In our Tumwater practice, we see many patients who are dealing with back pain, and a few of these people have been advised they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Harrell has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgical treatment. The scientific research confirms the success we see in our office. One study published in the medical journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first step in dealing with your back pain may literally keep you out of the operating room.
In this research study, medical experts from Dartmouth reviewed statistics from about 1,900 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their low back issues. They then used three years' worth of follow-up medical records to find out whether the individuals wound up having back surgery in an effort to treat the problem.
What the researchers observed was that 42.7% of the patients who first saw a surgeon for their back issues ended up with surgery 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 remarkable results. Consulting with a chiropractor considerably reduces your odds of having 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 conducted by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most distinguished medical journal on spinal injury.
The Risks of Surgery
Any surgery has risks, but a major downside associated with spinal surgery is that there's a very high failure rate. 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. Harrell is convinced that surgery should be the absolute last choice for treating back pain. Chiropractic care works to restore your spine to its normal function--without high-risk surgery or drugs--and many research studies have confirmed the usefulness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Tumwater and you need relief for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (360) 489-0635 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!