In our Burke office, we see a large number of patients who are dealing with back pain, and some of these folks have been told they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Zapf has helped many people get relief without the need for any type of surgery. The scientific research confirms the results we see in our practice. One medical study published in the academic journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first step in overcoming with your back problems may actually keep you off of the operating table.
In this scientific study, medical researchers from Dartmouth analyzed data from about 1,900 workers from Washington state who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractor for their back pain issues. They then used three years' worth of follow-up medical records to find out whether the subjects ended up having back surgery in an attempt to treat the issue.
What the authors found was that about 43% of the individuals who first saw a surgeon for their back pain 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 results. Visiting a chiropractor significantly reduces 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 take into consideration this important point: this study was conducted by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most influential medical journal on spinal injuries.
Surgery: The Last Resort
Any surgery has risks, but a major downside linked to spine surgery is that there's a very high failure rate. In an important analysis 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. Zapf believes that surgery should be the absolute last resort for treating back pain. Chiropractic works to restore your spine to its normal function--without the need of risky surgery or drugs--and many scientific studies have documented the efficacy of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Burke and you need care for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (703) 455-9555 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!