Avoiding the Surgeon's Knife with Chiropractic
In our Anchorage practice, we see many people who are dealing with back pain, and a few of these patients have been advised they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Mulholland has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of operation. The scientific literature confirms the results we see in our office. One study published in the journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first step in overcoming with your back issues may literally keep you out of the operating room.
In this report, medical researchers from Dartmouth analyzed statistics from 1,885 workers from Washington state who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractor for their back pain issues. They then looked at three years' worth of follow-up medical data to ascertain whether the individuals wound up having back surgery in an effort to treat the issue.
What the authors found was that 42.7% of the individuals who first saw a surgeon for their back problems ended up with surgery 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 results. Visiting a chiropractor drastically decreases your odds of getting 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 detail: this study was conducted by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most influential medical publication on spinal injuries.
The Risks of Surgery
Any surgery has risks, but a serious problem linked 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. Mulholland believes that surgery should be the absolute last choice for treating back pain. Chiropractic works to restore your spine to its normal function--without the need of risky surgery or drugs--and many studies have established the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Anchorage and you need relief for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (907) 770-5700 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.