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Surgery & Painkillers: Effective at treating back pain?

There are nearly 30 million adults in America suffering from back problems spending nearly $31 billion on treatments for back pain. Treatments range from physical therapy and chiropractic care to painkillers and back surgery. Despite being a huge decision with potentially costly consequences, back surgery has been adopted by many as the first line of defense against back pain. More studies and various news reports have been conducted in response to a growing number of patients seeking out doctors for this specific concern.

“From 2001 to 2011, the number of spinal fusions in U.S. hospitals increased 70 percent, making them more frequently performed than even hip replacements.”

Recent scientific papers and news articles are discovering that most back surgeries are less successful than the public is aware of. According to a study published in the Spine journal in 2011, patients of spinal fusion surgeries were just as likely (or less likely) to experience reduced pain and return to work as patients who avoided the operation entirely. Moreover, these surgeries resulted in higher usage of opioid painkillers when recovery from a spinal fusion surgery.

Though many argue the various pros and cons of back surgery, the most common complaint by patients is the lack of relief following a surgery. Research shows that this isn’t generally a failure of the surgery, but rather a failure to properly diagnose what is causing the pain. Regardless of how well the operation went, it may not have been the best method to correct the chronic pain the patient suffers from. Worst case scenario, the surgery fails to address the patient’s concerns while also adding the added stress of hospitalization, drugs and recovery time.

Employing Alternative Methods First: Back Pain Relief

At Coffman Chiropractic, we advise patients to follow the following advice before jumping into a large medical commitment such as a full surgery:

Ask questions, seek information and evaluate what you are being told – Be specific to get the right answers. Get all of the information before weighing options. Informed and educated decisions reduce the margin of error.

Seek a second opinion – Don’t lean on one doctor to make the decision for surgery. Get another doctor to confirm the diagnosis and treatment. There could be conflicting opinions. Don’t settle for the one “and only” option.

Try alternative pain relief methods first – Chiropractic care, physical therapy and other alternative treatments can be extremely effective in certain scenarios. Many patients suffering from back pain find alternative methods to treat back problems without the need for surgery or painkillers.

Remember, back pain is on the rise and so are the methods for combating this growing affliction. Speak with multiple experts, weight options and employ alternative treatments before jumping into an operating room. Dr. Brent Coffman can be the first step into better understanding your back pain and how best to reduce it. Seeking Back Pain Relief in Camarillo? Contact us today.