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NorthSide Reaction

Back surgery sometimes back fires

Every year, an estimated 600,000 Americans opt for back operations. However, many of these patients find that fusion surgeries — which are designed to alleviate pain from degenerating discs — do not work, according to an article that appeared on MSNBC.com this week.

The report was based on a recent study in the periodical Spine which found that in general, patients who choose fusion surgery may experience more complications, more post-surgical pain, use more pain killers, and are less likely to return to work, than people who decided against surgery, despite a similar diagnosis.

The researchers' conclusions about back surgery were in line with those of Dr. Daniel Laich, a neurological surgeon at the Chicago Back Institute at Swedish Covenant Hospital, who recently weighed in on a Well Community report on over-treatment for back pain.

"Surgery is not the answer for most patients with back pain and it often comes with more complications. There are numerous, highly effective non-surgical treatments that should be fully explored before surgery,” Dr. Laich told Well Community. "We understand that no ‘silver bullet’ exists for back pain, which is why we take into consideration all treatment modalities and develop new techniques to further improve spine care and help people return to their desired lives." 

To learn more, read the full article, Back Pain on the Rise, Treatments Vary” and share your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.

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