In our Jacksonville and Fleming Island practice, we see a large number of people who are suffering from back pain, and a few of these folks have been informed they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Fritz has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of operation. The science confirms the results we see in our office. One research study published in the journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first step in dealing with your back pain may literally keep you out of the operating room.
In this report, medical researchers from Dartmouth analyzed data from 1,885 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractor for their back pain 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 correct the issue.
What the researchers determined was that 42.7% of the individuals who first consulted with a surgeon for their back pain ended up in surgery in that 3-year time frame, whereas only 1.5% 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 outcomes. Visiting a chiropractor dramatically decreases your odds of getting back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this 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 performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most prestigious medical journal on spinal injury.
The Risks of Surgery
Any surgery has risks, but a major problem associated with spine surgery is that there's a very high failure rate. 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. Fritz believes that surgery should be the absolute last resort 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 established the usefulness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Jacksonville and Fleming Island and you need care for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (904) 425-9060 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!