In our Salem, OR office, we see many patients who are troubled with back pain, and some of these people have been told they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Robertson has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgical procedure. The science agrees with the results we see in our office. One study published in the journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first move in overcoming with your back problems may actually 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 records to determine whether the patients wound up having back surgery in an effort to treat the issue.
What the authors found was that about 43% of the people who first saw a surgeon for their back pain ended up with surgery in that 3-year time span, whereas only 1.5% 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 results. Seeing a chiropractor considerably reduces 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 keep in mind this important detail: this study was conducted by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most influential medical publication on spinal injuries.
Surgery: The Last Resort
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a serious downside associated with spine surgery is that there's a very high failure rate. In an important analysis 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. Robertson 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 the need of high-risk surgery or drugs--and many research studies have established the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Salem, OR and you need care for your back pain, give our office a call today at (503) 399-7607 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.