Doctors' Choice Physical Medicine

Why Spinal Surgery is a Bad Idea

There is always a risk of injury involved in spinal surgery.  All it takes the smallest mistake to permanently paralyze a healthy individual, a fact that any doctor will attest.  Long-term outcomes leave a lot to be desired.  Statistically weather you have spinal surgery or not you will feel the same in 18 to 24 months.  However, that is not to say spinal surgery should never be performed.

Almost 80% of the people in the country will complain about lower back pain at some point in their lives. More work days are missed because of spinal pain than any other sort of ailment. This also places it as one of the most common causes of disabilities right after cardiovascular disease.

However, most people would rather seek the services of chiropractic physicians than their family doctor. Doctors usually prescribe numbing medication, spinal shots (epidural) or painful surgical procedures like spinal surgery for patients who complain of repetitive chronic pain. But that is hardly a permanent solution and also involves a great deal of risks.  You should always start with conservative care like chiropractic and physical therapy.  These treatments have the highest patient satisfaction ratings and are the most cost effective; some studies are finding up to 40% less costly than traditional medical care.

Spinal Surgery: What can go Wrong:

Transitional Syndrome

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the spine has to do with its behavior. Your spine behaves like a chain of repeated segments. Each of the individual segments works as a whole to share the workload that is involved in moving the body by sharing the load along the spinal column. In other words the stress that is imposed on the spine during the movement is shared amongst the segments.

However such a process can only happen seamlessly when the spine is healthy. When one or more of the segments doesn’t work as they should their neighboring segments have to pick up the slack and work harder. The segment that is closest to the dysfunctional one gets most of the stress. This means that the area near where the spinal surgery was performed takes on more stress.  This is what is known as transitional syndrome since it occurs due to the transition of a healthy area of the spine to the fused area.

General practitioners and even orthopedic surgeons can never claim to know what causes pain in the back. To them, complex procedures like spinal surgery appear as handy default treatments. This is not to mention the disastrous residual pain that is caused by inappropriate surgery. Such a complication is more of a possibility after common spinal surgeries, such as laminectomies, in which a disc is removed to give the nerve near the central spinal cord more space to move, or fusion, in which a vertebra is surgically joined to another to restrict excess movement.

Spinal Surgery: Laser Spine Institute

Dr. Novatnak is a Preferred Provider for the Laser Spine Institute.  If you have exhausted all conservative measures (this means about 12 weeks of chiropractic and/or therapy) and you still have pain an epidural may be your nest consideration.  Along with the epidural you should continue the conservative therapy.  If that fails, you may be a surgical candidate.  If you are going to have surgery if possible you want Minimally Invasive Surgery because it preserves most of the spinal structures and muscles.

Dr. Novatnak is able to evaluate according to the Laser Spine Institute protocols and advise you on your choices of treatment.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Illu vertebral column.jpg