In our New York office, we see many patients who are troubled with back pain, and a few of these folks have been informed they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Valente has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of operation. The scientific literature agrees with the results we see in our practice. One study published in the medical journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first step in dealing with your back problems may literally keep you out of the operating room.
In this scientific study, medical professionals from Dartmouth reviewed statistics from 1,885 workers from Washington state who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractor for their low back issues. They then examined three years' worth of follow-up medical data to determine whether the subjects wound up having back surgery in an effort to treat the issue.
What the researchers discovered was that 42.7% of the men and women who first saw a surgeon for their back problems ended up in 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 findings. Consulting with 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 consider this important detail: this study was carried out by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most prestigious medical journal on spinal injuries.
The Risks of Surgery
Any surgery has risks, but a serious downside associated with spine surgery is that there is 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. Valente believes that surgery should be the absolute last choice for treating back pain. Chiropractic works to restore your spine to its normal function--without risky surgery or drugs--and many scientific studies have documented the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in New York and you need relief for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (917) 338-7917 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.