In our Nashville practice, we see plenty of people who are suffering from back pain, and some of these patients have been informed they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Sweeney Chiropractic has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of operation. The scientific literature agrees with the results we see in our office. One medical study published in the medical journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first move in dealing with your back pain may literally keep you off of the operating table.
In this study, medical researchers from Dartmouth analyzed data from about 1,900 workers from Washington state who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their back-related issues. They then examined three years' worth of follow-up medical records to find out whether the subjects ended up having back surgery in an attempt to correct the problem.
What the researchers observed was that about 43% of the individuals who first consulted with a surgeon for their back problems ended up having a surgical procedure in that 3-year time frame, 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 findings. Seeing 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 consider this important detail: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most prestigious medical journal on spinal injuries.
The Risks of Surgery
Any surgery has risks, but a serious downside related to spinal surgery is that there is 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, Sweeney Chiropractic 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 research studies have demonstrated the usefulness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Nashville and you need relief for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (615) 331-7040 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!