In our Arlington practice, we see many patients who are suffering from back pain, and some of these patients have been informed 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 research agrees with the success we see in our office. One research study published in the journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first move in overcoming with your back pain may actually keep you off of the operating table.
In this research study, medical researchers from Dartmouth analyzed statistics from about 1,900 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their low back issues. They then used three years' worth of follow-up medical records to find out whether the subjects wound up having back surgery in an effort to correct the problem.
What the researchers observed was that 42.7% of the individuals who first saw a surgeon for their back issues ended up in surgery in that 3-year time frame, 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 remarkable results. Visiting a chiropractor drastically reduces your odds of getting back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this report "had lower odds of chronic work disability" and they also had fewer expensive MRI tests.
Let's also take into consideration this important point: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most distinguished medical publication on spinal injury.
Surgery: The Last Resort
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a major problem associated with spinal surgery is that there's a very high rate of failure. 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. Ernst 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 research studies have established the efficacy of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Arlington and you need relief for your back pain, give our practice 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!