Can Surgery Fix Your Back Problem?
Can Surgery Fix Your Back Problem?
Great question because over 90% of all of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives.
Of those, just less than 5% will have surgery. That’s a lot of surgeries.
And, it begs the questions
1) Why are so many operations being performed?
2) Do back surgeries actually fix back problems?
Interesting questions, right? Because surprisingly, there are an enormous number of back surgeries performed that do not give patients long-term relief.
That’s why we encourage people to consider the idea that pursuing less invasive care options first, can maybe help to avoid a possible poor surgical outcome in the future.
We’re going to go over MRI’s, patient outcomes and what you can do this week.
Identifying the Source of the Pain
Step one if you want to successfully treat your back pain is identifying the source of the pain.
So, it seems counter intuitive to hear that there are studies which suggest that routine imaging for low back pain is a waste of time and money that sometimes harms patients.
Between 1995 and 2015, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other high-tech scans for low back pain increased by 50 percent, but according to these studies up to 35 percent of the scans were inappropriate.
One scientist was quoted to say “Ninety percent of patients with low back pain will respond to things like medication and goal-directed therapy, and they do not need imaging at all”.
In fact, it has been estimated that 30 percent of health care spending is wasted.
More often than not, a proper patient history, exam, and orthopedic tests will tell the practitioner exactly the nature of the patient’s problem, without the extra imaging expense.
If you think about it, when an entire course of care to fix a back-pain issue in our office costs less than the MRI, maybe we need to reevaluate or priorities.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome is when you now have new or persistent pain after your spinal surgery for your back pain or leg pain.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of this one over the years.
What happens is that after surgery, your pain might be reduced but still be present.
Or, sometimes your pain gets worse within a few months after the surgery because of scar tissue build up around the nerve roots of your spine.
This can go along with persistent pain in your surrounding tissues along with muscle spasms.
What people don’t know is that this can happen even if there was not a problem during the surgery.
And the fail rate percentages might surprise you.
Continuing Pain After a Spinal Surgery
Revisiting from yesterday, failed Back Surgery Syndrome refers to a condition of continuing pain after a spinal surgery.
While published reports estimate the incidence of failed back surgery syndrome to be between 20 – 40%, the likelihood is considered greater with multiple surgeries,
It will also be more prevalent in regions where spinal surgery is more common.
More specifically when it comes to spinal fusions, studies have shown that fewer than half of all spinal fusions are successful, with up to 94% of people still having back pain after surgery.
Of those, 20% of people needing a follow-up surgery within 10 years.
That’s why we really try to encourage you to investigate less invasive solutions before committing to more invasive.
Does that make sense?
If you’ve been following along this week you know why we encourage you to get a second opinion if you've been recommended a back surgery.
You only have one spine, and the healthcare decisions you make today will affect your life for years and decades to come.
Research has really shown that the majority of people suffering from back pain can find relief without surgery, and that Chiropractic care is one of the most safe and effective options to help get you on the road to relief.
Ok, see you next week!
Feel free to contact us with any questions at Backbone Wellness Institute for the best chiropractic experience
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