Avoiding Back Surgery
Cenk Integrated Health has been around for over 30 years now and over those 30 years, we have seen our share of patients who have had surgery on their backs. Most of the time this was for the lower back. The purpose of this article is to talk about what we have seen over those years and why patients have back surgery in the first place and what can be done to avoid surgery in the first place.
Pain in the low back can be extremely debilitating. When a patient comes in to see one of the doctors in our office, the first thing we want to find out from them is what their life has looked like in the past that may have contributed to this pain. This consultation with our doctors is key to understanding our patients and knowing what tests are needed to come to a conclusion about what is causing their pain. As healers, it is our job to have our patients understand that pain is not the problem but the result of something else. We believe that patients understand this but society has promoted a quick fix for so long that most have forgotten that healing takes time.
So why do some patients not seek the conservative, non-surgical approach to pain and wellness? Why are some patients so quick to have surgery, when alternatives do exist? This is a hard question to answer and one thing that we try to do in our practice is to give our patients all of the data about what is at stake. But with that being said, surgery can not be undone, therefore we believe a conservative approach is the best place to start.
Patients in our practice who do the best, have a clear understanding of what role “PAIN” plays in their health and well-being. Let's face it, pain is there for a reason.
Pain in the body is the result of other factors that are there to tell you that “Hey…..something is wrong”. Further, the absence of pain does not and should never make you think that all is well. Cancer, heart disease, and other diseases in the body develop slowly over time. The same can be said for back pain. In this article, our focus is on after the pain has started.
So if the pain is not the issue, why do some doctors focus on the pain?
This is a good question and one that we have spent the better part of our time in practice looking into. We certainly cannot speak to other doctors, their philosophies, or even their rationale towards the treatment that they recommend to their patients. But we can speak to our patients and let them know that they have choices to make when a healthcare provider makes a recommendation. The simplicity of this is… do our patients want us to work toward just relieving their symptoms, or do they want us to work with them to improve the overall function of the body to help prevent the problem, once resolved from returning? This is one thing that makes Cenk integrated health different from most other doctors.
Okay, let's talk about why you are having low back pain. The low back is an extremely complex system of bones, discs, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues that are designed to work together to provide stability and support for the entire body. The low back is the foundation of your spine. Mechanical issues with these bones, joints, and discs can and do lead to issues over time. Let me talk about just 3 issues that we see every day in our practice. This does not mean that there are no more issues that can develop as there are, but these 3 can help you better understand what is happening and what choices you have. For a more in-depth look at what is happening to you, please consider coming in for a consultation.
1. Pinched nerves. This is probably the most common problem we see in our office. Vertebrae are designed to have movement. Each vertebra has multiple planes of movement and when this movement is restricted or lost, nerves can become inflamed and irritated. This may lead to pain.
2. Disc bulge or herniation. The disc is the cartilage that is between two vertebrae. Discs are avascular, meaning that they do not have a blood supply, so in order for a disc to get nutrition, it needs to move fluids in and out of the disc. Over time discs can lose this hydration and the fibers of those discs may tear. A complete tear of those fibers may result in fluid from the disc irritating a nerve.
3. Muscle spasms. Muscles will tend to spasm to help protect the nerves in the low back. Spams generally occur when there is lost movement of the spine and or tears in the disc that allows fluid from the disc to irritate the nerves. When muscles are in spasm, the nerves that innervate these muscles can become inflamed which can lead to pain.
All 3 of the above problems that we see in our office have a very specific treatment protocol and all of these can be treated in ways that our patients may be able to avoid surgery to the low back. Each treatment protocol is the result of our over 60 years of combined clinical experience and these treatment protocols are specific to the cause of the problem as identified by our doctors.
This is an important point because when our patients understand that we are working to improve the motion of the spine and that we want to help improve the strength of the muscles that are designed to stabilize and support the low back, then they engage with their treatment. This means that they take a vested interest in their health and help themselves by doing the at-home portion of the treatment plan that we recommend.
It is our belief that our patients should take 100% responsibility for their health and that our role as healthcare providers is to point our patients to the research and studies that have been done over time. There is a lot of evidence that a conservative, holistic approach to low back pain is very effective. Treatment may consist of adjustments to the spine, decompression therapy of the low back for disc issues, and strengthening of the muscles that support the spine. We also utilize therapeutic procedures when patients have pain that is limiting their activities of daily living, but these passive therapies are normally used for only a short period of time until we can get our patients functioning better.
One of our patients Tom Fauls wrote the following about his experience with our office:
“15 years ago, Dr. Cenk literally saved me from back surgery. He has been my MOST TRUSTED consultant for anything involving the body's workings since then. His understanding of the human anatomy, of how it works and what keeps it from working, is unparalleled in the Chiropractic field - indeed, you would be hard-pressed to find anybody even close in the entire medical world!”
We have had many other patients who have given us similar testimonials about the care they have received in our office. We have invested in the newest and most effective treatment for low back pain and we are confident that we can properly diagnose your problem to allow your body to get onto the path to recovery.
Is a holistic, surgery-free approach the best approach for you? To learn more about how Cenk Integrated Health can evaluate your low back please call us at:
Cenk Integrated Health * 107 Gamma Drive, Suite 100 * Pittsburgh, PA 15238