NEWSWEEK APRIL 26, 2004 on spinal surgery

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Chiropractic Info

“For more and more Americans, complementary and alternative therapies are the way to go. Chiropractic treatment, the most popular nonsurgical back therapy, is booming, with 60,000 chiropractors practicing today, a 50% increase since 1990.

Spinal-fusion surgery the most costly ( about $34,000 a pop) and invasive form of therapy, has spike dramatically –77 percent in the United States between 1966 and 2001. But many of the procedures simply dont work. Doctors,worried that far too many patients seen to far willing to go under the knive, are now actively looking for simpler, more effective ways to treat one of the vexing problems in medicine says Dr. David Eisenberg, head of Harvard Medical School’s Osher Institute.

Dr. Richard Deyo, a professor on medicine and health services at the university of Washington. In a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February, Dayo and two colleges issue a mayor challenge to the field. They charged that there are insuficient data to justify treating disck degeneration with spinal fusion. They also pointed out to confounding issues like the variation in sugery rates nationwide (you’re almost five times more likely in Boise, Idaho, than you are in Manhattan, probably because of community standards of treating and preferences) and complications, such as nerve injuries or infection. WebMDonchiropractic.

Fusion surgery was originally designed to treat serious instability or deformity of the spine. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the patient pool has gradually expanded to include more run-of-the-mill disk problems… “

ADDED EXPENSES: Patients with back pain spend about 60 percent more on annual heath care costs that patient without back pain.

Article written by Karen Springen, Ann underwood, Mary Carmichael and ellise Pierce for Newsweek.