In our Depew office, we see plenty of patients who are troubled with back pain, and some of these folks have been informed they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Palmer has helped many people get relief without the need for any type of surgical treatment. The scientific literature agrees with the results we see in our office. One medical study published in the journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first step in dealing with your back problems may actually keep you off of the operating table.
In this research study, medical professionals from Dartmouth analyzed statistics from about 1,900 workers from the state of Washington 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 information to determine whether the patients wound up having back surgery in an effort to treat the issue.
What the authors observed was that about 43% of the patients who first consulted with a surgeon for their back issues ended up in surgery in that 3-year time span, whereas only 1.5% of those who first saw 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 remarkable results. Visiting a chiropractor considerably reduces 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 take note this important point: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most influential medical journal on spinal injuries.
The Risks of Surgery
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a serious downside related 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 is convinced 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 studies have established the efficacy of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Depew and you need relief for your back pain, give our practice 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!