From Dr. Waldron: Considering back surgery? Read this first

Surgery fact

As someone who promotes the body’s innate ability to heal itself, it’s hard for me to watch television these days.

The number of advertisements promoting a pill for every possible malady we may face is ludicrous. It’s as if we as a society have totally thrown in the towel to the pharmaceutical companies. And then there are the ads for “minimally invasive” back surgery. Trust me when I say that there is nothing “minimal” about having a surgeon cut into your spine.

Don’t get me wrong — there is a time and place for both drugs and surgery. Emergency medicine works wonder to save lives and I am in awe of those health care providers who do that work. But I believe that our nation would be much healthier if patients were prescribed non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical treatments for pain management and health enhancement BEFORE moving on to other options.

Here are the facts:

– Numerous recent studies have clearly shown the dangerous over-reliance in the U.S. on prescription painkillers that simply mask pain, but do not cure. This has tremendously increased Americans’ risk for overuse and abuse of these drugs if taken for long periods, leading to over 17,000 related deaths in 2010 (more than heroin and cocaine combined). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the abuse of prescription pain medications an “epidemic.”

– Recent reports question the overuse–and in some cases effectiveness–of more invasive treatments such as spinal fusion surgery and spinal steroid injections for back pain. It makes sense for patients to exhaust more conservative options before undergoing these costly procedures. For example, a recent study based on Washington state workers found that only 1.5 percent of those who visited a doctor of chiropractic first for work-related back pain later had surgery, compared to 42.7 percent of those who saw a surgeon first. Conservative care offers safe and effective (as well as cost-effective) ways to reduce pain and muscle spasms. A 2012 study found that spinal manipulation for neck and back pain was cost-effective used either alone or combined with other therapies.

– Doctors of Chiropractic are the highest-rated health care practitioner for low-back pain treatments with their patient-centered, whole person approach that provides greater interaction and listening for appropriate diagnosis and developing more cost-effective treatment planning.

When weighing your health care choices, remember that chiropractic treatment is a much more safe and cost-effective option for back and neck pain, and it may reduce the need for unnecessary drugs and surgery.

Want to learn more about conservative treatment options? Call our office today at 425-778-9600 to schedule an appointment

— Dr. Matthew Waldron

 

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