New research shows that 74% of back surgeries fail.
A recent study published by the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine showed that patients that received spinal fusion surgery actually had a large increase in the use of painkillers compared to those with similar symptoms that did not receive surgery. This study also concluded that only 26% of those that received surgery returned to work, while nearly 70% that did not receive surgery where able to return to work.
Another study in the British Journal of Medicine recommends that every potential spinal surgical candidate try manual medicine, chiropractic and physical therapy for a minimum of two years before undergoing surgery.
Failed back surgery syndrome is so prevalent that physicians and insurance companies have developed a diagnosis code to describe this condition (722.83). Diagnosis codes are basically just an easier way for the way a doctor to communicate with insurance companies.
As a chiropractor with Ortega Chiropractic Clinic in Jacksonville, I have had to refer a handful of patients to a surgeon for back surgery. This is only after all other conservative measures have been exhausted. In over 20 years of practice, I would estimate that far less than 1 out of 1000 patients of mine require back surgery. These are typically cases when neurological deficits progress to a point where there are no other options. Lower extremity muscle wasting and loss of bladder control are just a few of the things I take into consideration when referring a patient for back surgery. I also have my patients perform extensive specific exercises to help strengthen their backs.
Generally, I will treat a patient for two to four weeks before re-evaluating their conditions. If my patient has not made satisfactory progress, I will refer them first for interventional pain management. Typically, this might include injections into the spine in hopes of reducing inflammation helping to relieve pain.
About the Author:
Dr. Steven Read is a 1988 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. He has been practicing in Jacksonville, FL for over 20 years. He is the clinic director for Ortega Chiropractic and Medical Rehab. It is the city’s only facility featuring chiropractic, medicine, neuropsychology, physical therapy and massage therapy. It is located on Jacksonville’s Westside near NAS Jax. He treats patients from Orange Park, Riverside, Green Cove Springs, Oak Leaf Plantation, Argyle and all throughout Jacksonville. For more information, go to www.FreeExamJacksonville.com for more details. He can be reached by calling 904-425-4545.