Why Spine Surgery Should be a Last Resort for Disc Disorders
July 7, 2014 — 19:01

Author: Dr. Griffith  Category: Non-Surgical Solutions to Back and Neck Pain  Tags: , ,   Comments: 1

Physiotherapist explaining the spineIn a June 20th article, Florida’s Tampa Bay Times reported how leading medical insurance companies are limiting the circumstances under which they will authorize certain types of spine surgery. The report also details the reasons insurance companies are clamping down. What’s revealed is that one major health insurer carried out a study on its members who had undergone spinal fusion surgery to alleviate lower back pain caused by wear and tear on spinal discs.

Surgery Often Not the Answer for Disc Deterioration

According to the study, a staggering 87% of customers who had undergone the surgery were still using medication or therapy to relieve lower back pain – Two years after the surgical procedures were completed. Moreover, 15% of these customers underwent further subsequent surgery. The Tampa Bay Times article also reveals that even Medicare auditors have expressed dissatisfaction about money being “improperly spent” on lumbar spinal fusions.

The reason for highlighting this article is because it illustrates how common it’s become for us to turn to surgery in treating lower back pain long before the need for a procedure is proven. It also serves to remind us how often surgery fails to relieve the pain and misery that can be caused by degenerative disc disease, bulging and herniated discs or age related disc disorders.

With such a poor success rate, this alone should remind us of the need to relegate surgical treatment to the bottom of the list of spinal back treatment options. If this alone isn’t sufficient reason though, here are four more reasons why spine surgery should only be considered when all else has failed to resolve your back problems.

Reason #2: Surgery is Rarely Necessary

Very often, spinal disc problems resulting from degeneration settle down as the body adjusts. Of course this may take a few months which is a long time when you are in pain. However, by undergoing conservative treatment to alleviate pain and help stabilize the spine, it’s possible to live life normally and to reduce the healing time. This is surely a preferable option to receiving surgical treatment which has no guarantee of being successful.

Reason #3: Successful Surgery May Offer Only Temporary Relief

It’s my guess that if you elect to have spine surgery, your expectation of such a drastic and invasive form of treatment for sciatica pain or lower back pain will resolve the problem for good. Often though, that’s sadly not the case. There are a number of possible reasons for this. For example, if you have degenerative disc disease, a surgical procedure may fix the disc which is causing you pain and after recovering from surgery you may feel great. However the very nature of a degenerative disorder means that the same disc or others will continue to degenerate. At some point the degeneration can cause inflammation and/or nerve irritation to commence once more, taking you back to square one. Furthermore, depending on the nature of your surgery, healthy discs may come under a lot more stress as a result of the procedure. This can cause degeneration to occur much faster than if you had avoided surgery.

Reason #4: Spine Surgery is Risky

Having surgical treatment on your spine is certainly not something to be taken lightly. The risks are greater than in many other forms of surgery. The risks inherent in invasive back surgery include:

  • Spinal fluid leaks – The sac of fluid protecting the spinal cord can easily be torn
  • Spinal nerve damage – Spine surgery is performed in very close proximity to the nerves
  • Spinal infections – Particularly if hardware is used, such as in a spinal fusion
  • Bone graft or hardware rejection

All of these spine surgery complications can have serious consequences, meaning invasive procedures should definitely be considered only when absolutely necessary, rather than an elective treatment.

Reason #5: Conservative Treatment is More Effective

Now is a good point at which to ask the following question:

Would you rather have spine surgery, only to find it ineffective and then turn to further surgery or other treatments for your continuing lower back pain; or would you rather receive treatment which is known to be more effective than surgery in the first place, electing only to undergo surgery if the conservative treatments fail?

I think I can guess your answer. However, if you have already been undergoing chiropractic care or other conservative treatments and have still found no respite from your spine or disc disorder, there are two more forms of treatment you can try which are safe and proven to deliver results.

Deep Tissue Laser Treatment and Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression

At Orange County Wellness Physicians Medical Center, we are at the forefront of non-surgical treatments for spine and disc disorders. Our class 4 deep laser therapy and non-surgical spinal decompression treatments offer a higher success rate than surgery in treating degenerative disc disorders, spinal stenosis and bulging or herniated discs. Furthermore these treatments are safe and side-effect free.

Before you elect to have spine surgery, why not consult with us and find out how we can help you to avoid invasive treatment? Just call us on (888) 513-3472. To find out more about why spine surgery should be your last resort, you can access a free report by completing the simple form on our website home page.