The Case Against Spinal Surgery

SittingBack pain can be absolutely debilitating. Perhaps this is why so many back pain sufferers are desperate for any solution, even a poor one like surgery. Even the most experienced spinal surgeons will tell you, surgery is a very unreliable treatment for most people and may not provide any pain relief.

There are approximately 600,000 spine surgeries performed in the United States every year – double that of most other developed countries. Are Americans spines in that much worse condition? Does the rest of the world live with constant back pain we’re unaware of? Of course not, but as Americans we’ve been conditioned to believe that surgery is a cure-all for just about any problem.

Are Spinal Surgeries a Recipe for Failure?

Spinal surgeries often fail because they don’t address the real cause of chronic spinal pain.

back scarMany times surgery is recommended based on the results of an MRI of the spine. However, and MRI does not show what is causing the pain. Even though spinal surgery is supposed to be a last resort for patients that have failed appropriate nonsurgical care, most patients with chronic low back pain and disc degeneration never get state-of-the-art non-surgical treatment. A large insurance company in Michigan was able to reduce the number of spine operations by 25% while maintaining high patient satisfaction 7 simply by creating the requirement that patients first consult with a physical medicine and Rehabilitation specialist before ever meeting with a surgeon. That intervention was designed to convey the message that the majority of patients with back pain could fare just as well, or better, with nonsurgical care as they would with surgery.

Regenerative Treatment is Exactly the Kind of Nonsurgical Alternative Most Patients Truly Need.The Facts on Spinal Surgery Are Actually Quite Different:

  • Spinal surgeries carry a failure rate that ranges from 25% to 40% – that means that a quarter to almost half of patients will experience NO IMPROVEMENT in their condition or pain levels.
  • Lumbar spine fusion – the most popular surgery for chronic back pain and disc degeneration – has failed to consistently prove itself in clinical trials to be an effective treatment
  • Randomized controlled trials have suggested that lumbar spinal fusion offers no advantage over multidisciplinary rehabilitation1.
  • A recent study found  that “no subset of patients with chronic low back pain could be identified for whom spinal fusion is a predictable and effective treatment.”2
  • Another clinical study showed that among patients with sciatica related to a disc herniation, those who chose surgery showed no significant difference in pain and disability than patients who chose non-surgical treatment 3.

Regenerative treatment is a new state-of-the-art conservative option with the potential  of using the body’s own healing powers to restore function and decrease pain in patients with chronic back pain and disc degeneration. Our regenerative treatment, RegenaSpine, is safe, it requires no hospital stay, it involves minimal recovery time, and is a lot cheaper than surgery. RegenaSpine addresses all the most common sources of chronic back pain: the disc, the joints, and the spinal ligaments.

Schedule a free consultation today to learn how regenerative treatment can help you manage your chronic back pain.

REFERENCES 1) Chou R, et al. Interventional therapies, surgery, and interdisciplinary rehabilitation for low back pain: and evidence-based clinical practice guideline from the American Pain Society, Spine, 2009; 34:1066-77. 2) Willems PC, et al. Spinal fusion for chronic low back pain: Systematic review on the accuracy of tests for patient selection. The Spine Journal, 2013; 13(2):99-109. 3) Peul WC, et al. Surgery versus prolonged conservative care for sciatica. New England Journal of Medicine, 2007; 356:2245-56. 4) Rajaee SS, et al. Spinal fusion in the United States: Analysis of trends from 1998 to 2008, Spine, 2012; 37(1):67-76. 5) Weinstein JN, et al. United States’ trends and regional variations in lumbar spine surgery: 1992-2003, Spine, 2006; 31:2707-14. 6) Willems PC, et al. Clinical decision making in spinal fusion for chronic low back pain: Results of a nation wide survey among spine surgeons. BMJ Open, 2011; 1:e000391.doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000391. 7) Fox J, et al. The effect of required physiatrist consultation on surgery rates for back pain, presented at the annual meeting for the International Study of the Lumbar Spine, Spine Week 2012, Amsterdam.

Disclaimer: Individual conditions, treatment and recovery times may vary. Each patient’s experience with regenerative medicine is different. Some patients may require multiple treatments. The content of this website is for informational purposes only. This website does not offer or provide medical advice of any kind. Nothing contained on this website is intended or shall be construed to constitute professional advice for any purpose including medical diagnosis or treatment. Some patients with chronic back pain do require surgery. If directed to pursue surgery by your physician, prompt action is advised, as waiting may reduce the efficacy of surgical treatment.

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