wound up having back surgery in an attempt to correct the issue.
What the researchers found was that 42.7% of the patients who first consulted with a surgeon for their back issues ended up having a surgical procedure in that 3-year time frame, whereas only 1.5 percent of those who first consulted with a chiropractor had the same fate. The authors wrote:
"Even after controlling for injury severity and other measures, workers with an initial visit for the injury to a surgeon had almost nine times the odds of receiving lumbar spine surgery compared to those seeing primary care providers, whereas workers whose first visit was to a chiropractor had significantly lower odds of surgery."
These are impressive findings. Visiting a chiropractor significantly decreases your odds of having back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this scientific study "had lower odds of chronic work disability" and they also had fewer expensive MRI tests.
Let's also take note this important point: this study was carried out by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most influential medical journal on spinal injury.
Surgery: The Last Resort
Any surgery has risks, but a major downside associated with spine surgery is that there is a very high failure rate. In an important analysis in the European Spine Journal, researchers wrote:
"Failed back surgery is a problem that has become sufficiently widespread to even warrant its own special conferences, with recent reviews reporting failure rates ranging from 5 to 50%."
The authors of this same study concluded:
"It is extremely difficult to identify unequivocal predictor factors that can be used to accurately predict the outcome of surgery."
As a chiropractor, Dr. Nellie believes that surgery should be the absolute last resort for treating back pain. Chiropractic care works to restore your spine to its normal function--without the need of risky surgery or drugs--and many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Anchorage and you need care for your back pain, give our office a call today at (907) 280-9991 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!
- Keeney BJ, Fulton-Kehoe D, Turner JA, Wickizer TM, Chan KC, Franklin GM. Early predictors of lumbar spine surgery after occupational back injury: results from a prospective study of workers in Washington State. Spine 2013;38(11):953-964.
- Mannion AF, Elfering A. Predictors of surgical outcome and their assessment. European Spine Journal 2006;15(Suppl 1):S93-S108.