People with painful disc herniations with serious neurological deficits can often skip surgery if they see a chiropractor first. Here’s why.

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People with painful disc herniations with serious neurological deficits can often skip surgery if they see a chiropractor first. Here's why.

It has been said that why you see first for a  health problem will determine your experience.  This goes for not only the length of time it takes to get relief and resolve the condition but also the risks and the costs. There is growing evidence that seeing a chiropractor first for many problems in the back and neck often results in faster relief and lower costs.  While there is a small percentage of these cases that may require medical intervention, the studies show that most don't. Our practice orders very few MRI scans simply because patients improve or resolve and these tests, which are highly sensitive also may open the door to medical consultations that are not helpful and can long-term cause great harm if the true underlying cause of the problem is not resolved. It is unfortunate that so many patients are initially screened medically, placed on medication that has little or no high-value evidence of improving these problems and then they are sent to have tests such as an MRI which often are avoidable. Often these patients visit us after injections and other folly that also have little quality evidence to support their continued use.  Ultimately, many of these now chronic patients visit a chiropractor and get fast relief.  Some patients are scared of the idea of having a joint cracked when this is not what chiropractors do.   Chiropractors are primary care for the musculoskeletal system and are the best-trained professionals to evaluate and treated musculoskeletal problems holistically. My wife knows someone who stopped playing pickleball and working out due to neck pain.   While I have not discussed the problem with this person as they haven't asked for my input, she has had multiple injections in the neck and the problem continues to become more chronic affecting her daily activities and causing a loss of sleep while leaving her in constant pain. According to Einstein, insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome. To get the help she needs, all she has to do is reach out and call me as we have known each other for many years.   Many of us know people who are fixated on a professional bias that is harming them in ways they can only imagine.

Horrible pain and the bad health decisions we often make.

In the case of disc herniations with serious neurological deficits, fear often drives bad medical decisions.    The truth is that when we are in chronic pain and are having disturbed sleep as a result, or we are on the floor with acute pain, we are probably not thinking clearly, and it is likely you have had numerous people offer you their unsolicited advice on who to see first.  While the idea of going to the ER may sound appealing, the four hours you wait and the medication they inject into you is not going to solve your problem and may not even offer you much relief.

Studies show seeing a chiropractor first is a better option.

On the other hand, you may have visited a chiropractor first who would not have used medication, not have you wait four hours, and may have you walking better right after the visit.  In other words, seeing a local chiropractor who was recommended to you may have been the best medicine. There have been many studies showing that for those who have a herniated disc resulting in pain.  Current data shows the following:
  • The benefits outweigh the harms of conservative care in patients with severe sciatica who would qualify for surgery in most hospitals.
  • Spinal surgeons may assert that keeping patients with two or more nerve root compression signs away from surgery is unsafe. However, according to research, it appears to be a safe strategy.
  • Research also suggests chiropractic spinal manipulation can deliver a large, clinically important pain reduction with no adverse events in patients with sciatica with disc protrusion.
You can read more about this in a recent well-referenced article in Dynamic Chiropractic, a magazine widely read internationally by chiropractors. As many of us may wait because it (the pain) goes away, the truth is that the pain is commonly a result of a mechanical problem you don't understand.   Chronic stiffness and soreness often are deemed to be normal until the pain becomes unbearable.   This is often what makes your local chiropractor's phone ring. Patients understand where they hurt, your chiropractor will understand why and explain it to you simply as they work to help you feel and function better. Ready for a better first option?, Think chiropractic first.  Book online here.