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Post-Surgical Back Care

Following back surgery, some people experience complete and long- lasting relief of their symptoms, but many enjoy only partial relief of pain, and for some there is little change at all. Even for those who do experience immediate relief, another episode of the same or similar pain may occur months or years later.

While in many cases back surgery can eliminate the immediate cause of pain, it does nothing to remedy the pelvic or spinal imbalances which gave rise to the problem. As a result, these imbalances often lead to degenerative changes and recurring pain at other levels. In some cases, the lesion which is surgically corrected has actually not been the cause of the pain.

Many people believe that following back surgery there is nothing that a chiropractor can do for them. Some may even feel that chiropractic treatment could be harmful. Nothing is farther from the truth.

In a study published in the Canadian Family Physician by a team consisting of an orthopedic surgeon and a chiropractor, 283 patients were selected who were totally disabled by low back pain and leg pain for an average of 8 years. Nearly 25% of these patients had undergone back surgery with little or no relief. They were treated with a two to three week regimen of daily adjustments by an experienced chiropractor. Depending on the type of problem under treatment, 36 to 87 percent of the patients in the study returned to full function with no restriction on activities. Even more to the point, none were made worse.

The doctors who treated these patients have concluded that, before surgery is undertaken for relief of back pain, it is advisable to try a more conservative approach in the form of spinal manipulation by a qualified practitioner.

If you have already had back surgery, it would be advisable to see a chiropractor whether or not you are currently having back pain. You may be able to avoid future episodes of pain and disability. If you are in pain there is a very good probability that it can be relieved without surgery. A chiropractor is qualified to evaluate your individual situation and recommend the best course of action for you to take. 

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