In our Anchorage practice, we see a large number of people who are suffering from back pain, and some of these folks have been told they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Dr. Matthisen has helped many people get relief without the need for any type of surgical treatment. The science agrees with the success we see in our practice. One study published in the journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first step in overcoming with your back pain may literally keep you out of the operating room.
In this study, medical professionals from Dartmouth reviewed statistics from 1,885 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractic doctor for their low back issues. They then used three years' worth of follow-up medical data to find out whether the individuals ended up having back surgery in an attempt to correct the problem.
What the authors discovered was that about 43% of the people who first saw a surgeon for their back problems ended up having a surgical procedure in that 3-year time frame, whereas only 1.5 percent of those who first saw 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 results. Visiting a chiropractor dramatically reduces your odds of getting 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 consider this important point: this study was performed by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and published in the world's most influential medical journal on spinal injuries.
Why You Should Avoid Surgery
Any surgery has risks, but a major downside related to spine surgery is that there is a very high failure rate. In an important analysis 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%."
The authors of this same study concluded:
"It is extremely difficult to identify unequivocal predictor factors that can be used to accurately predict the outcome of surgery."
As a chiropractor, Dr. Matthisen 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 high-risk surgery or drugs--and many research studies have established the efficacy of chiropractic for back pain.
If you live in Anchorage and you need care for your back pain, give our practice a call today at (907) 349-4212 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!