Is Spine Surgery your Best Option?
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Short answer: In most cases, NO.
Of course, there's a time and place. And thank goodness for the newer technologies to help as a last resort when needed. But for most people, resorting to surgery should NOT be the first, or second, or third... etc.. option.
Which, is supported by the research,
and, as I've found out from talking with hundreds of people in this position...
also aligns with your intuition.
You've checked off the list:
Hasn't gotten better over time
Ibuprofen just wasn't doing the trick anymore
Those stretches the PT gave you aren't working
Your family doc referred you over to get Xrays
'Nothings wrong! A little degeneration. So we should get an MRI, just to make sure'
MRI shows some disc issues.
Let's start with an injection. This should numb things up. Come back in 3 months.
3 sets of injections, and the pain is still there.
Let's get some more imaging
And talk about surgery.
I've heard it, countless times from people I've met out in the community, as well as those who have come into my office.
For good reason, as 80+% of the population will experience chronic back pain at some point in life, and is the #1 reason for occupational injury and disability.
Unfortunately, this is the process that so many go through. Not only do these measly processes rarely produce positive results at the beginning to get an individual better... but it prolongs the actual healing process and people are left in no better condition than when they started seeking 'treatment'. From a conventional standpoint, there's no true direction to help a person understand what's causing the issues, and more importantly, what can be done to correct them without drugs or surgery.
No clear answers.
Yes, they may receive 'treatment', but they don't receive CORRECTION, HEALING, AND RESOLUTION.
-Dr. Justin Lee D.C
There is a vast difference between treating symptoms... and correcting CAUSES.
By treating the cause of any issue, the underlying issue can be corrected, and the body will function better, and ultimately heal. Simply put, this is how you actually get healthy.
Of course, there is a time and place for surgery and other procedures (yes, it had to be repeated). In a life saving emergency, and when there is considerable damage and ALL other options have been exhausted. These are the moments where, thank God, we do have emergency medicine and the best specialists on the planet, with the best technology. I have friends and colleagues that work in this industry, and I'm so grateful for many of the amazing things they do.
But, drugs and surgery are not the first and only option for most. And it should not be touted as the gold standard in addressing spine dysfunction and pain.
Spine Fusion Surgery: The Verdict
According to Dr. Ian Harris, a world renowned orthopedic surgeon, professor, and researcher; "There is very little evidence that spine fusion surgery for back pain is effective. It is quite expensive, often leads to complications, often requires further surgery, is associated with increased mortality, and often does not even result in the spine being fused."
"Millions of people have had spine fusions for back pain, and I am not at all convinced that the benefits of this surgery outweighs the considerable harm."