In our Lancaster office, we see a lot of patients who are troubled with back pain, and some of these people have been told they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Palmer has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgery. The scientific literature confirms the results we see in our practice. One study published in the medical journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first step in dealing with your back problems may literally keep you out of the operating room.
In this report, medical experts from Dartmouth reviewed statistics from about 1,900 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their back-related issues. They then examined three years' worth of follow-up medical data to find out whether the individuals ended up having back surgery in an attempt to treat the problem.
What the authors determined was that about 43% of the people who first saw 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 considerably decreases your odds of having back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this study "had lower odds of chronic work disability" and they also had fewer expensive MRI tests.
Let's also consider this important point: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most distinguished medical journal on spinal injuries.
The Problems with Surgery
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a major downside related to spine surgery is that there's a very high rate of failure. 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 experts in 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 care works to restore your spine to its normal function--without risky surgery or drugs--and many research studies have documented the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Lancaster 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.