Unfortunately, low back pain (LBP) is something MOST of us cannot avoid. There is solid evidence that chiropractic care is one of the most effective methods of treating LBP, but there are times when a referral for surgery is needed. What about manipulative therapy (MT) AFTER surgery? Is this a good idea? Does it help?
In March 2015, an article published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation discussed the pros and cons of MT after lumbar open laser microdiscectomy, a common surgical technique used to treat patients with a pinched nerve due to a herniated lumbar disk. Unfortunately, patients who undergo this procedure can experience early post-surgical physical disability that reduces their ability to perform required daily activities. For this reason, the objective of this study was to look at whether early individualized spinal manipulation would reduce the occurrence of post-surgical disability. To do this, 21 patients (aged 25-69) who had a microdiscectomy were randomly placed into either a spinal manipulation or an active control group. Manipulation was performed two to three weeks after surgery, at two times a week for four weeks.
The researchers found patients in the MT group experienced a 55% reduction in disability while those in the control group reported a 5% increase in disability! Also, leg pain was reduced by 55% in the MT group compared with only 9% in the control group. This pilot study concluded that while a larger-scale study is recommended, the findings indicate that manipulation “…may be an important option for post-operative management after spinal surgery.”
This is yet another testimony that spinal manipulation can not only help many people avoid surgery, but it can also significantly reduce or eliminate back pain and disability AFTER surgery! Spinal manipulation is the most common treatment approach performed routinely by chiropractors. And although other healthcare professionals are showing an increasingly greater interest in learning this skill, manipulation must be performed on a regular, concentrated basis in order to obtain the best outcomes or therapeutic results for patients. So, regardless if you have or have not had surgery for LBP, the benefits of chiropractic and spinal manipulation are recognized as a recommended course of treatment!