Chiropractic Treatment Reduces Need For Spinal Surgery
Around 30,000 Canadians have some type of spinal surgery each year. The most common reason is for disc related pain. However, decades of statistics show that many more people receive surgery than really need it. Often, patients are unaware that other procedures may be as effective and less invasive than surgery. A study from late last year in the British Medical Journal showed that patients who were treated with spinal manipulation by a chiropractor were less likely to need surgery than those who received other treatment. For the study, patients who had a serious indication for surgery (severe weakness in the leg or loss of bowel/bladder control) were eliminated and given the urgent surgery they needed. Other less acutely injured patients either received spinal manipulation from a chiropractor or some other form of “medical treatment.” The chiropractor was allowed to use the spinal treatment he or she felt would be effective. These included typical chiropractic adjustments, decompression, mobilization or stretching. At both one and two years after being included in the study, fewer of the chiropractic patients opted for surgery than those who received other treatments. In the second year, the number of people needing surgery in the chiropractic group were even lower than in the first. This study is significant because it adds to the research around the benefits of chiropractic. There will always be some patients who benefit from surgery more than chiropractic, but nearly 80% of patients benefit from a conservative approach over surgery. Also, delaying the surgery does not lead to any longer term loss for the patient . And it seems that a conservative type of treatment like chiropractic helps to identify those that really do need surgery.
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