In our Fairfax practice, we see a lot of patients who are dealing with back pain, and a few of these patients have been informed they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Zapf has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of operation. The science agrees with the results we see in our practice. One research study published in the journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first move in overcoming with your back problems may literally keep you off of the operating table.
In this report, medical professionals from Dartmouth reviewed statistics from 1,885 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their back-related issues. They then looked at three years' worth of follow-up medical data to determine whether the individuals wound up having back surgery in an effort to treat the problem.
What the authors discovered was that 42.7% of the individuals who first consulted with a surgeon for their back problems 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 remarkable outcomes. Visiting a chiropractor drastically reduces your odds of getting back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this scientific study "had lower odds of chronic work disability" and they also had fewer expensive MRI tests.
Let's also take note this important point: this study was conducted by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most influential medical publication on spinal injuries.
Any surgical procedure has risks, but a serious downside associated with spinal surgery is that there's a very high rate of failure. 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%."
"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 studies have established the usefulness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Fairfax and you need relief 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!