Comparing The Effectiveness of Surgery & Chiropractic Care
Sciatica is a catch-all term that generally refers to a sharp, burning pain radiating from the lower back down the leg resulting from irritation to the sciatic nerve. In many cases, the source of the irritation is a disc herniation (or bulge) that causes compression of nerves as they exit the lumbar spine. Sciatic nerve compression can also lead to numbness and muscle weakness in the hip, buttock, leg, calf, and foot.
A 2010 study by a team of Canadian surgeons and chiropractors compared the effectiveness of chiropractic manipulative treatment versus orthopedic surgery for patients suffering with sciatic pain caused by a lumbar disc herniation.
The researchers restricted the study to 40 patients who had experienced unrelenting low-back and leg pain for at least six months and had failed to obtain relief with exercise, physical therapy and NSAIDs. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either chiropractic treatment or surgical treatment.
Results of the Study
Following treatment, 60% of patients in both groups showed significant improvement in both pain and function. Furthermore, after one year following completion of their treatment plans there was no difference in outcome success between the two groups. The doctors performing the study concluded that chiropractic spinal manipulation was just as effective as microdiskectomy for patients struggling with sciatica secondary to lumbar disk herniation.
The Cost Factor
More than 200,000 microdiskectomies are performed annually in the United States at a cost of $5 billion, or an average of approximately $25,000 per procedure. Choosing chiropractic care over surgery results in direct savings of $22,900 per patient, potentially saving the US healthcare system a total of $2.75 billion dollars annually.
The Chiropractic Advantage
If you’re suffering from the pain and inflammation of sciatica, chiropractic treatment is a safe, proven and cost-effective option that should be considered before undergoing invasive surgical intervention. Looking for a chiropractor in Brookfield? Call us at 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment online.
McMorland G, et al. Manipulation or microdiscectomy for sciatica? A prospective randomized clinical study. JMPT. 2010; 33(8).
Singhal A, Bernstein M. Outpatient lumbar microdiscectomy: a prospective study in 122 patients. Can J Neurol Sci. 2002 Aug;29(3):249-52.