Is Back Surgery Your Friend or Your Foe?

I recently had the opportunity to shadow a great spine surgeon. It was a wonderful experience, and quite eye-opening in a number of ways. First, I was sadly surprised with how many people sought out surgical options when clearly I could probably help them.

On the other hand, however, I was impressed that the surgeon readily recognized this and referred out for PT or Chiropractic often. Regrettably this isn’t always the case.

While 90% of people will deal with back pain during their lifetime, less than 5% need surgery--yet so many surgeries are performed. Why is this the case when research has shown that not only is conservative care often better for most patients, but it often fails to solve the problem?

The cause of many symptoms of back pain are things that don’t show up on an X-ray or MRI, which are the most common methods used by spine surgeons to diagnose.

Can you imagine operating on a problem you haven’t identified? Neither can we, nor many patient-centered surgeons out there. Results in these cases and many others have been consistently disastrous enough to warrant the term “failed back surgery syndrome.”

Here are some important points recently made in a research article after a Japanese Survey of patients that received back surgery:

  • 94% Still had symptoms of back pain after surgery
  • 1 in 5 people need follow-up surgery within 10 years of their initial procedure
  • Less than half of spinal fusions are successful
  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome has been found in up to 21% of surgical patients

If you’ve thought about back surgery, you should probably get a second opinion besides your surgeon's. That’s what your Premier Gilbert Clinic, Better Chiropractic is here for. In fact, we offer free consultations to anyone who wants to get an idea of whether or not we can help them.

We’ll listen to your story and ask you a few questions to see if you could benefit from trying conservative care before surgery (which in most cases is a resounding “absolutely!”). Call us today to schedule your complimentary consultation or initial exam.