12.08.10

Back Surgery? Not So Fast!

Posted in Disc Data at 9:18 PM by Dr. Greathouse

Recently a patient and I discussed his back problem. He has a low back disc herniation that responds well to mechanical therapy. He remarked about a friend who recently had injection therapy, which helped his radiating leg pain. He wanted to know how long that would last. Obviously nobody really knows the answer to that question, everybody is different. The patient said the injection was reportedly very painful and for that reason he would opt for laser back surgery if he had to go beyond my form of care. He explained he has discussed the issue with a few people who heard of great results with laser surgery.. As with anything else in health care, you cannot base your decision on 
a survey done with just a few people. Science has statistics out there and 
they aren’t that great for any form of treatment of low back or neck pain. So, the last thing you want to do is pick one of the most expensive and 
one that is invasive, unless the diagnosis absolutely matches the treatment. And there in lies the problem; 85% of all back problems have no valid 
or reliable diagnosis. I mentioned the lack of specificity of CT Scans 
and MRI’s and the patient remarked that a local orthopedist calls MRI findings 
”MRLies” because of the lack of specificity. These diagnostic studies 
are very sensitive, as a matter of fact many times they reveal a 
multitude of abnormalities that science can’t reliably confirm are related to your back or neck complaints. Fact: Just because a disc 
herniation is present doesn’t mean that’s the cause of your problem (non-specific). Reliable studies show that a relatively high percentage of people have disc herniations but have no symptoms at all.Fact: A very high percentage of spinal disc herniations with leg or 
arm symptoms respond favorably to conservative non-surgical care. With 
a proper mechanical evaluation this can be ascertained quickly. A 
mechanical assessment that points to a more specific diagnosis/ subgrouping has a high positive outcome prognosis. Fact: Cost for back care is astronomical in the United States, 
approaching 100 billion per year but the outcomes are not getting better, they are worse! So don’t let anybody fool ya’. High tech hasn’t improved a thing in the overall 
scope of things either. Unless you have progressive nerve damage or intractable pain, don’t have back surgery until you’ve exhausted conservative care. Fact: There’s much higher potential for significant adverse side affects with surgery as compared to conservative mechanical therapy.Fact: Cost…. Mechanical therapy is significantly less expensive
Disc herniations are reducible by means of mechanical therapy! Even large disc herniations! For more info on Valid & Reliable conservative back care go to my website: Website: http://greathousechiropractic.com/ Look under Disc Herniation Care. Also check out the section on McKenzie.
Jim Greathouse, D.C.

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