In our Tucson office, we see a lot of patients who are suffering from back pain, and some of these folks have been informed they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Conlee has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of operation. The scientific literature agrees with the success we see in our office. One study published in the journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first step in overcoming with your back issues may literally keep you off of the operating table.
In this report, medical professionals from Dartmouth analyzed statistics from 1,885 workers from Washington state who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their low back issues. They then examined three years' worth of follow-up medical records to determine whether the individuals ended up having back surgery in an attempt to correct the problem.
What the authors discovered was that about 43% of the men and women who first saw a surgeon for their back issues 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 impressive findings. Visiting a chiropractor dramatically decreases your odds of having back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this scientific study "had lower odds of chronic work disability" and they also had fewer expensive MRI tests.
Let's also keep in mind this important point: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most prestigious medical journal on spinal injuries.
Surgery: The Last Resort
Any surgery has risks, but a serious problem linked to spinal surgery is that there's 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%."
The experts in 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. Conlee 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 high-risk surgery or drugs--and many studies have established the usefulness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Tucson and you need relief for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (520) 322-6161 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!