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Is Chiropractic Care Recommended after Back Surgery?

Written By Dr. Golab's Chiropractic & Wellness P.A. on January 12, 2022

Chiropractic after back surgery patients Stone Oak


Spinal back surgery is often a last resort measure to help with back pain. It can be used for a number of reasons, herniations, arthritis and more. However, while spinal fusion helps alleviate that pain, it can come at a cost. After surgery, the back is now different from its original "design". In the future, pain may be experienced at other points in the back. While this pain is not due to the same problem that led to surgery, it can occur and the good news is chiropractic may well be able to help with this. 

Between 1993 and 2013, the number of lumbar fusion surgeries for low back pain increased from 61,000 per year to about 500,000. About 61% of people who decide on a lumbar fusion surgery will continue to experience chronic low back pain far after the surgery. Patients instead seek non-surgical care for their low back pain because of this high statistic. This can lead patients to consulting with a doctor of chiropractic. Today, let’s talk about all things chiropractic.

A survey was done of 62 chiropractors in the veterans administration healthcare system. The study found that about 90% treated at least one post surgical patient in the previous month, and 2/3 were found to have treated between one and five patients in the last two months. Usually, the patients are referred by their surgeon, physical therapist, or even primary care physician.

Many often wonder what the first appointment post surgery will look like with a chiropractor. Patient history will be taken, and then a physical examination will occur. In some cases, the chiropractor will take x-rays. These include weight-bearing, neutral AP, and lateral views. It’s important that some be taken in for flexion and extension. The x-ray will assess fusion stability, and also looks for broken screws and hardware malfunction from the past surgery. The x-rays also allow the chiropractor to assess the levels above and below the fused segments. These joints can sometimes become hyper mobile, which could be leading to pain. Sometimes, a CT scan or MRI may be discussed as another option to make sure all is well in the back.

Other treatments which chiropractors also offer have been studied upon. Some of these include high velocity, low amplitude manipulation, mobilization, and soft tissue techniques. Sometimes nutritional instruction will even be used to help a patient feel and be their best. Contact us today if you are a post surgical patient looking for even more back pain relief.

Posted In: Chiropractic