In our Harrisburg practice, we see a lot of people who are dealing with back pain, and some of these patients have been told they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Blake has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of operation. The scientific research 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 research study, medical researchers 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-related issues. They then examined three years' worth of follow-up medical information to ascertain whether the individuals ended up having back surgery in an effort to treat the issue.
What the authors discovered was that about 43% of the men and women who first saw a surgeon for their back issues ended up in surgery in that 3-year time span, 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 significantly 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 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 Problems with Surgery
Any surgery has risks, but a major downside linked to spinal surgery is that there's 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. Blake 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 high-risk surgery or drugs--and many studies have documented the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Harrisburg and you need relief for your back pain, give our office a call today at (717) 657-2561 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!