In our Arlington, WA office, we see plenty of patients who are struggling with back pain, and a few of these people 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 literature confirms the success we see in our practice. One research study published in the academic journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first move in dealing with your back pain may literally keep you off of the operating table.
In this study, medical professionals from Dartmouth analyzed data from about 1,900 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractor for their back-related issues. They then examined three years' worth of follow-up medical information to find out whether the subjects ended up having back surgery in an effort to correct the problem.
What the researchers discovered was that 42.7% of the individuals who first saw a surgeon for their back problems ended up in surgery 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 remarkable outcomes. Visiting a chiropractor dramatically reduces your odds of having 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 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 publication on spinal injury.
Surgery: The Last Resort
Any surgery has risks, but a serious problem associated with spine 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 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 care works to restore your spine to its normal function--without high-risk surgery or drugs--and many 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!