Chiropractic Helps People Avoid Back Surgery

Portland chiropractic back pain treatmentIn our Portland practice, we see plenty of patients who are troubled with back pain, and a few of these people have been told they might need surgery to recover. Fortunately, Chiropractic Healing Hands For You has helped many people get pain relief without the need for any type of surgical treatment. The science agrees with the results we see in our practice. One study published in the journal Spine found that consulting with a chiropractor as your first step in dealing with your back pain may actually keep you off of the operating table.

In this research study, medical researchers from Dartmouth analyzed data from about 1,900 workers from the state of Washington who first saw either a surgeon or a chiropractor for their low back issues. They then used three years' worth of follow-up medical information to find out whether the individuals wound up having back surgery in an effort to treat the issue.

What the authors discovered was that about 43% of the people who first consulted with a surgeon for their back issues ended up in surgery in that 3-year time span, whereas only 1.5 percent of those who first saw a chiropractor had the same fate. The authors wrote:

"Even after controlling for injury severity and other measures, workers with an initial visit for the injury to a surgeon had almost nine times the odds of receiving lumbar spine surgery compared to those seeing primary care providers, whereas workers whose first visit was to a chiropractor had significantly lower odds of surgery."

These are impressive outcomes. Consulting with a chiropractor drastically decreases your odds of having back surgery, plus the chiropractic patients in this report "had lower odds of chronic work disability" and they also had fewer expensive MRI tests.

Let's also keep in mind this important point: this study was carried out by orthopedic surgeons from Dartmouth College, and printed in the world's most influential medical publication on spinal injury.

The Problems with Surgery

Any surgical procedure has risks, but a serious problem associated with spine surgery is that there's a very high rate of failure. In an important analysis in the European Spine Journal, researchers wrote:

"Failed back surgery is a problem that has become sufficiently widespread to even warrant its own special conferences, with recent reviews reporting failure rates ranging from 5 to 50%."

The authors of this same study concluded:

"It is extremely difficult to identify unequivocal predictor factors that can be used to accurately predict the outcome of surgery."

As a chiropractor, Chiropractic Healing Hands For You is convinced that surgery should be the absolute last choice for treating back pain. Chiropractic works to restore your spine to its normal function--without the need of high-risk surgery or drugs--and many research studies have established the usefulness of chiropractic for back pain.

If you live in Portland and you need relief for your back pain, give our office a call today at (503) 771-1974 for a consultation or an appointment. We'll help get you back on the road to a pain-free life!


  • Keeney BJ, Fulton-Kehoe D, Turner JA, Wickizer TM, Chan KC, Franklin GM. Early predictors of lumbar spine surgery after occupational back injury: results from a prospective study of workers in Washington State. Spine 2013;38(11):953-964.
  • Mannion AF, Elfering A. Predictors of surgical outcome and their assessment. European Spine Journal 2006;15(Suppl 1):S93-S108.
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