Chiropractic vs Surgery for Chronic Sciatica

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Chiropractic vs Surgery for Chronic Sciatica

S uffering from sciatica? A recent study gives hope to patients who want to avoid surgery by getting similar long-term outcomes with chiropractic care.

That means most can benefit from a safe, non-invasive treatment over unnecessary cutting, anesthesia, and ER time.

Imagine you are one of the 40 sciatica sufferers who participated in the study:

  • Your sciatica has lasted over 3 months.
  • Treatment hasn’t helped. This includes pain medications, lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, massage therapy, and/or acupuncture.
  • Finally, your primary care physician referred you to a spinal surgeon who had deemed you appropriate surgery candidate. Ouch!


You’re in luck! Instead of all 40 patients proceeding with surgery, you’re randomly split into two groups.

  1. Your group is treated with standardized chiropractic spinal manipulation as well as utilizing spinal decompression methods by a single chiropractor.

  • The other group undergoes a surgical microdiscectomy (the surgical removal of herniated disc material that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord).


Not to worry, if either group isn’t satisfied with the outcome from their assigned method, you are allowed to switch to the other treatment plan after 3 months.


And now for the results…

All of you made significant improvement over your baseline scores – meaning that you feel noticeably better as compared with the previous approaches that had failed.

Better yet, in YOUR group, a full 60% of you receiving chiropractic care benefited to the SAME degree as if you had received surgery! And, after 1 year there was no difference in outcome success based on the treatment method. Not bad, eh?


So, what’s the real score in this clinical study?

Clearly, chiropractic wins. Surgical back procedures carry more potential risk, complications after the anesthesia, and expense than chiropractic care. If properly informed about the advantages of chiropractic treatment, a higher percentage of patients with sciatica will consider spinal manipulation as an option over invasive surgery.

Even if you’re sciatica hasn’t progressed to the point where you’re considering surgery, this study demonstrates that spinal manipulation for your sciatic pain is a smart choice.


Which group do you want to be in?

In this scenario, you dodged an unnecessary procedure. Now that it’s up to you, don’t be caught in the wrong group. There is hope for sciatica sufferers who haven’t benefitted from other treatments and want to avoid the risks and costs of surgery. Always exhaust all other possibilities first.

For those already considering surgery, Dr. Kaster can perform EMG and NCV tests to determine if there is any permanent nerve damage secondary long-term sciatica.

If you’re still confused or having a bit of apprehension about whether your chronic sciatica could be treatable under chiropractic care, click here to read more about Sciatica. You’ll find more information about sciatica’s symptoms, causes, and possible treatments, so that you can make a well-informed decision along the way.

Or, if you’re ready to start relieving your pain, we can help. Dr. Kaster can reduce nerve irritability responsible for causing inflammation, muscle spasm, pain, and other symptoms related to sciatica.
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Source: The National Spine Center in Alberta, Canada and published their study in the October of 2010 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics: Link.

Dr. Kaster is a trusted chiropractic physician in the Fort Myers & Naples areas. He treats auto accident injuries, back pain, headaches, etc., with nutrition and gentle, effective chiropractic care. Our licensed massage therapists are the finest in the industry, and they’ll customize massage techniques specifically to your needs for greater healing, pain relief and relaxation.

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