The Problems With Spinal Surgery

The spine is a very complicated mechanical structure compared to other parts of the human body. There are 24 movable vertebrae with three joints between each two vertebral units. In addition, the central and peripheral nervous systems run through the spinal column and are subject to multiple forms of severe compromise if there are problems with the structure of the spine and surrounding soft tissues. The opportunities for spinal surgery to hurt these delicate structures are abundant.

Sometimes back surgery is performed successfully, but the patient develops scar tissue during the healing process. This scar tissue can become as irritating to the nerves as the original disc condition that necessitated the surgery in the first place. The term applied to this situation is Failed Surgery Syndrome. Other life-threatening problems that may occur from surgery include reactions to anesthesia and potential infection.

Does that mean that no one should undergo spinal surgery? No! It means that surgery is the last drastic measure that someone should take in resolving a herniated or degenerative disc condition. And, while many in the medical community still do not understand the safety, and effectiveness of Non-surgical Spinal Decompression, it still represents the best solution for those suffering with severe problems that have failed to respond to chiropractic or physical therapy.

Facts About Spinal Surgery

Here are some interesting statistics from noted authorities in the field:

  • 1. 80,000 new cases of failed back surgeries per year in the US.
    Ragab A and Deshazo RD, Management of back pain in patients with previous back surgery, The American Journal of Medicine, 2008; 121:272-8.
  • 2. 19% reoperation rate
    Ragab A and Deshazo RD, Management of back pain in patients with previous back surgery, The American Journal of Medicine, 2008; 121:272-8.
  • 3. 71% to 95% of lumbar fusion patients will never return to work.
    Berger E. Later postoperative results in 1000 work-related lumbar spine conditions. Surg. Neurol 2000 Aug:54 (2)101-6.
  • 4. Up to 90% of these surgeries are now deemed unnecessary
    Widen, M. “Back specialists are discouraging the use of surgery.” American Academy of Pain Medicine, 17th annual meeting, Miami Beach, Fl. Feb. 14-18, 2001

All too often patients suffering from spinal pain are encouraged to undergo a spinal surgery to resolve their problem. Frustrated by unrelenting pain, the need to recover so as to resume normal life activities such as work, home responsibilities, leisure activities, and to simply be able to maintain relationships, patients will often see surgery as their only hope and solution to their spinal problem. Unfortunately, more often than not, the surgery leaves the patient in worse condition than before the surgery.

Poster back surgery