Past Articles

Back Pain Surgery Leads to Spinal Condition

Highlighting the need to explore non-invasive treatment alternatives for back pain such as chiropractic care, medical researchers have concluded that a common surgical procedure designed to relieve back pain, instead exposes patients to a 29 percent greater risk of developing a degenerative spinal condition. The study, conducted in Nantong, China, examined the medical histories of over 35,000 back-pain surgery patients who underwent a spinal fusion to relieve the pain. After the procedure, 29 percent of the patients developed adjacent segment degeneration (or ASD), a long-term degenerative condition of the spine. ADS patients often experience new back problems and pain symptoms to previously non-injured vertebrae. In a spinal fusion, a surgeon fuses faulty vertebrae together with supplementary bone tissue to immobilize the area and relieve pain. After a spinal fusion, patients are unable to move the fused vertebrae, which forces intervertebral joints above and below the surgery site to do double duty to make up for the now-immovable portion of the spine. The researchers concluded that the extra wear and tear on these vertebrae results in the degenerative condition. They also recommended that patients explore alternatives to surgery, including chiropractic care, before consulting a surgeon.

Source: Spine. April 1, 2013 - Volume 38 - Issue 7 - p 597608.