“The preservation of health is easier than the cure for disease.” – B. J. Palmer, Developer of Chiropractic.
Is chiropractic care safe following back surgery? Short answer, Absolutely, and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently. In my 11 years in practice, I have heard this statement a hundred times, “my surgeon told me not to let a chiropractor touch me.” Curiously when I ask them why they never seem to have an answer other than “that’s just what they said.”
Now let’s be clear, when a joint has been fused, either artificially through surgical hardware or the natural progression of a disease process, then that joint can no longer reap the benefit of being adjusted. However, the joints above and below the level of fusion are 100% allowed to be adjusted. In fact, they need chiropractic now more than ever. This is because joints need motion in order to maintain proper function, and surgery is great at creating fibrotic/scar tissue that limits your range of motion and accelerates degeneration. Think about it, are your scars as flexible and malleable as your healthy normal skin? Of course not, this is because scars lack collagen, and collagen is what gives tissue flexibility.
The consequences of this acquired immobility are the leading cause for a second back surgery. How many people do you know who only had one back surgery and were never told that they needed a second? I personally don’t know very many and I do this for a living!
So after invasive spinal surgery, whether it be a Laminectomy (removing the back portion of a vertebra), Discectomy (either shaving or removing a disc), or a spinal fusion, remember, chiropractic is just fine and, in fact, the best thing you can do if you want to give yourself a fighting chance of staying off of the operating table.
TEST QUESTION: A microdiscectomy is performed when a patient has a disc bulge that is putting pressure on a nerve and a surgeon goes in and shaves off the bulge. With that in mind, if you shaved off a bulge on your car tire, are you more or less likely to have a blowout?
(FYI a disc herniation is fancy doctor talk for a blowout.)