Do I Need Surgery to Find Relief from Low Back Pain?
Despite how common low back pain is (most likely 8 out of 10 people will experience low back pain at some point in their life), surgery is not as necessary as is typically thought. In fact, where you go for your care might actually determine whether or not you end up under the knife. In a study released in Spine in December 2012, 42.7% of injured workers who first saw an orthopedic surgeon underwent surgery within three years. A mere 1.5% of injured workers who first saw a chiropractor had surgery. When comparing the cost alone of these two avenues of care, chiropractic care far outweighs the prospect of surgical intervention. (1)
What Causes Low Back Pain?
Most low back pain is similar to neck pain in that it is typically caused by a disc derangement. A disc derangement is an injury that occurs to a disc wherein the central portion of the disc (the nucleus pulposus) pushes out of its anatomical position through the outside portion of the disc (the annulus fibrosus). Once the nucleus reaches the outer portion of the annulus, we begin to feel pain. When this occurs in the low back, symptoms can remain solely across the lumbar spine, or radiate into the buttocks, thighs, legs, and feet.
What if Low Back Pain treatment does not work for me?
The McKenzie Method of mechanical diagnosis and treatment is one of the most renowned methods for treating mechanical low back pain, and is the method utilized at Triangle Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Center in Raleigh, NC. Even if this method is not effective for your individual case, it is certainly more cost effective than immediately seeking the attention of a surgeon. Without mechanical diagnosis and treatment, practitioners (and patients) tend to seek evidence of a disc derangement through advanced imaging such as an MRI. MRI is valuable in some cases, but a recent study concluded that early unnecessary MRI led to worse outcomes for patients. (2)
Before rushing to a surgeon or verifying with your insurance company if an MRI is covered, seek conservative manual therapy to address your low back pain – even severe low back pain with radiation into the legs and feet. Studies suggest conservative care is an effective and cost-effective method for the treatment of lumbar disc derangement and low back pain in general.
Contact us today at our Raleigh, NC office so we can help you.
1. Keeney BJ, Fulton-Kehoe D, Turner JA, et al. Early predictors of lumbar spine surgery after occupational back injury: results from a prospective study of workers in Washington state.Spine, Dec. 12, 2012 (epub ahead of print).
2. Webster B. and Cifuentes M. Relationship of Early Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Work-Related Acute Low Back Pain With Disability and Medical Utilization Outcomes. JOEM • Volume 52, Number 9, September 2010