The role of conservative care treatment options prior to spine surgery cannot be overstressed to patients. As surgeons, we are ready to offer medication, bracing, injections, and physical therapy. Chiropractic is a beneficial treatment option often overlooked by many spine surgeons. The benefits of chiropractic treatments, in conjunction with other non-operative measures, can be an important part of helping patients to improve on their own, without surgical intervention.
The use of chiropractic manipulation and traction date back thousands of years. Hippocrates himself described in detail the benefits of traction to the spine even in ancient times. Modern treatments of spine disease often center around many different types of surgical procedures. The truth is, many of the surgeries can be delayed, or sometimes completely avoided with the proper use of well trained chiropractic medicine and treatments. There is the old expression that some people see the world as a nail, and they are the hammer. Medical schools and residency training programs often fail to teach new doctors the importance of age old techniques of traction and spine manipulation, that actually work. Too often, surgeons are eager to attempt new and often expensive surgeries, rather than allowing the body to heal itself.
When I completed my residency training in Orthopedic Spine Surgery, I must admit that I myself fell into this category. With all of the advances in technology and training, it was hard to see the benefits of such “old fashioned” treatments. But, after listening to patient after patient, I became much more interested in all of the benefits of chiropractic manipulation and traction that my patients were describing to me. I began to seek out many of my chiropractic colleagues, and observe their techniques and treatments. I began to incorporate chiropractic treatments into my options of conservative care for my spinal patients, in an effort to try to avoid surgery if possible.
I myself have been a pioneer in Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery. This type of spine surgery is exactly what it sounds like. Using tiny incision and procedures to treat disorders of the spine. The benefits of this type of surgery are truly amazing. That being said, my real goal for my patients is to avoid surgery altogether if possible. I tell patients that “Nothing I can do for you is better than what God has given you already.” I truly believe that any time I can help patients get better without surgery, I am doing the right thing for them. In my experience, careful consideration and use of chiropractic medicine, in the right patients, along with other means of conservative medical care, has led to many patients with great outcomes, and relief of spinal pain. Working closely, hand in hand, with our chiropractic colleagues, can often improve patient lives, and help to avoid surgical intervention when possible.