Juneau, AK chiropractic back pain treatmentIn our Juneau, AK office, we see plenty of people who are suffering from back pain, and a few of these folks have been told they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Messerschmidt has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of operation. The science confirms the success we see in our office. One medical study published in the academic journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first step in overcoming with your back issues may literally keep you off of the operating table.

In this report, medical experts from Dartmouth reviewed data from 1,885 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their back pain issues. They then used three years' worth of follow-up medical data to ascertain whether the individuals wound up having back surgery in an effort to correct the problem.

What the authors observed was that 42.7% of the people who first consulted with a surgeon for their back issues ended up with 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 impressive outcomes. Consulting with a chiropractor dramatically reduces your odds of getting back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this report "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 carried out by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most distinguished medical publication on spinal injuries.

The Problems with Surgery

Any surgical procedure has risks, but a serious downside linked to spinal surgery is that there's a very high rate of failure. 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. Messerschmidt believes that surgery should be the absolute last resort for treating back pain. Chiropractic care works to restore your spine to its normal function--without the need of high-risk surgery or drugs--and many studies have documented the usefulness of chiropractic for back pain.

If you live in Juneau, AK and you need relief for your back pain, give our office a call today at (907) 789-1344 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!

Studies

  • Keeney BJ, Fulton-Kehoe D, Turner JA, Wickizer TM, Chan KC, Franklin GM. Early predictors of lumbar spine surgery after occupational back injury: results from a prospective study of workers in Washington State. Spine 2013;38(11):953-964.
  • Mannion AF, Elfering A. Predictors of surgical outcome and their assessment. European Spine Journal 2006;15(Suppl 1):S93-S108.
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