In our Arlington, WA practice, we see plenty of people who are dealing with back pain, and some of these patients have been informed they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Ernst has helped many people get relief without the need for any type of surgical treatment. The science agrees with the results we see in our practice. One medical study published in the medical journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first step in overcoming with your back pain may actually keep you out of the operating room.
In this scientific study, medical researchers from Dartmouth reviewed 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 examined three years' worth of follow-up medical information to ascertain whether the subjects wound up having back surgery in an attempt to correct the issue.
What the authors found was that 42.7% of the men and women who first consulted with a surgeon for their back problems ended up having a surgical procedure in that 3-year time span, whereas only 1.5 percent 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 outcomes. Consulting with a chiropractor considerably decreases 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 consider this important point: this study was conducted by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most prestigious medical journal on spinal injuries.
Why You Should Avoid Surgery
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a major downside related to spine surgery is that there's a very high rate of failure. 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 believes that surgery should be the absolute last resort for treating back pain. Chiropractic works to restore your spine to its normal function--without high-risk surgery or drugs--and many research studies have confirmed the usefulness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Arlington, WA and you need care 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!