Chiropractic Is a Natural Alternative to Back Surgery
In our Woburn & Chelmsford, MA office, we see plenty of people who are suffering from back pain, and a few of these people have been advised they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. James Ellis & Dr. Lyndsay Martin has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgery. The scientific literature agrees with the results we see in our practice. One research study published in the medical journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first step in dealing with your back issues may actually keep you out of the operating room.
In this scientific study, medical professionals from Dartmouth reviewed data from 1,885 workers from the state of Washington 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 records to determine whether the subjects ended up having back surgery in an attempt to correct the problem.
What the authors determined was that 42.7% of the people who first consulted with a surgeon for their back issues ended up with surgery in that 3-year time span, 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 remarkable results. Consulting with a chiropractor drastically reduces 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 take note this important detail: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most influential medical journal on spinal injury.
Surgery: The Last Resort
Any surgery has risks, but a major downside related 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 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. James Ellis & Dr. Lyndsay Martin 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 scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Woburn & Chelmsford, MA and you need care for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (781) 460-0939 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.