Juneau, AK chiropractic back pain treatmentIn our Juneau, AK office, we see many patients who are struggling with back pain, and a few of these people have been advised they might need surgery to recover. Thankfully, Dr. Messerschmidt has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgical treatment. The scientific research agrees with the results we see in our practice. One study published in the medical journal Spine found that seeing a chiropractor as your first move in overcoming with your back pain may actually keep you out of the operating room.

In this scientific study, medical professionals from Dartmouth analyzed statistics from 1,885 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractor for their back-related issues. They then used three years' worth of follow-up medical records to ascertain whether the individuals wound up having back surgery in an attempt to correct the issue.

What the researchers observed was that 42.7% of the individuals who first consulted with a surgeon for their back problems ended up having a surgical procedure in that 3-year time frame, whereas only 1.5% of those who first saw 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 results. Visiting a chiropractor significantly decreases your odds of having 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 keep in mind this important point: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most distinguished medical journal on spinal injury.

Why You Should Avoid Surgery

Any surgical procedure has risks, but a serious downside associated with spinal surgery is that there is a very high failure rate. 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%."

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 works to restore your spine to its normal function--without the need of high-risk surgery or drugs--and many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.

If you live in Juneau, AK and you need relief for your back pain, give our practice 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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