The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Terence G. Brady
Brady Chiropractic 

Back pain is overtreated

Dr. Brady the ‘Spine Guy’


This article was first published in 2010, but have things really changed? I think not.

An article written by Lauran Neergaard, and appearing in the Bakersfield Californian on June 22, 2010 suggested that back pain is over-treated in a lot of cases. As a practicing chiropractor I have thought this for a long time.

The article begins: “Why did they cut you?”

“This question came from a respected spine surgeon to a man who was still in severe pain following an earlier operation. This, after two other surgeons had suggested even more surgery. He is far from alone. Even though only a fraction of people are good candidates for surgery, complicated spine operations are on the rise”.

The article further states: “By one recent estimate Americans are spending a staggering $86 billion a year for care on their aching backs. There was little evidence that these treatments helped the population get any better even as the bill soared over the past decade”.

Dr. Charles Rosen at UC Irvine suggests that many cases will eventually resolve themselves after a few weeks. I believe this is true; however, I also believe that with the proper chiropractic care a back pain patient can shorten that time significantly by correcting and balancing the spinal vertebrae that are the root cause of that patient’s problem. Patients that just let nature take it’s course and suppress the pain with medication can be debilitated for several weeks, compared with the patient that seeks good chiropractic care with accompanying therapy and rehabilitation exercise can be up and running in as little as a few days. Of course everybody is different and they all have slightly different conditions. Very few patients are candidates for invasive surgery and pain killing injections, but quite a lot are subjected this type of treatment.

Dr. Richard Deyo, of Portland Oregon says, “There are a lot of procedures going on for patients in whom we don’t have good scientific evidence that it’s going to help.” Lauran Neergaard’s article reads, “When the Institute for Medicine recently listed the 100 how-to-treat questions that medical doctors need most answered, back pain was near the top of the list”. In my opinion, the truth is that medicine in general knows little about what works best for back pain. They either do very little or they over-treat the condition. Chiropractic does a great job filling that large gap between these two extremes.

The article further reads, “(The latest)Data from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons shows that more than 333,000 decompression type surgeries and 381,000 spinal fusions were done in 2007”. This number has probably increased since then. If you have acute or chronic back pain, try to stay out of those statistics by getting a chiropractic checkup and see if chiropractic treatment and spinal rehabilitation can help you.

Many articles have been written about back and neck pain and from time to time I will try to bring you up to date on the latest research from around the world. The more you know about your back pain, the better decisions you can make on any treatment that may become available.


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