In our Parkland, FL office, we see plenty of patients who are dealing with back pain, and a few of these folks have been told they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Scharf has helped many people get relief without the need for any type of operation. The science agrees with the results we see in our office. One research study published in the academic journal Spine found that seeing 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 researchers from Dartmouth analyzed statistics from 1,885 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractor for their back-related issues. They then looked at three years' worth of follow-up medical data to find out whether the subjects wound up having back surgery in an effort to treat the problem.
What the researchers determined was that about 43% of the patients 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 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 impressive results. Seeing a chiropractor dramatically 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 note this important detail: this study was carried out by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most prestigious medical publication on spinal injury.
The Risks of Surgery
Any surgery has risks, but a major downside linked to spinal surgery is that there is 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 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. Scharf 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 research studies have documented the efficacy of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Parkland, FL and you need care for your back pain, give our office a call today at (954) 227-0088 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!