When Does a Chiropractor Recommend Surgery?
So here’s the thing, I’ve been talking to a couple of patients this week, who thought they were too far gone. Both these people were looking down the long road at surgery, and thought I was going to be their last “second opinion.” In one case I advised the patient to seriously consider going ahead with the surgery. In the other case, I advised against it.
So why would I, as a chiropractor, recommend back surgery?
The answer is simple, when the patient is too far deteriorated to benefit from any form of non-surgical intervention, or when all non-invasive methods have been exhausted. You wouldn't normally come across a chiropractor recommending back surgery. It’s very very rare.
I've been in practice for over 20 years and I can count on one hand the amount of times I've recommended that a patient go ahead with surgery. There's a time and place to move ahead with surgical intervention. When the patient has exhausted all their non-surgical options, specifically chiropractic care, physical therapy and spinal decompression, only then should someone consider back surgery.
In my practice, we utilize non-surgical treatments like the DRX 9000 spinal decompression, and Cox flexion distraction fairly regularly. There are times when the patient has been to my practice multiple times over the course of a month and if they have not improved even by 50%; in that time I will start looking for more aggressive options.
Of course, if they've been told by a doctor they need back surgery, it's definitely something to get a second opinion on.
Back surgery should not be the first option, but the last. So for the most extreme cases, we have a relationship with an orthopedic surgeon who utilizes conservative surgical interventions and supports using non-surgical options first.
What makes us stand out is the fact that we are not just limited to chiropractic and physical therapy. We are an integrated practice that combines chiropractic care, physical therapy and many other techniques, like orthopedics together. We have a lot of options and lifestyle changes to exhaust before we we recommend surgery.
So it doesn't happen very often within our practice, and patients rarely end up needing surgical intervention, but when they do it is seamless. When a patient does need to go under the knife, we ensure that all the doctors are on the same page, and once they come back to us for rehab and physical therapy, we don’t miss a step, and there care is seamless.