In our Yakima practice, we see many people who are dealing with back pain, and a few of these patients have been informed they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Covington has helped many people get relief without the need for any type of surgery. The scientific literature agrees with the results we see in our practice. One medical study published in the journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first move in dealing with your back pain may actually keep you off of the operating table.
In this study, medical experts from Dartmouth reviewed statistics from about 1,900 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractor for their back pain issues. They then examined three years' worth of follow-up medical data to determine whether the patients wound up having back surgery in an effort to correct the issue.
What the authors discovered was that 42.7% of the people who first consulted with a surgeon for their back issues ended up in surgery in that 3-year time span, whereas only 1.5 percent of those who first consulted with 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 remarkable findings. Visiting a chiropractor significantly reduces your odds of having back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this study "had lower odds of chronic work disability" and they also had fewer expensive MRI tests.
Let's also take note this important detail: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most distinguished medical publication on spinal injury.
Any surgery has risks, but a serious downside related to spinal surgery is that there's 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%."
"It is extremely difficult to identify unequivocal predictor factors that can be used to accurately predict the outcome of surgery."
As a chiropractor, Dr. Covington 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 risky surgery or drugs--and many research studies have documented the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Yakima and you need care for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (509) 895-7535 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!