The Truth About Back Surgery

When dealing with chronic back pain day in and day out, it’s normal to long for an easy fix. Over 500,000 Americans reportedly visit the operating room for major surgery each year. Back surgery is often one of the most prematurely recommended procedures for patients who haven’t fully exhausted conservative treatment options.

What is Spinal Stenosis?

As we get older, degeneration of vertebrae, discs, muscles and ligaments can occur, leading to spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of bone channels that house the spinal cord or spinal nerves. There are two types of spinal stenosis, lumbar and cervical. Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the nerve roots in the lower back become compressed leading to leg pain when walking, or tingling and numbness radiating from the lower back into the buttocks and down the legs. Cervical spinal stenosis is a potential compression of the spinal cord that can lead to serious problems including extreme weakness and even paralysis.

New Studies Encourage Physical Therapy

Back surgery can be one of the most invasive and expensive operative procedures. Critics argue back surgery is not the best solution for back pain because in many cases, it’s only a temporary fix at best. In addition, it can cause complications involving nerve damage and even more pain. One in five people who undergo back surgery will need another operation within a decade and while in certain cases surgery is necessary, it should not be the first treatment option for any patient. A recent controversial issue in healthcare, new studies suggest physical therapy can be just as effective as surgery, if not more effective, for the treatment of certain conditions including lumbar spinal stenosis. Physical-therapy based stretching and strengthening exercises are an excellent first choice for addressing back pain because they can help to prevent muscle atrophy.

How Can My Chiropractor Help?

Traditional chiropractic treatment options as well as new state-of-the-art techniques can help treat the underlying causes of back pain in patients seeking relief. Pain medications only help to remedy surface symptoms. Overused muscles are a commonly associated with back pain. Active Release Technique (ART), a soft tissue system-movement based massage technique, treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Back pain is one of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. If treatment of the underlying causes of back pain, whether it’s muscle atrophy or misalignment, is administered, patients can then work to prevent reoccurring injuries using corrective exercises and stretching.

In conclusion, surgery should be the very last resort and patients should understand the value to their overall physical wellness of exhausting all non-surgical treatment options. If you are experiencing any type of back pain, make an appointment with us at www.carolinaactivehealth.com/contact