Alternatives To Back Surgery
Nonsurgical Treatments Are Available
“It’s surprising how surgery tends to be first-and-foremost on many patients’ minds,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Madey, founder of Go To Ortho. “Some are looking for a quick fix for their pain, and others are so afraid of surgery – the cost and recovery time – they put off medical care and suffer much longer than needed, not knowing that they could get effective nonsurgical treatment.”
Chiropractic As Effective as Surgery
A 2010 study compared the effects of chiropractic treatments and surgery for patients with lumbar disk herniation and sciatica. Sixty percent of patients in the chiropractic group benefited from spinal manipulation to the same degree as if they underwent surgical intervention. When other options had failed, chiropractic treatment worked and surgery was avoided.
Additionally, a 2006 study examined workers’ compensation patients in Ohio who underwent back surgery. It found only 26 percent of these patients were able to return to work after surgery; 74 percent found that back surgery did not reduce their back pain enough to go back to work.
Insurance Companies Recommend Conservative Treatment Before Back Surgery
Because back surgery for sciatica, herniated discs or other chronic pain isn’t as effective, some insurance providers now recommend that patients consult with a physical therapist or chiropractor first, before surgery coverage is authorized.
The Portland-based insurer Moda Health require six to eight weeks of conservative care – which can include chiropractic care – prior to authorizing non-emergency spine surgeries.
If you are unsure about your coverage, or if you’re considering your options, make sure to ask your physician directly.
“As a patient, it’s smart to be educated about your options,” said Dr. Madey. “Not all physicians or surgeons are going to give you a referral to treatment alternatives like chiropractic. Sometimes you need to ask whether chiropractic may be right for your injury.”
While recovery time for spinal surgery can range from three to 12 months before patients can expect to return to their normal daily routines, chiropractic can start reducing pain immediately. Chiropractic treatment gently returns misaligned vertebrae to their proper position, removing pressure from the nerves and reducing pain. Soft tissue manipulation keeps muscles intact for a quicker recovery.
Dr. Graffeo explains what to expect during your first chiropractic appointment:
Do you have questions about chiropractic? Our staff and chiropractors are happy to answer all your questions before you decide on treatment. Contact us for more information about a complimentary consultation.