Chiropractic treatment and spinal surgery often have a similar objective: to relieve pain in the back. However, can these treatments work in concert with one another? Or is it inadvisable to attempt chiropractic treatment after a spinal surgery due to a risk of further injury or increased pain?
These questions have been asked for some time, but as of yet, there is not enough research available to reach a firm conclusion. If you have had a spinal surgery and think that you may benefit from chiropractic treatment, you should talk to your doctor before you go to see a chiropractor, and there are several factors that both you and your doctor should take into consideration.
The Type of Surgery Performed
Patients may reap a greater benefit from chiropractic treatment after some types of spinal surgery than others. For example, a controlled trial conducted by Korean researchers and published in 2015 found that patients who received chiropractic adjustment and other forms of manipulative rehabilitation following a microdiscectomy experienced decreased pain more often than patients in the control group. However, opinions are mixed as to whether or not patients who have had a spinal fusion could benefit from chiropractic treatment.
The Time That Has Passed Since the Surgery
Even if you stand to benefit from chiropractic treatment after spinal surgery, you should give yourself ample time to recover from the procedure before you see a chiropractor. There are two main reasons for this:
- Even after you are no longer having symptoms, it can take a long time to completely heal from a procedure on your spine. Chiropractic treatment could compromise the surgery and cause further injury if performed before full healing has taken place.
- Any residual pain you experience after surgery may resolve on its own over time as healing progresses. You should wait to see if your pain persists even after you have healed from your operation before attempting chiropractic treatment.
Your doctor can provide more specific guidelines based on your particular situation, but as a general rule, you should not seek chiropractic treatment for six months to a year following your spinal surgery.
The Chiropractic Techniques Performed
Chiropractic adjustments can involve rotational or non-rotational techniques. The latter may be preferable for back surgery patients as rotational techniques may put undue pressure on the surgical site and potentially cause injury. Not all chiropractors are trained in non-rotational techniques, so it is important to talk to your chiropractor before any adjustments take place to discuss what techniques will be used.
Your doctor may be able to recommend a chiropractor to you in which he or she has confidence. You can also find out more information by contacting an office.