In our Depew, New York office, we see many patients who are struggling with back pain, and a few of these folks have been informed they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Palmer has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgical treatment. The scientific research agrees with the results we see in our practice. One research study published in the academic 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 researchers from Dartmouth reviewed statistics from 1,885 workers from Washington state who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their low back issues. They then looked at three years' worth of follow-up medical information to find out whether the subjects ended up having back surgery in an attempt to treat the issue.
What the researchers determined was that about 43% of the people who first saw a surgeon for their back pain ended up in surgery in that 3-year time span, whereas only 1.5 percent 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 impressive results. Consulting with a chiropractor considerably decreases your odds of getting 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 keep in mind this important point: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most distinguished medical publication on spinal injuries.
Why You Should Avoid Surgery
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a major problem related to spine surgery is that there's 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. 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 the need of risky surgery or drugs--and many scientific studies have documented the usefulness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in New York and you need care 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.