07.24.2019 / Uncategorized

Risks and Harms of Back Surgery

In recent years, the number of back surgeries being performed in America has skyrocketed. You might infer from this increase that these procedures were highly successful and one of the best ways to resolve back pain. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

As a chiropractor, I’m not an advocate of back surgery. I believe there are a multitude of other effective, non-invasive treatment methods you should try before resorting to surgery. Today, I’m going to discuss just a few of the risks of undergoing back surgery.

Surgery Success Rate. What many patients don’t realize when considering back surgery is that it usually fails to fix the problem. For example, it’s believed that spinal fusion surgery works between 25% and 50% of the time. That means it’s more likely that getting invasive surgery done will not resolve your issues.

There are a few reasons back surgery is not often successful. Your “back” is composed of many different elements the bones of the spine, discs, nerves, muscles, and ligaments. Any one of these could be the root cause of your pain. If your surgery doesn’t address the actual root of that pain, it can’t be successful in the long term.

Opioid Addiction. Surgeries are ultimately meant to relieve pain, but the procedures themselves actually cause a lot of pain during the recovery period. Doctors often prescribe strong pain relievers to help patients cope. The trouble is, often those medications are addictive.

Prescription opioid pain medication has been the cause of an addiction epidemic in America over the last couple of decades. Since back surgeries often do not succeed at relieving pain, patients can end up staying on a pain management regimen for years after the surgery.

Doctors also tend to over-prescribe these heroin-like substances to patients, who can get hooked very easily. Getting off of opioids is no easy task, and addiction can turn into a life-long struggle.

Expenses. Not only is back surgery not effective, it’s extremely expensive. Spinal surgeries can cost up to $150,000 depending on the procedure being performed. In addition, patients must consider the fact that recovery will include addition costs, including follow-up doctor visits and working with a physical therapist. You will also have to take time off work, resulting in lost wages or wasted vacation time.

The Vicious Cycle. There is a typical cycle that leads to the decision to undergo surgery. A person experiences back pain. As it worsens, they attempt to manage their condition with over-the-counter pain relievers. Those don’t do the trick, so they see a doctor. The doctor prescribes stronger medication and treatments to manage their pain, but the root cause of their back issues still remains untreated. Their pain eventually gets so unbearable that surgery is recommended.

Then, once a patient has had the surgery, they spend months recovering only to realize that they are still experiencing persistent pain. They continue to take medication to control their symptoms, all while the root of their condition worsens. Do you see how this is a horrible cycle to be in? This method of treatment just doesn’t work.

But, there’s a better way. I help patients find permanent relief without surgery or drugs. Chiropractic medicine harnesses the natural power of the human body to heal itself from the inside out. It’s proven to be one of the most effective and economical solutions for back pain, as well as many other chronic conditions.

If you think chiropractic care could help you, reach out to Oakland Spine today. We’re passionate about helping people just like you get their lives back without the risks of surgery.