Neck, mid-back, and low-back pains are common medical ailments which can lead to the consideration of surgery. Every year, 149 million days of work are lost to back pain in the United States. This costs billions of dollars in lost wages, sick pay, and short-term disability. Back pain is not easy to live with; everyday tasks like bending, walking, and even sitting, can be unbearable. Often, medication and rest do not improve the condition. In serious cases, a specialist may advise for a costly surgery to attempt to repair the spinal issues. But is it the best solution for pain and recovery, both physically and economically? And, how does it compare to the more natural and non-surgical methods of chiropractic care?

Chiropractic vs Surgery: The Final Cost

No one wants to be out of work and no one wants to pay anything out of pocket for expensive medical care. But, both are almost an inevitability if you are in such pain that you are needing to consider surgery to alleviate it. With the popularity of chiropractic care growing over medical traditional treatment options, more and more evidence is being produced showing the financial benefits of the natural healing of chiropractic care. Consider the following studies:

In a report by Web MD, 1.7 million cases were studied where 700,000 had chiropractic services covered under their healthcare and the remaining 1 million did not, those with chiropractic cut the cost of treating back pain by 28% compared to those who did not have chiropractic care. Back surgeries were reduced by 32% and hospitalizations were reduced by 41%.

AV MED tested the idea of whether they could reduce medical costs by having patients receive chiropractic care for low back pain. 100 patients, 80 of whom had already been treated medically with little to no improvement, had been seen by about 2 doctors each. Once the chiropractic care was received, none had to have surgery. This saved the patients money and AV MED more than $250,000.

“The Manga Report, from the University of Ottawa, reviewed all the international evidence on the management and low cost of back pain care. Pran Manga, Ph.D. concluded that significant cost savings would occur if the management of low back pain were transferred from physicians to chiropractors. He determined that chiropractic is safer than medical management of low-back pain. “Many medical therapies are of questionable validity or are dearly inadequate. Chiropractic care is greatly superior to medical treatment in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction.” Dr. Manga concluded that “chiropractic should be fully insured (and) fully integrated into the Ontario health care system.”

These results are not unique. There are hundreds of reports and papers concluding that at the very least, surgery and chronic medication should be the very last resort after all other avenues, including Chiropractic care, have been explored. And, at best, they state that for the majority of cases, a well-executed chiropractic plan not only saves patients and insurance companies money, it also can have the same desired result of surgery in the full recovery of the patients.

The Physical Pros and Cons of Chiropractic vs Surgery

Surgery should be considered a last resort in most situations and chiropractic care can carry a stigma of not being a medical treatment. That mentality has quickly changed. Regardless of if you are at the beginning of your road to recovery or at a last resort crossroads, consider the benefits and potential drawbacks of chiropractic care vs. surgery.

Pros of Chiropractic Care

  • No cutting or stitching, appointments only take about 30-45 minutes
  • Quick pain relief and increased flexibility and mobility
  • Little to no recovery time
  • Has been shown to improve pain symptoms in the majority of low back pain cases

Cons of Chiropractic Care

  • Takes multiple visits and sessions to fully alleviate pain and repair damage naturally

Cons of Surgery

  • Significant recovery time (can be days or several weeks depending on the procedure)
  • There is a possibility of error, loss of mobility, and even nerve damage

Pros of Surgery

  • Low back surgeries are typically considered low risk and are more or less routine
  • The repair is done directly on the affected area of your spine, giving a good chance of maximum recovery

Though every case is unique and should be treated accordingly, it seems clear that at a minimum the chiropractic option should be explored before a surgical one is even considered. At worst surgery will still be required. But, at best, chiropractic care will relieve all symptoms and replace surgery entirely as an option. If you have back pain and are looking for relief, Dr. Graham Reinhardt can help. With his years of experience, friendly staff, and advanced equipment, he will get you back to normal the natural way. Contact him and schedule an appointment to get onto the road to recovery today.