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Are All Spinal Fusions Necessary?

Have you heard this statement from your doctor?  Remember, always get a second and even a third opinion before making any decision on surgery, Its permanent!  Check out this article concerning surgery.

"If you don't have this surgery, you will end up being paralyzed!"

  posted on Sep 8, 2014

Are All Spinal Fusions Necessary?

I hear at least once a week, "the doctor said if I don't have this surgery, I will end up paralyzed!" I always reply, "When I was 25, I had a nationally-known neurosurgeon tell me the exact same thing". I had been in a car accident and suffered a lumbar spine injury. An MRI showed three bulging discs from L3/4-L5/S1. A very prominent SW Michigan neurosurgeon told me if I didn't have surgical fusion, by the time I was 30 I would be in a wheelchair. My concern even though I knew nothing about the human body was suffering a great loss of motion. He informed me I probably wouldn't be able to bend over and tie my shoes ever again so I would have to wear slip on shoes for the rest of my life. I went to a Doctor of Chiropractic with all the information provided by the surgeon, and the DC was appalled by the surgeon’s recommendations. My DC told me the bulging discs were not a surgical case and even if they were, the spinal fusion surgery would not be a remedy for all of my pain. He asked me to commit to 6 months of weekly visits before making a decision. I trusted this man, so I committed! When I told the surgeon I was going to wait, he was furious. He accused me of wasting his precious time and told me Chiropractors were quacks and not even real doctors. He also said Chiropractic adjustments would cause further injury to the bulging discs and probably paralyze me quicker than not having surgery. That was in 1995 and nearly 20 years later I am grateful for the candidness and expertise of my "not real" doctor. I would be lying if I said my back never hurts; I am not in a wheelchair and I can bend over and touch my toes. I do wear mostly slip on shoes, but that is out of laziness! Chiropractic care allows me to live an active lifestyle and has helped me get back on my feet many desperate times. I am proud to say as a 10 year veteran DC I have helped hundreds of patients avoid painful and life-changing surgeries and get back on their feet quickly after suffering from lumbar pain and sciatica! Between 1998 and 2008, the annual number of spinal fusion surgeries increased by 137%. Frequency, utilization, and hospital charges of spinal fusion increased at a much more significant rate than other notable inpatient procedures. (PMID:21311399 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]). That number is astounding, and I personally don't believe that even 50% of those surgeries were 'medically necessary'! Frequently when a patient comes to me as their last resort, after having had sometimes 2 or more back surgeries, I find no clinical evidence to suggest the patient was even a surgical candidate. "But it was putting pressure on a nerve root"! So what? I always ask "Did the surgeon realign the vertebrae before fusing them?” The answer, 'I don't know' is always followed by the question 'why does that matter?’ My speech: "You see, misaligned vertebrae are the cause of bulging discs and as long as a vertebra is misaligned, the disc will have uneven pressure on it creating the tendency for it to bulge. If a surgeon fuses misaligned vertebrae, they will always be misaligned making the condition for which surgery was performed absolutely permanent to some degree." I love the question, "Is that why I still have some pain all the time?" Sadly, it is and they are stuck with it forever! Sometimes surgeons don't even do what they say they are going to do. In 10 years, I have seen one case where a patient underwent spinal fusion surgery as an 'emergency procedure' while on vacation. They were put under anesthesia and cut open and told afterwards "don't ever go to a Chiropractor or let any other doctor work on your spine", but there were no screws or other hardware evident in post-surgery x-rays. I am glad for this person's sake that the doctor was fraudulent, but what serious risk this person was subjected to for this doctor to make financial gain. Another case that I had was a middle-aged man who was told he ‘had no cervical discs’ and needed surgery. The surgeon fused C2-7. I took a follow-up x-ray to see what I could do to help him get some relief from the constant, “thousand times worse” pain he had suffered since surgery. The x-ray showed me a textbook cervical spine with perfect lordosis and disc spaces; the only issue that was evident was the gross fusion of all cervical vertebrae but C1. Why did the surgeon do that to him?!? He was in constant severe pain and addicted to narcotic pain killers and tragically ended up committing suicide because nothing could help him get out of pain. SW Michigan How can our profession help decrease unnecessary spinal fusions? Don't be afraid to tell people that sometimes doctors are misleading and even downright deceptive when trying to convince a person to have surgery. I offer free second opinions and I always recommend that someone considering surgery get opinions from other surgeons, Chiropractors and DO's. As Chiropractors, it is crucial that we do everything we can to get people to make us their FIRST resort rather than coming to us hoping we can help them after they have multiple vertebrae fused together. We have to provide people with verifiable clinical information regarding the risks of these dangerous surgeries. We have to be knowledgeable in not only what is going on in our profession but also in the medical profession and we have to be willing to be blatantly honest with people about the seriousness of having their spines operated on unless they have suffered a trauma that must be addressed.

Go see Dr Garrett Bode or visit his other links and websites: or see our latest press release (Click Here). [Chiropractor Oldsmar], Chiropractic Tampa, 33635, Chiropractor Tampa, Bode Chiropractic Accident & Wellness Center, Oldsmar, 33635, Neck Pain, Low Back Pain, Auto Accidents, Headaches. Link LinkBodeChiropractic.Blogspot.com 

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