Past Articles

Conservative Care Encouraged Over Back Surgery

Back specialists are discouraging the use of surgery as a therapeutic technique for patients with back pain.
At the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) 17th annual meeting held in February, speakers called for a moratorium on surgery. Lynn Johnson, MD, a moderator for the AAPM session, titled "Failed Back Syndrome," said that failed back syndrome can occur in as many as 10 to 40 percent of patients who get some type of lumbar spine surgery. He said that in some cases doctors fail to appropriately apply conservative measures, such as chiropractic, physical therapy, injection therapy, and minimally invasive surgical techniques, before suggesting surgery. "Just about any approach is better than having surgery because all the studies have shown that, if you take a surgical population and non-surgical population, they all seem do the same in five years," he said. "So if you can avoid surgery and the expense of surgery, obviously, you might do as well as the [patient] that gets [the surgery]."

Source: American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) 17th Annual Me