“I’ve Already Had Spinal Surgery, it’s too late for you to help me”
An interesting thing happened to me yesterday at lunch that led me to today’s topic. I was speaking to this woman in the check out line
at Whole Foods, when the topic of chiropractic came up (wow, how’d that happen???).Long story short, she told me about her years of excruciating back pain and how she decided to get surgery in hopes of fixing the problem. Two years later, she still has back pain and more than a few pieces of hardware attached to her spine.
I would love to say that meeting me allowed her to have a change of heart about chiropractic and decided to give it a try, but on this particular day, I wasn’t persuasive enough.
It brings me to an interesting point. Every year, hundreds of THOUSANDS of people will under go some form of spinal surgery. These surgeries range from spinal fusions, disckectomies, disc replacements, and more. The purpose of this article isn’t to debate the merits or problems with spinal surgery. There are plenty of articles on the web that you can research on that.
Today, I want to tackle a popular misconception. Many people think that if they’ve had surgery on their spine, then there’s no way that they can see a chiropractor. Now, based on what many people perceive of chiropractic, I can’t say that I blame them at all. If you’ve had rods, plates, and screws placed into your spine, then the thought of someone wrenching or twisting the spine, causing damage in the surgical attachments…it sounds downright terrifying. Here’s the big take home message:
Not All Chiropractic Techniques Are the Same
Most people associate chiropractic with a move you’d see out of a martial arts movie. The truth is, there are many ways to bring about a correction of the spine, and some are very gentle and non-invasive. Some are so safe that they can be used on elderly folks with osteoporosis, new born babies, people with herniated discs, and even people who have had surgery. In my office, I’ve chosen to use only the most precise and gentle chiropractic approaches so that I can take care of people of any population.
Needless to say, safety isn’t the main issue when you’re armed with the correct chiropractic tools. The big question that remains is: Can chiropractic help me even if surgery didn’t?
I was taking care of a patient recently who had had surgery on her neck for neck pain and arm pain. Since the surgery, her pain persisted, and she actually began to develop headaches and fatigue. She was tired of trying to fix the problem and had basically given up on herself. She had an awful fear of having her neck cracked, and on top of that she had a team of doctors that told her that she should never be touched by a chiropractor. Very unlikely that she would ever walk into my office of her own will.
Her daughter actually decided to bring her into the office and give Structural Orthogonal Care a try. After a consultation and an explanation of my adjusting techniques, she felt safe enough to give it a go.
In a few short weeks, not only did her headaches go away, but many of the symptoms she had before the surgery started to go away too. Now here is a VERY VERY VERY important point:
The adjustments did NOT NOT NOT make her pain go away
Now this might sound crazy, but it’s not the adjustment that did the healing. Adjustments in of themselves have NO capacity to heal someone.
The problem was that her neck, specifically her atlas, had shifted so far out of place, that the nerves in her neck were being compressed and irritated. When you add the surgery on top of it, it had locked the neck in a shifted position even further.
The adjustments simply help me to restore the NORMAL alignment of the head and neck. When the spine goes back to normal, then the nerves can work again. It’s that simple.
This is not an unusual situation. In fact, because of my focus on structural correction and the gentle adjustment techniques, I have been referred dozens of patients after surgery in the past few years, and almost all of them respond great.
However, the last point I want to make is this. When you, or someone has surgery, there are very real limitations to how much the structure of the spine can be corrected. I can’t go in there and take hardware out of someone’s spine, nor would you want me to. As much as I love and enjoy helping patients post-surgery, the best thing anyone can do is to have their structure corrected BEFORE surgery becomes part of the picture. That way you can achieve a maximum correction, and have less dependency on chiropractic to stay well.