Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chiropractic Adjustments versus Surgery

Most chiropractic doctors, myself included, use spinal adjustments or manipulation as our primary treatment tool.  We are, however, legally able (in California and other jurisdictions) to examine and treat almost all human illnesses so long as we do not prescribe drugs, perform surgery or otherwise puncture the skin. 

While some seek chiropractic treatment for general health purposes, in my practice, as in the majority, patients seek care for spine and related muscle and joint related pain and injury.  Although I offer treatments other than adjustments, virtually all are focused on managing pain, be it by hands-on treatment or prescribing an anti-inflammatory diet.

As stated on my website, chiropractic adjustments improve spinal joint mobility and increase pain tolerance.  There are also studies that suggest adjustments release chemicals that improve blood flow to the area that is treated, may release pain relieving chemicals and decrease circulating inflammatory chemicals, all without the side-effects of medications. (For more information, there are convenient links to my website, SpinePainSpecialists.com, on the right-hand side of this page as well as at the bottom of the page).

Given the nature of my practice and the reason patients typically consult with me, it makes sense to address one of the most common problems, spinal or back pain associated with disc herniation. 

Exciting new research concludes that chiropractic spinal adjustments are as beneficial as surgery for sciatica.  On top of that, the cost savings of chiropractic treatment versus surgery may be enormous.

If you are curious, keep reading.

Chiropractic Spinal Adjustments are as Beneficial as Surgery for Sciatica

A recent study concluded that chiropractic spinal manipulation was just as effective as a type of spine surgery (called microdiskectomy) for patients struggling with sciatica secondary to lumbar disk herniation. The 122 patients studied included people with sciatica symptoms for more than six months who had failed traditional, medical management. Overall, 60 percent of patients who received spinal manipulation benefited to the same degree as those who underwent surgery. 

"To our knowledge, this is the first, randomized trial that directly compared chiropractic spinal manipulation and back surgery, two popular treatment choices for this prevalent health condition," says Dr. Gordon McMorland, who co-authored the paper with neurosurgeons Steve Casha, MD, PhD, Stephan J. du Plessis, MD, and R. John Hubert, MD, PhD,. "Sciatica is a serious spinal condition that causes pain, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs. Many times when symptoms become debilitating and without further help, surgery is prescribed to alleviate discomfort. But surgery is not without financial and physical drawbacks." 

More than 200,000 microdiskectomies are performed every year in the United States, at a direct cost of $5 billion, or $25,000 per procedure. In this year-long study, patients either received an average of 21 chiropractic sessions over a year or a single microdiskectomy.  Both groups had six active rehabilitation sessions and a patient education program. Opting for chiropractic management of sciatica could save the US health care system well over $2.75 billion dollars each year if this study’s results helped reduce the number of spine surgeies. 

"After a year, no significant complications were seen in either treatment group, and the 60 percent patients who benefitted from spinal manipulation improved to the same degree as their surgical counterparts," says Dr. McMorland, who also points out that, "The 40 percent of patients who were not helped by manipulation did receive subsequent surgical intervention. These patients benefitted to the same degree as those that underwent surgery initially, suggesting there was no detrimental effect caused by delaying their surgical treatment." 

"Our research supports spinal manipulation performed by a doctor of chiropractic is a valuable and safe treatment option for those experiencing symptomatic lumbar disc herniation, failing traditional medical management. These individuals should consider spinal manipulation as a primary treatment, followed by surgery if unsuccessful." 

"Manipulation or Microdisketomy for Sciatica? A Prospective Randomized Clinical Study," (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, October 2010, Vol. 33 Iss. 8, p: 576-584).  Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/224957.php

If you, a family member or friend suffer from disc related sciatic pain, please contact my office to make an appointment for a consultation.  

562 424 4976 or SpineAndPainCare@gmail.com

No comments:

Post a Comment