In our Arlington practice, we see plenty of people who are troubled with back pain, and a few of these people have been told they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Ernst has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgical treatment. The scientific literature agrees with the results we see in our practice. One study published in the academic journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first move in overcoming with your back issues may literally keep you off of the operating table.
In this scientific study, medical experts from Dartmouth analyzed data from 1,885 workers from Washington state who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their back-related issues. They then looked at three years' worth of follow-up medical data to ascertain whether the patients ended up having back surgery in an attempt to treat the problem.
What the researchers discovered was that about 43% of the individuals who first saw a surgeon for their back issues ended up in surgery in that 3-year time span, whereas only 1.5 percent of those who first saw 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 outcomes. Visiting a chiropractor considerably decreases your odds of getting 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 detail: this study was carried out by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most influential medical journal on spinal injury.
The Risks of Surgery
Any surgery has risks, but a serious problem linked to spinal surgery is that there's 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. Ernst is convinced 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 established the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Arlington and you need relief for your back pain, give our office a call today at (360) 659-8464 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!