I was alerted to a fascinating new study today by Donald Peterson's The Wellness Report. The study goes something like this:
If a low back pain patient goes to see a surgeon first, his chances of having back surgery are about 42%.
If a low back pain patient goes to see a chiropractor first, his chances of having back surgery are about 1%.
That's a stunning study.
Here's an excerpt from the abstract:
In the D-RISC sample of 1885 workers, 174 (9.2%) had a lumbar spine surgery within 3 years. Baseline variables associated with surgery (P < 0.05) in the multivariate model included higher Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire scores, greater injury severity, and surgeon as first provider seen for the injury. Reduced odds of surgery were observed for those younger than 35 years, females, Hispanics, and those whose first provider was a chiropractor. Approximately 42.7% of workers who first saw a surgeon had surgery, in contrast to only 1.5% of those who saw a chiropractor.
This might mean that patients who have more severe low back injuries simply go to a surgeon first. It might also mean that surgeons are more likely to recommend back surgery than a chiropractor would be. It might mean that chiropractors are more likely to recommend alternative solutions to low back pain other than back surgery. It might also mean that chiropractors are effective at preventing back surgery.
My opinion (and I believe the prevailing medical wisdom) is that surgery should always be a last resort, a last option. If there is any other noninvasive way to resolve a condition prior to altering the structure of the human body, it should probably be explored. Chiropractic works!
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Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
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