end chronic pain

1219 South State Route 17

Mountain View, MO 65548

(417) 934 6337

Call for an appointment

Mon, Wed, Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm

Closed 12:00 - 1:00

low back surgery much less likely for chiropractic patients


Spinal Surgery

Photo by Stefan Kühn

Did you happen to hear about the series of seven studies on back pain, neck pain, and other disablers of the global community?  It came out in last month’s issue of England’s oldest medical journal, Lancet.  In a project funded by the WHO (World Health Organization) and coordinated via the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, several large and prestigious institutions came to some rather startling conclusions.  The joint effort between the University of Queensland School of Population Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Tokyo, and Imperial College London, paints a grim picture of just how big of a burden musculoskeletal problems (chiefly low back pain and neck pain) are on the global healthcare system.  Here are some of their shocking conclusions. 

  • Musculoskeletal problems like low back pain, neck pain and arthritis affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide.  They have a larger impact on world health than HIV/AIDS, malaria and other tropical diseases, war, natural disasters, and all neurological conditions ——- combined.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders cause 21 percent of all YLD’s (Years Lived w/ Disability).  The only other category which is larger (very slightly) is mental disorders.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions are the sixth leading cause of death and disability on the planet.
  • Low back pain is the number one most common debilitating musculoskeletal condition on the planet, making up almost 50% of all musculoskeletal YLD‘s, and having a larger global health impact than things like malaria, preterm birth complications, COPD, tuberculosis, diabetes or lung cancer.  Neck pain accounts for 20% of musculoskeletal YLD’s.  In other words, low back and neck pain make up 70% of the world‘s YLD‘s
  • Spinal disorders cause more morbidity (illness), disability, and mortality (death) than HIV/AIDS, malaria, lower respiratory infections, stroke, breast cancer, lung cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression or traffic injuries.
  • Over 632 million people suffer from low back pain worldwide, while over half that number of people (332 million) suffer from neck pain.

It’s no real secret that chiropractic care, whether it be via SPINAL ADJUSTMENTS, TISSUE REMODELING, SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY, WEIGHT LOSS, CORE STRENGTHENING TECHNIQUES, COLD LASER THERAPY, or any number of other methods of treatment, help a wide variety of people dealing with chronic back and / or neck pain and other CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES.  Because I think that our government’s burden of proof in these matters is ridiculous (HERE), I created a VIDEO TESTIMONIAL PAGE.  I have shown you repeatedly that not only do SPINAL SURGERIES frequently lead to poor outcomes, there are plenty of studies saying that the real reason for doing the vast majority of these Spinal Surgeries is that five letter word that starts with “M” —- money. 

In a study published in last month’s issue of the journal Spine, a group of researchers from Dartmouth, Ohio State University, and the University of Washington, came to some rather amazing conclusions concerning Worker’s Compensation patients in the state of Washington.  The study, called Early Predictors of Lumbar Spine Surgery after Occupational Back Injury: Results from a Prospective Study of Workers in Washington State, said that low back patients whose first visit is to a surgeon (Orthopedic or Neuro) are nearly 30 times more likely to end up having spinal surgery than injured workers whose first visit is to a chiropractor.  Here are the actual numbers from the study’s abstract. 

Back injuries are the most prevalent occupational injury in the United States.  Reduced odds of surgery were observed for those under age 35, women, Hispanics, and those whose first provider was a chiropractor. 42.7% of workers who first saw a surgeon had surgery, in contrast to only 1.5% of those who saw a chiropractor. Conclusion. Baseline variables in multiple domains predicted lumbar spine surgery. There was a very strong association between surgery and first provider seen for the injury, even after adjustment for other important variables.”

Are you joking me?  Stop and read that again.  Read the highlighted portion one more time for good measure.  In other words, if your first visit is to the orthopedist, your chances of ending up with a Spinal Surgery are 3,000% greater than if you first visited a chiropractor.  When you start looking at shocking statistics such as these, it is not difficult to figure out why chiropractic is so cost effective.  The thing is, it is not like similar cost-saving statistics have not been around for several decades.  Let’s look at a just a few of dozens.

  • THE U.S. “AGENCY ON HEALTH CARE POLICY AND RESEARCH STUDY”:  In the biggest study of its kind (1994), our own government concluded that in most cases of acute low back pain, spinal manipulation should be used prior to spinal surgery, and that CORTICOSTEROIDS (injected or oral), ANTIDEPRESSANTS, and OTHER DRUGS are not helpful or recommended for people with acute low back pain.  
  • CANADA’S “MANGA REPORT”: This study (1993) was Canada’s version of the previous study.  The Canucks realized they were spending way too much money on low back surgeries.  The Magna Report concluded things like, medical doctors frequently did not know how to effectively deal with the causes of low back pain, chiropractors were well-trained to handle acute low back pain via spinal manipulation and other things, spinal manipulation is more effective than drugs and surgery for low back pain, spinal manipulation was extremely safe when preformed by chiropractors and less safe when performed by non-chiros, chiropractic care returned injured workers to work far faster than medical care, chiropractic care was far more effective than medical care, and on top of that, patient satisfaction ratings with chiropractic were higher than any other healthcare group.
  • THE NEW ZEALAND COMMISSION REPORT:  Clear back in 1979, New Zealand issued it’s nearly-400 pages long report on chiropractic called, Chiropractic in New Zealand.  Some of the things that emerged from this paper (a paper that underwent extensive governmental hearings) were that chiropractors carry out spinal diagnosis on a “sophisticated and refined level“, chiropractors were the only practitioners with the proper training to do what they do, medical doctors and therapists should be barred from taking weekend classes and then offering spinal manipulation in their clinics, chiropractic care is not only effective but cost-effective for helping people with back pain, neck pain, and headaches (migraines included).
  • THE SWEDEN REPORT:  This study was done in the late 1980’s, just after Sweden recognized chiropractic as a profession.  Together with the governments of Denmark, Finland and Norway,  Sweden established a chiropractic college at Denmark’s University of Odense.  The study said that the chiropractic training was, “equivalent to Swedish medical training” and that efforts should be made for the medical community and chiropractic community to work together.
All of these studies excepting the first on the list are at least two decades old (it is 19 years old).  Studies like these are probably why a few short years ago, a chiropractor working with several M.D.’s published a peer-reviewed study saying that every time (that would be “every time“) a Medicare patient visited a chiropractor as opposed to a medical provider, the savings to the American Taxpayer was in the neighborhood of $400.00.   After looking at studies like the one from the state of Washington, it’s not hard to understand how this could be true.

As everyone from governmental groups (Obama Care) to private insurances are looking for ways to curb runaway costs of back injuries, chiropractic has shown repeatedly what its proponents have known for generations.  Chiropractic not only works, it can be delivered with far less cost and far more safety than standard medical care.  Listen to what Dr, Keith Overland, the president of the American Chiropractic Association recently said concerning this study.  “Caring for patients with conservative treatments first, before moving on to less conservative options or unnecessary drugs and surgery, is a sensible and cost-effective strategy.”  How could you possibly argue with him?  It is nice to see some common sense brought to the table regarding this issue.   Time will tell how much it changes things.


Related Posts


Enter your name, email address and message in the box below to send us an email:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *