Rehabilitation post surgery is critical. This ranges from both physical therapy, physio therapy, and most importantly Chiropractic. Even if you are 1+ years from a spinal surgery it is important to not forget that your spine will need life long care and maintenance. The way you need to think about it is once the body has been cut both soft tissue and osseous structures need care. At first you may think using manipulative technique maybe a scary thing - that is a myth. Any Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) knows the contraindications of surgery. First off, the fused segments as seen in the images below will not be manipulated. adjacent segments that are not involved in the fusion may be treated (instrument assisted or by hand). If you have had something like a microdiscectomy or a procedure that did not involve hardware then treatment of the segment is case by case.
A common finding that occurs after surgery is degeneration and arthritis. Arthritis can clearly be seen on the lateral 1 (side view) x-ray above and below the hardware. This occurs after the spine has been influenced away from its natural curvatures and postures. Wolffs Law states, “ Bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed. If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading.” In simpler terms it means that the area around the influenced site will degenerate at an increased rate and create bony growth including arthritides.
Below are patients treated at Arc of Life Chiropractic
Cervical Spine Study
The patient pictured on the frontal and lateral 2 cervical spine x-ray has a “left spinal misalignment”. Please recognize a spinal fusion on C5/C6 with a spacer is also present. This misalignment was referring into the arm and causing left sided muscle spasm and pain. This was initially treated as instrument assisted only for the first two weeks. Afterward, very specific adjustments were done on the misalignment. After 4 weeks 40% improvement in symptoms with up to 80% at the end of the recommended treatment plan (12 weeks).
Below you will see another patient who had a Microdiscectomy 15 years ago. The patient was recently visiting colleges with her son and she had severe pain in her lower back. The pain was so intense that it made her sit down and she could no longer enjoy her trip. As you can tell L5/Sacrum which is the area of surgery that hardly has any disc space. Some may even say it is “bone on bone”. Conservative chiropractic care about 5 weeks and she is presenting with 0-1/10 pain scale.
Fact of the matter is sometimes surgeries are needed to enhance your quality of life. Here at Arc of Life Chiropractic we will only tell you if we can help you. If we need to co-manage with a Medical Doctor we support it and have referrals. We take care of our patients and will try our hardest to increase your quality of life.
We believe conservative treatment is always the first approach even after surgery.