In our Depew practice, we see many people who are troubled with back pain, and a few of these patients have been advised they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Palmer has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of operation. The scientific research confirms the results we see in our office. One medical study published in the journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first move in dealing with your back issues may literally keep you out of the operating room.
In this study, medical professionals from Dartmouth analyzed data from 1,885 workers from Washington state who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractor for their back pain issues. They then looked at three years' worth of follow-up medical records to determine whether the subjects ended up having back surgery in an attempt to treat the issue.
What the researchers discovered was that 42.7% of the people who first consulted with a surgeon for their back pain ended up having a surgical procedure in that 3-year time span, whereas only 1.5% 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 outcomes. Seeing a chiropractor drastically decreases your odds of getting back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this report "had lower odds of chronic work disability" and they also had fewer expensive MRI tests.
Let's also keep in mind this important point: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most distinguished medical publication on spinal injuries.
The Problems with Surgery
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a serious problem linked to spine surgery is that there is a very high rate of failure. In an important review 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. Palmer believes that surgery should be the absolute last choice for treating back pain. Chiropractic works to restore your spine to its normal function--without risky surgery or drugs--and many research studies have established the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Depew and you need relief for your back pain, give our office a call today at (716) 668-2225 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.