Is Back Surgery Right For You?


In this article, your Sacrament Chiropractor Dr. Sandy Bell will reveal why back surgery may or may not be necessary for you. Lower back pain is a huge problem in our society and it is my hope that this article will help to demystify ways to get better results with your lower back treatment and really learn what treatment option may be best for you. 

A lower back disc is the cushioning between two spinal joints or vertebra. They are made of onion-like rings of fibrocartilage and in the middle have a jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposis. Picture a jelly donut when you think of a lumbar spine disc. A disc bulge in your back is when the jelly donut is squished so that the jelly is pushed out to the edges of the donut causing the structure to bulge out. A disc herniation is when the jelly bursts through the donut and leaks out. Hopefully, that gives you a visual of what happens when you have a lumbar disc problem.

Disc bulges and disc herniations can put pressure on the sensitive nerves that exit through the holes in your spinal canal, thus causing lower back and leg pain. They can also be totally benign and show up on MRI even when people have no pain and this is where clinical expertise comes in when treating this problem. In fact, asymptomatic disc herniations are present in 20-36% of the adult population. Meaning people can have disc herniations without even knowing it!

More than ever, spinal surgeons are reluctant to operate on lower back discs because the results can be mixed. In my practice, we are seeing more patients from medical doctors than ever before because they want patients to receive a course of conservative care before invasive means of treatment (ie. spinal injections, surgery). 

Research supports the above management of LDL patients: "Data supports the effectiveness of manipulation for LDL. Existing research suggests some early benefit of using SMT (spinal manipulative therapy) and minimal risk when applied by a trained practitioner (16,47). McMorland reported that SMT produced results equal to surgical decompression in 60% of LDL patients who had failed earlier medical management. He concluded: "Patients with symptomatic LDH failing medical management should consider spinal manipulation followed by surgery if warranted" 

Here’s a video of a patient that had back surgery, but would have done things differently if he had the choice:


Here at East Sacramento Chiropractic, we specialize in caring for your spine and everything attached. We also care about your overall health and wellbeing. To learn more about how chiropractic care can help you get relief from your back pain give us a call at 916-469-9235 or Click here to schedule your appointment.


McMorland G, Suter E, Casha S, du Plessis SJ, Hurlbert RJ.
Manipulation or microdiskectomy for sciatica? A prospective randomized clinical study . J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2010 Oct;33(8):576-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.08.013


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