What To Do If My Chiropractor or Doctor Says I Need Surgery
It has come to my attention that there are numerous chiropractors in the Greenville NC area that refuse to treat or touch patients. Then recommend the same patients for surgery. While it is not unreasonable for a chiropractor to refer a severe case out to a surgeon. It seems to be happening with alarming frequency. This is based on the people I meet in town and the relative rarity in which patients require surgery. It’s upsetting the number of times that the people I have talked to have expressed their initial desire to avoid surgery. This can be for their neck pain, low back pain or sciatica. It’s frustrating especially when the chiropractor they’ve seen refuse to even touch them.
On more than one occasion this has happened. So often in fact that when the conversation turns towards chiropractic with new people I meet, more than half of them have indicated to me that this has happened to them!
I do not claim to know more about the health of numerous people I’ve talked to in Greenville whose chiropractor refused to treat and instead referred immediately for surgery. I did not do an exam on these patients. However, for those of you who don’t know, chiropractors and medical doctors included, low back surgery or neck surgery for low back pain, neck pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, disc herniation, disc bulge, etc. is almost NEVER the first option for treatment. Even insurance companies typically recommend a minimum of six weeks of conservative chiropractic care before a surgical consult is considered. Why, because they know that conservative care is more effective, safer and costs less than back surgery. Also, as most surgeons will tell you, once you’ve had one back or neck surgery, it’s only a matter of time before your follow-up surgery.
Current research even shows that patients are more likely to get better by doing NOTHING than having back surgery. Low back surgery or neck surgery is only for EMERGENCY situations or as a LAST option, not first. If you’ve attempted to alleviate or correct the pain you’re having from a disc bulge, disc herniation, stenosis, degenerative disc disease, facet syndrome, degenerative joint disease, some spinal fractures (yes you heard that right) and nothing has helped then you may want to consider surgery if the symptoms are not manageable.
Here’s Why It’s So Concerning.
The inherent safety of chiropractic is substantial and arguably one of the safest healthcare procedures in the world. As such, there are very few situations in which refusing to treat a patient with chiropractic is necessary.
The frequency in which I randomly run into people with this story has no logical explanation. Outside of the fact that there are far too many patients with non-surgical problems being directed towards low back surgery or neck surgery by a pain based traditional chiropractor or medical doctors unaware or incapable of identifying or correcting the problem causing their symptoms. Not surprising given the number of pain based chiropractors both in Greenville, NC as well as nationwide. Structurally focused chiropractors likely make up less than 5% of all chiropractors in the U.S. As a result traditional chiropractors or medical doctors will often send the severe back pain, sciatica, and disc bulge injuries out for low back surgery or neck surgery. Primarily because they don’t know what else to do for these patients.
There is nothing wrong with traditional chiropractic if getting rid of pain is your only concern. However, for the more severe cases, traditional pain based chiropractic care is often not enough to actual make any improvements in the patient’s pain and symptoms. In these severe cases, it is important to realize that surgery is NOT the immediate next step. Back surgery will not fix the underlying issue(s). Back surgery does not guarantee a reduction of or even any relief of symptoms. In fact, it is so common for low back surgery patients’ symptoms to not get better or even worse that there are at least two diagnoses for different kinds of failed back surgery syndromes.
What Should I Do If a Chiropractor or Any Doctor Recommends Back Surgery or Neck Surgery?
Get another opinion. Low back surgery or neck surgery is a BIG DEAL! This is important! I’m not saying that surgery is never an option but it is SIGNIFICANTLY OVER-UTILIZED. If you’re considering back surgery or neck surgery there are some things you need to know.
Your spine will NEVER be normal again. EVER! This is not an opinion. It’s a fact.
Back surgery or neck surgery will forever disfigure your spine. Do not take this decision lightly. Make sure you make an effort to find a knowledgeable structurally based chiropractor. One that will do a very thorough exam and full spine x-rays to evaluate the alignment and structure of the full spine. Back surgery or neck surgery often fuses two or more vertebrae together forever. These surgeries prevent spines from being corrected towards its normal alignment.
While not all abnormal spines can be made normal, structurally focused chiropractors are often capable of making significant structural changes to the spine. This change is back towards its normal and ideal alignment resulting in life changing improvements. With surgery, even in the best case scenario in which the symptoms reduce momentarily, those unmovable segments ensure that your spine will erode and decay at an accelerated rate. This spinal degeneration that happened from structural abnormalities and causing low back pain, sciatica, etc. cannot be corrected with surgery.
Refer back to Step #1