In our Noblesville practice, 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. Fortunately, Dr. Dahlager has helped many people get relief without the need for any type of operation. The scientific literature agrees with the success we see in our practice. One study published in the academic journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first step in overcoming with your back problems may literally keep you out of the operating room.
In this study, medical experts from Dartmouth analyzed data from about 1,900 workers from Washington state who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their back pain issues. They then used three years' worth of follow-up medical information to find out whether the patients wound up having back surgery in an effort to correct the problem.
What the researchers observed was that about 43% of the individuals who first saw a surgeon for their back pain ended up with surgery in that 3-year time frame, whereas only 1.5% 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 results. Consulting with a chiropractor drastically 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 take into consideration 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 injuries.
The Problems with Surgery
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a serious problem related to 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 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. Dahlager 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 the need of high-risk surgery or drugs--and many research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Noblesville and you need relief for your back pain, give our office a call today at (317) 214-7218 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!