In our Tumwater chiropractic clinic, we see plenty of people who are struggling with back pain, and a few of these folks have been advised they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Harrell has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgical treatment. The science agrees with the results we see in our practice. One medical study published in the journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first move in overcoming with your back problems may literally keep you off of the operating table.
In this scientific study, medical professionals from Dartmouth analyzed data from about 1,900 workers from Washington state who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their back pain issues. They then examined three years' worth of follow-up medical records to determine whether the patients ended up having back surgery in an effort to correct the problem.
What the researchers observed was that 42.7% of the people who first saw a surgeon for their back pain ended up having a surgical procedure in that 3-year time span, whereas only 1.5 percent of those who first saw 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 outcomes. Visiting a chiropractor significantly decreases 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 take into account this important point: this study was conducted by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most influential medical journal on spinal injury.
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a major problem linked to spine surgery is that there is 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%."
"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 believes that surgery should be the absolute last resort 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 Tumwater and you need relief for your back pain, give our office 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!