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Neck or Back Surgery: Solving one problem but causing another!


The treatment of neck or back pain should follow a very simple rule. Always go with the most conservative option first and if that fails then move on to the next option. When considering your treatment options, I recommend chiropractic first, medications second, and surgery third. Why undergo unnecessary surgery if chiropractic can fix the problem. Chiropractic is not only less invasive but more cost effective as well.

However, I have several patients that come to my office AFTER they’ve undergone cervical (neck) or lumbar (low back) surgery. Studies have shown that cervical fusions have a higher success rate that lumbar fusions. Unfortunately, many patients receive little to no relief following lumbar surgery. The patients that do receive benefit from lumbar surgery will sometimes experience low back pain within the first 2 years following surgery. (Google "failed back surgery syndrome").

There are several types of spinal surgery including discectomy, laminectomy, and fusion. The most common procedure that I see in my office is the fusion. Spinal fusion involves the insertion of screws and plates to hold the vertebrae in place while the spine fusion heals.

So why do patients experience pain following these corrective surgical procedures? The short and simple answer: compensation. The segment that was fused is like a brick wall, completely solid…NOT moving. However, you still have to turn your head or bend at the waist. So how are you able to maintain the ranges of motion in your neck or low back following spinal fusion? Compensation!

Now that you have a fused segment, the joints above the fusion and the joints below the fusion must work overtime. This allows you to maintain those ranges of motion. However, there’s a price to pay for working overtime and those segments will degenerate faster due to the extra stress. The fusion “fixed” one segment, but now has caused issues with additional segments.

So now what? You’ve had surgery and you continue to suffer from neck or low back pain. Most people are hesitant to see a chiropractor because they’ve had surgery. I completely understand those concerns, but chiropractic does wonders for these patients. Remember, the fused segment is like a brick wall, NOT moving. Furthermore, the chiropractic care would NOT be delivered to the fused segment. The chiropractic care is directed at the segments above and the segments below the fusion. This treatment will reduce the chances of degeneration in those areas of the spine.

Don’t let failed back surgery keep you from living a pain-free life. I have treated hundreds of post-surgical patients with success. Chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment option for both pre-and post-surgery aches and pain.  Call today and schedule your FREE consultation. I will be happy to discuss any questions you may have regarding your symptoms. 615-645-9994

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