“Considering bone or joint surgery? You may not need it” is the title of a recent NY Times article by Nicholas Bakalar (link here if you have a subscription). It’s an interesting article because it brings up a subject that we at Back and Body Medical often speak to our patients about, and that’s that surgery isn’t always the best option. The author of the article has looked into research that has been done and come to similar conclusions.
We are taught that the standard way of healthcare follows this path. Pain -> pain relievers -> primary care physician -> specialist -> surgery. That’s a pretty normal pattern to observe for back or extremity pain.
However, the evidence may suggest that the extreme option of surgery is not always necessary. There is after all, often more than one way to skin a cat.
Alternative options such as chiropractic, physical therapy, medical massage, acupuncture have all produced great results over the years in helping people find relief from their pain and even getting them back to normal again.
If a more conservative approach is generally bringing about similar results to surgery, then shouldn’t this be the way to go? Of course, every patient is different, and there may be cases where conservative care may not be able to help as much and surgery may well be necessary.
What do studies show?
A study in Britain looked at studies of 10 most common orthopedic operations encapsulating, hip, knee, spine, shoulder and wrist. In it while they did see considerable results for hip and wrist surgeries, for the other conditions they saw little advantages with surgeries over conservative protocols such as physical therapy etc.
Lead author, Dr. Ashley Blom summed up the study by saying “Our study doesn’t show that these operations don’t make patients better. And it does not say that treatments do not work if they have not undergone testing by randomized controlled trials. It’s just that some don’t work any better than the best nonsurgical treatments.”
Given the choice, surgery or conservative treatment with similar outcome, I think the majority of people (and insurance companies) would opt for conservative treatment, certainly prior to even contemplating surgery.
At Back and Body Medical, we offer patients many treatment options for pain relief. We have been in the city for over 14 years now, helping patients in pain relief and in rehabilitation.
We have multiple treatment options including:
- Physical Therapy
- Medical Massage
- Cold Laser Therapy
- and more
Our plethora of treatments are backed by a large gym area enabling our physical therapists to help patients with proper exercise and stretches to help regain the function that their injury impacted.
All of the team here at Back and Body Medical in New York City are dedicated to helping patients get back to full fitness with the goal of helping them avoid surgery.
The care doesn’t end there though. For patients who have opted for surgeries for whatever reason, the team is here to help them as well. Surgeries can take many weeks and months to recover from and we are also able to help patients rehabilitate after surgery and improve their function.
Every person is different and every condition requires tailor made treatment options to ensure the road to recovery is the right one for both patient and condition. That’s what we do at Back and Body Medical in Midtown Manhattan.
If you have concerns and don’t want to go the surgical route, we can help. If you’ve already had surgery and wish to rehabilitate the right way, we can help too.