Over the last couple of decades, back surgery has become a very popular solution for chronic back pain problems. Patients and doctors seem to turn to surgery as the cure all solution, especially in situations when other methods have been exhausted yet the pain remains.However, researchers in the field are beginning to bring to light some worrying findings:
- In the US 1,150,000 people have some sort of back surgery or procedure per year, which is double the rate of most other developed countries
- According to estimates (based on empirical research), only 5% of patients who get back pain surgery actually need it
- A large number of back pain surgeries do not provide relief, this is so widespread that it has a name – Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)
- 30% – 40% of surgery patients end up having to deal with complications after said surgery
- About 8% of back surgery patients end up having another back surgery within 2 years, and after 10 years that number jumps to 20%. These are pretty astonishing numbers given that the point of the initial operation is to avoid having to have any further back treatments
The reasons for such dismal results are many:There are more straightforward and obvious drawbacks to having back, or any other kind of, surgery:
- The operation might not have suited the underlying issue, due to a lack of full understanding of the root cause of the problem. It is very difficult to diagnose the exact source of the problem that is causing back pain, despite all the modern testing and technology. The number of possible causes of back pain is seemingly endless yet the back known to be deceiving when it comes to trying to identify them.
- Doctors “experts in their fields” could be getting kickbacks from industry players for positive recommendations to patients and, even more importantly, other doctors. Since these doctors are seen as experts their presentations at conferences, for example, will be trusted by others and will perpetuate false information without even knowing it.
- Medicine is a business after all, and while not intentionally ………, a doctor might recommend surgery sooner rather than later in order to make money off of the procedure.
- It is the most extreme and dangerous treatment option out of all available
- It may carry the biggest risks in terms of something going wrong in the course of the treatment
- It may have a very long and difficult rehabilitation period
- May cause extreme pain in and of itself
- May carry dangerous side effects
Due to the reasons outlined above it is becoming more apparent that the approach to back pain treatment, specifically when it comes to surgery, needs to be reevaluated and changed. Before jumping to the surgery option, no matter how enticing it may be, several steps must be followed to produce the desired pain relief results:
- First and foremost determine exactly what the root cause is! Without knowing exactly what the underlying issue is, one can not fix the problem. So, make sure the doctor does all the tests, imaging procedures, MRI’s, the works.
- Always get a Second Opinion – because surgery is a huge step, your doctor should understand, and possibly even encourage, having another doctor assess the situation.
- The second doctor should be highly respected and experienced in the field, much like the primary doctor. Don’t give the second doctor the prognosis that the first one made, see what conclusion he comes to without any influence.
- If the second opinion differs wildly from the first one, get a third opinion! Yes, it is a lot of work, but it is definitely worth it.
- Back pain is different for everyone and it tends to ease with time anyway, so what worked for someone might not work for you. Therefore never rely on other people’s suggestions of what worked for their back pain, in fact, their root cause may have been completely different from your own.
- Over-the-counter pain relief medications do ease back pain for cases involving inflammation of joints and their surrounding tissues (these tend to make up a large portion of back pain issues). The drawback is that many are unsatisfied with the results and extra chemicals that are getting pumped into the body.
- Exercise is a good way to help back problems, by stretching and strengthening back muscles you help to ease tightening, spasms, and provide pain relief.
- Chiropractor visits also provide pain relief, for similar reasons as exercise does
- Epidurals, while they don’t heal the underlying cause they do help eliminate pain
- Acupuncture or massage, according to studies stimulation to the skin provides pain relief
- Heat energy therapy provides back pain relief and helps to heal the underlying cause. A good example of this type of treatment is Solio Alfa Plus therapy device. This device synergizes 3 energies RF, IR, LLC each targeting different origins of pain at varying depths to relieve pain by increasing collagen production and increasing blood circulation at every level. Deep heating creates an optimal healing environment that accelerates tissue regeneration and reduces inflammation, aches, stiffness, and pain.