_Mountain View, Missouri (West Plains / Cabool / Winona / Summersville / Willow Springs) ---- Spinal Decompression Doctor, Russell Schierling, presents another blog article on Spinal Decompression Therapy.

Do You Really Want That "New" Artificial Disc Procedure You Read About on the Internet?

Artificial Spinal Disc
Photo by Rama
_It seems like every couple of years, someone comes running into my office asking me about the latest "research" on a brand new type of artificial disc.  Over the past twenty five years, I have seen so many of these products come and go that I no longer get too excited.  Most often these products are approved by the FDA amidst a Tsunami of media hoopla ---- and then a couple years later they are quietly pulled off the market ----- after using the American public as Guinea Pigs. 

It looks like it should be so simple.  "Hey Doc, why can't they just insert a rubber bushing in there where the disc should be?"  Let me explain to you a couple of reasons that these artificial discs have never worked well in the past, are not working well in the present, and will most-likely never work well in the future.

- HYDRAULICS
The disc is an avascular tissue.  This means that it has no blood supply.  When you think about the things that blood provides your cells (oxygen, nutrients, water) as well as the things it removes (toxicity, acidity, metabolic waste products), you will start to realize that for a disc not to have a blood supply is a big deal ---- a really big deal.  

So, if the disc has no blood supply, how in the world does it get the things into the disc that it needs to live, and then get rid of the waste products?  The ever-amazing Spinal Disc acts as its own pump.  If the disc is moving / functioning properly, everything works as it should. When the disc pumps, the blood-like exchange of nutrients, water, and oxygen ---- for waste products, takes place via the fluid that is pumped in and out of the disc.  And the Spinal Discs stay healthy!  But if the Spinal Discs do not move properly, bad things begin to happen, and the exchange taking place between the fluid and the ligamentous tissues of the disc becomes increasingly diminished.

- SPINAL COMPLEXITY AND PROXIMITY TO NERVES & SPINAL CORD
I will not belabor this point, but just understand that the spine and nerve system is complex.  No, that is a gross understatement.  The spine and nerve system are absurdly complex.  When surgeons go in and start cutting, chiseling, stapling, screwing, wiring, bolting, drilling, pinning, sawing, and who-knows-what-else, you not only end up with a boatload of SCAR TISSUE, you end up with a literal grab-bag of potential side effects and problems ---- frequently permanent!  I understand that there is a time and place for spinal surgery.  However, even some of the most respected Neurosurgeons in the business claim that these surgeries are about 500 times more common than they should be (HERE).

WHY WOULD YOU NOT TRY CONSERVATIVE METHODS LIKE SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY FIRST?
I ask this question every time I talk to a patient who has already had 2 or 3 spinal surgeries, but is telling me that they will do absolutely anything I tell them to if I could just help relive some of their pain.  You may have already heard this because its been in the news for the past several years, but several medical studies have confirmed that rehabilitation for low back pain works just as well as disc replacement surgery (read that again and let it sink in).  Recently, publishing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), researchers added to the evidence for effective rehabilitation, stating that the results are similar to surgery but without the risks.  It's still a roll of the dice; the only difference is that if conservative methods do not work, you are not out anything but time and money (approximately 2-3% of the cost of a Spinal Fusion).  Spinal Decompression Therapy may not always work, but it's not going to ruin your life!

Disc replacement surgery involves removing DEGENERATIVE DISCS or HERNIATED DISCS and replacing them with Titanium or Stainless Steel endplates and a polymerized core whose purpose is to "try" and act like the soft and pliable Nucleus Pulposus of a Spinal Disc.  As you might imagine, neither bone nor hardened metals have the ability to act similarly to the jelly of the nucleus!

More risks?  Another recent study published in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) stated that the risks of Disc Replacement Surgery are "enormous", including:
•A re-operation rate of 5-10%,
•Vascular injury rate of 5-10%
•Possible amputation due to vascular injury
And that's in the first year!  As time goes on, the problem gets worse.  When questioned, most doctors will admit that even "successful" Spinal Fusions only last about a decade before wearing out the discs above and below the surgery!

GULP! 
Other well known risks include: allergies to the material the fake disc is made from,  breaking the fake disc, failure for the whole mess to actually fuse once the fake disc is implanted, slippage can occur that will dramatically alter biomechanics, and on and on and on.  This does not even get into the problem of repeat surgeries.  When two vertebrae are fused, there is abnormal motion (too little) at the fusion.  However, there is also now abnormal motion at the discs above and below the fusion site (too much motion).  Unfortunately, abnormal motion is the chief cause of DISC DEGENERATION.  This is why Spinal Fusions (which themselves create seriously abnormal mechanical function of the disc) actually create the need for repeat Spinal Surgeries ---- fusions at the levels both above and below the surgically altered discs.  Which itself creates further abnormalities of motion.  It's that vicious cycle again!  But hey, if you're a Spinal Surgeon, it's great job security!

Then there is a significant chance of nerve or spinal cord injury, as well as the common surgical risks associated with anesthesia and infection.  If you think that the threat of infection is not real with a fusion (plates, pins, wires, and screws are implanted in your spine), go online and see what the medical community is saying about the infection rate for people who are having stainless steel or titanium implanted permanently into their bodies!  My brother (an MD) thought he was going to have to have a Spinal Fusion, and the thought terrified him.  Why?  The threat of infection when metal is surgically implanted into the human body.


SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY FOR THOSE SUFFERING WITH CHRONIC SEVERE SPINE PAIN
Why should a person with chronic low back pain consider Spinal Decompression Therapy for their low back or neck? Our experience as well as the experience of millions of patients world-wide prove that Spinal Decompression Therapy is a great alternative to surgery for many chronic low back or neck pain patients.  It carries almost no risk, and typically patients START SEEING RESULTS EARLY IN THE PROGRAM!   In short, surgery not only misses the root problem, it often messes people up and leaves them wondering what to do and where to turn.  Don't be "that person".

If this blog hits pretty close to home, my best suggestion for you would be to call Tracy and set up an appointment for a free consultation with Doctor Schierling.  If you are a candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy, he will tell you.  IF YOU ARE NOT, he will tell you that also.  Call (417) 934-6337 today.

 
 
_Mountain View, Missouri (West Plains / Willow Springs / Winona / Cabool / Summersville) ---- Spinal Decompression Doctor, Russell Schierling, presents another blog article on Spinal Decompression Therapy.

THINKING ABOUT SPINAL SURGERY?
THINK AGAIN!

_Unnecessary Spinal Surgery:
A Prospective 1-year Study of One Surgeon's Experience

_In June of 2011, the medical journal Surgical Neurology International published a paper by
Dr. Nancy Hood of the Department of Neurological Surgery, The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.  The paper was called "Unnecessary" Spinal Surgery: A Prospective 1-Year Study of One Surgeon's Experience.  The study's abstract is below.  If you are one of those thinking about a spinal surgery, read this first!  And absolutely stick around for the comments by the readers (neurosurgeons).



ABSTRACT:
Background: There are marked disparities in the frequency of spinal surgery performed within the United States over time, as well as across different geographic areas. One possible source of these disparities is the criteria for surgery.

Methods: During a one-year period [November 2009-October 2010], the senior author, a neurosurgeon, saw 274 patients for cervical and lumbar spinal, office consultations. A patient was assigned to the "unnecessary surgery" group if they were told they needed spinal surgery by another surgeon, but exhibited pain alone without neurological deficits and without significant abnormal radiographic findings [dynamic X-rays, MR scans, and/or CT scans].

Results: Of the 274 consults, 45 patients were told they needed surgery by outside surgeons, although their neurological and radiographic findings were not abnormal. An additional 2 patients were told they needed lumbar operations, when in fact the findings indicated a cervical operation was necessary. These 47 patients included 21 [23.1%] of 91 patients with cervical complaints, and 26 [14.2%] of 183 patients with lumbar complaints. The 21 planned cervical operations included 1-4 level anterior diskectomy/fusion [18 patients], laminectomies/fusions [2 patients], and a posterior cervical diskectomy [1 patient]. The 26 planned lumbar operations involved single/multilevel posterior lumbar interbody fusions: 1-level [13 patients], 2-levels [7 patients], 3-levels [3 patients], 4-levels [2 patients], and 5-levels [1 patient]. In 29 patients there were one or more overlapping comorbidities.

Conclusions: During a one-year period, 47 [17.2%] of 274 spinal consultations seen by a single neurosurgeon were scheduled for "unnecessary surgery".



COMMENTS BY READERS:

The first thing you must remember is that the people who read this journal are neurosurgeons.  Neurosurgeons are some of the brightest and most well-paid physicians on the planet.  However, they are not above the problems that plague the medical community as a whole.

I have been practicing spinal surgery in Japan since 1980.....  Through the communication with friends practicing neurosurgery in the US and with information from journals and meetings, I have noticed many different points in the rate and method of spinal surgery in the US and the other countries including Japan.  As pointed out by the author, "unnecessary" spinal surgery was 17.2% in spinal consultation for the second opinion and overlapping comorbidities are as many as 29 out of 47 (62%).

Significant increase of the rate of spinal surgery is attributed mainly to the development of diagnostic tools and operative techniques and implants in addition to increasing aged population in most countries [ (HERE & HERE) ]. However, the situation in the US seems to be a little bit different because of unusually high rate of spinal surgery.  I am afraid that "unnecessary" spinal surgery and also "oversurgery" may be related to the money-oriented society which will subsequently jack up the medical costs and increase the rate of malpractice insurance.

-Dr. Hiroshi Nakagawa.  Professor Emeritus Aichi Medical University.  Nagoya, Japan


_Experienced and respected spinal surgeons regularly debate in conference forums how to manage specific cases. Disagreement on what to do, when to do it, and how to do it occurs more frequently than consensus. These debates highlight the deficiencies in our knowledge and understanding of degenerative, inflammatory, and mechanical spinal pathology. It is not surprising that the author came to a different conclusion in almost a fifth of the cases and it could be that a portion of these patients really could be managed with or without surgery. However, that cannot be true for all. The real message here is that there are surgeons recommending procedures without identifying the causative factor.

Most of these procedures involved fusion which is more aggressive both biologically and economically as compared to nonoperative management or simple decompressions.  Fusion was recommended for all of the lumbar procedures and half of these procedures were multilevel. The evidence supporting multilevel lumbar fusion for axial pain is very weak and even if the authors missed some cases of facet arthropathy this entity does not require a multilevel fusion.

-Dr. Vincent C. Traynelis, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL


_This series includes psychiatric patients, cases without radiological precision and a predominance of "fusions" justified essentially on the notion of "instability" whose criteria are not established [8] . The results of this kind of surgical procedure are poor with a significant morbidity leading to a therapeutic and financial higher bid. This article challenges: either the surgeons are inefficient or they are driven by commercialism. The first assumption seems unlikely considering that their technicality has been validated by various examinations and competitions. The second assumption can be retained.  The US spent approximately $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007. [10] Health care costs doubled from 1996 to 2006. [9] The incidence of spinal fusion procedures increased from 60,973 cases in 1993 to 350,754 cases in 2007. [11]

-Gilbert Dechambenoit .  Health Economist, Boulogne, France


_Unnecessary --- A strong 'statement' - particularly if coming from one professional criticizing another. Although, I fundamentally agree with the principles addressed by the author, I question the validity of the methodology employed to justify such. Let's face it, we (Neurosurgeons) collectively do far too much spine surgery. The most challenging aspect of the 'unnecessary spine surgery discussion', however, is the clarification of the definition of 'unnecessary'. Unfortunately, what is 'unnecessary' to some, may be 'necessary' to others.

Dr. Edward Benzel.  Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, Cleveland Clinic



_This paper is interesting in that virtually every neurosurgeon has had similar experiences to a greater or lesser degree. There are three reasons for unnecessary spinal fusions: greed, ignorance and stupidity. To illustrate this are situations that I have come across in my 46 years in practice.

Greed: A hospital reviewing surgical procedures noted that a significant number of patients scheduled for anterior lumbar interbody fusions did not meet criteria. The committee requested that any spine surgeon contemplating this surgery had to have the chart reviewed by another spine surgeon at that hospital. ALIF procedures dropped by 75%. Greed is not a malady of just spine surgeons. The same committee began to investigate cardiac catheterizations, which had a very high rate of normal studies. This is a big money maker for a hospital. The solution for the administration was to disband the committee. Most physicians will remember the number of cataract operations that were being done on nursing home residents, many of whom were confined to wheelchairs. At that time Medicare paid $1800 per eye - a gold mine for the ophthalmologist. Medicare solved the problem by reducing the fee to $600. And then there is the greed of the medical supply company. When the spine surgeons in a hospital were requested by the administration to utilize one or two pedicle screws determined by bid, all the companies suddenly cut the price in half - for screws that nobody would pay $50 for at the Home Depot.

Ignorance: As this paper also notes, the wrong operation is sometimes suggested. For another example is the middle-aged lady who was told by a spine surgeon she needed a four level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for degenerative disease reported on MRI. Her complaint was radiating pain into her left forefinger. She sought out a second opinion. This spine surgeon noted weakness of the left triceps and reviewed the MRI, which showed a foraminal ruptured disc at left C6-C7 and missed by the radiologist. The problem was resolved by simple discectomy. The primary surgeon failed to listen to the patient, examine her adequately and put too much faith in the radiologist.

Stupidity: I guess we all do something that in retrospect we realize was probably stupid. But this case I think has to be a classic. A well-respected spine surgeon was challenged for having, over the period of a few years, fused every vertebrae but one in a patient. When challenged, his answer was that 'the patient wanted it'. I hope that a physician can have a better reason for treating a patient than that.

The big problem is greed. I hate to say it but most neurosurgeons want to do spine surgery because, at this time, it is lucrative. What is the solution - and there will be one. Either we solve the problem or the government will. I suggest that every hospital doing spine fusions establish a review committee to which the chart on every patient to be scheduled for fusion is reviewed to be sure that appropriate criteria are met. I suspect that this will reduce spine fusions by 20% or more. If we continue to ignore the problem then the government will step in, in a global fashion, by severely cutting the reimbursement for spinal fusion to the point that it will not pay to do that operation. Or worse, we will all be employees of the hospital or government.

Dr. Harold D. Portnoy.  Director, The Hydrocephalus Clinic, St. Joseph Mercy, Pontiac, MI

_ 8.  2- Katz JN. Lumbar spinal fusion. Surgical rates, costs, and complications. Spine 1995;20(24 Suppl):78S-83S. 
9.
  Orszag PR: Growth in Health Care Costs: Testimony before the Committee on the Budget, United States Senate, January 31, 2008. (http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=8948) [Accessed March 10, 2010] 
10. 
US Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: National Health Expenditure Data for 2007. (http://www.cms.hhs.gov/National- HealthExpendData/02_NationalHealthAccounts Historical. asp#TopOfPage) [Accessed March 10, 2010] 
11.
  Walcott BP, Hanak BW, Caracci JR, Redjal NR, Nahed BV, Kahle K T Coumans JV. Trends in inpatient setting laminectomy for excision of herniated intervertebral disc: population-based estimates from the US nationwide inpatient sample. Surg Neurol Int 2011;2:7  


If you are contemplating your doctor's suggestion to have surgery on your spine, get a second opinion.  And then get a third opinion.  And unless it's some sort of rare medical emergency such a Cauda Equina Syndrome, please at least talk to me.  Call (417) 934-6337 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to see WHETHER YOU MIGHT BE A GOOD CANDIDATE for Spinal Decompression Therapy.
 
 
_Mountain View, Missouri (West Plains / Willow Springs / Winona / Cabool / Summersville) ---- Spinal Decompression Doctor, Russell Schierling, presents another blog article on Spinal Decompression Therapy.

DO YOU REALLY WANT A SPINAL SURGERY?
_
Spinal Surgery is a leading surgical procedure in America, with the total number in the U.S. approaching half a million per year.  About 150,000 of those surgeries are spinal fusions. Unfortunately, at least 50 percent of all spinal surgery patients will ultimately fail to to achieve their desired outcome.  In fact, research says that a minimum of 10% of patients will be worse after the initial surgery (I think this number is at least 15% too low).   And then comes the suggestion for yet another spinal surgery.

Spinal structures including bones, nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, are packed in very close to one another.  Because surgery in the spine is itself physically stressful, it can weaken and destabilize the area even further.   As a result of surgery, structures that have not been removed can become damaged or mechanically stressed, frequently becoming a new source of pain and degeneration.

Surgery will always result in some amount of scar tissue build up (HERE). If the scar tissue itself forms near any nerves, it becomes still another source of pressure and pain.  This does not even take into account that scar tissue has the potential to be 1,000 times more pain sensitive than normal tissue!  Since disc surgery takes place near inflamed and irritated nerves, there is a great possibility that the nerves will be damaged further during the procedure. If this happens, there will be even more pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, stiffness, and other problems ---- even beyond what you are already dealing with now.

Low back surgery also requires the use of anesthesia which can result in other medical risks including death.

One of the huge problems facing patients today is infection.  Due to ANTIBIOTIC OVERUSE, superbugs roam the hallways and operating rooms of America's hospitals.  My brother (an MD) thought he was going to have to have a Lumbar Fusion Surgery a few years ago.  He and his wife (also an MD) were genuinely freaked out at the prospect of having hardware inserted in his spine.  When questioned about this, their answer was "infection".

Spinal surgeries also require large recovery times...   time away from work, which most patients cannot afford. Recovery time can be anywhere from 6 weeks for a laminectomy to over a year for Spinal Fusion.

Even if the surgery is successful in and of itself, and even if no procedure-related problems actually occur; there is a high probability that within 2 to 5 years, another surgery will be needed to fix the levels above and below the targeted levels of the first surgery (a fact that any doctor will verify).  Once you go down this road of surgery, you will increase the chance that you will need further surgeries in the future.  And if you have studied this issue out and realize the odds are not great for your first spinal surgery to work well, go online and look at the odds of doing well with a second or third spinal surgery.  They're literally in the toilet!


What does an Honest Spinal Surgeon have to say about Spinal Surgery?

What does that same Surgeon have to say about Spinal Decompression Therapy?

"I make my living doing surgery but the answer I give my patient is you do not need surgery. In fact, if you look at the literature on herniated discs, patients who don't have surgery and patients who do have surgery feel about the same after one year. There is no significant difference between the two group.......   As a surgeon, I only want to do surgery when I absolutely have to. Spinal Decompression Therapy gives my patients a more conservative treatment option that can eliminate the need for surgery altogether, and that's a very good thing".  Pain management pioneer, Dr. Hubert Rosomoff, MD, discussing the 50,000 Failed Back Surgery Syndrome cases seen each year in America.  During this lecture to the American Academy of Pain Management Symposium, he gave his opinion on Spinal Surgery.  Dr. Rosomoff believes that Spinal Surgery is warranted in only 1 in 500 cases.  Gulp!



As Dr. Rosomoff (a neurosurgeon) stated, surgery may be appropriate for a selected few patients ---- 1 in 500.  If you are considering surgery, I would literally beg you to first exhaust the alternatives, including Spinal Decompression Therapy. 

If you think that I am over-hyping the large numbers of potential problems that people have with spinal surgery, I would issue you a simple challenge.  Search the internet message boards concerning back surgery (HERE).  Better yet, find 10 people who have had the same spinal surgery that doctors are pushing you to have and talk with them.  If you find 3 out of 10 who are happy with their surgery, I will be surprised. 

To find out if you are a candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy, simply CONTACT OUR OFFICE at (417) 934-6337 to schedule a free consultation with Doctor Schierling.  He will sit down with you, talk with you, review your medical records, evaluate your unique situation, and determine whether or not Spinal Decompression Therapy could possibly help you.

Spinal Decompression Therapy is a viable option to surgery for many spinal problems, including the following...
  • RUPTURED or HERNIATED DISCS (HERE)
  • SCIATICA (HERE)
  • DEGENERATIVE DISCS (HERE)
  • SPINAL STENOSIS (HERE)
  • FACET SYNDROME (HERE)
  • RADICULOPATHY
  • CHRONIC SPINE PAIN
Listen, in over two decades of practice, I have seen more people completely ruin their lives with Spinal Surgery than you could shake a stick at!  But don't take my word for it.  Talk to people who have had the same surgery that doctors are recommending for you.  Get on the internet message boards.  Go to "Google" and do the research yourself ---- it's not difficult. 

Call (417) 934-6337 to set up a completely free, no-obligation consultation with Dr. Schierling to find out whether or not Spinal Decompression Therapy MIGHT BE RIGHT FOR YOU.
 
 
_Mountain View, Missouri (West Plains / Willow Springs / Winona / Cabool / Summersville) ---- Spinal Decompression Doctor, Russell Schierling, presents another blog article on Spinal Decompression Therapy.

THINKING ABOUT SPINAL SURGERY?
THINK TWICE!


Spinal Decompression Therapy
Image by Lucien Monfils
_Published in a Feb 2011 issue of the journal Spine (HERE), researchers reviewed records from 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Database who had the diagnosis of Disc Herniation, Disc Degeneration or Radiculopathy ---- a nerve condition that causes numbness, tingling and / or weakness of the limbs (usually called "sciatica" in the legs, or "brachial neuralgia" in the arms). Half of the patients had surgery to fuse two or more vertebrae together in hopes of curing the pain. The other half had no surgery.  What were the results?

After two years, just one fourth of those who had surgery had actually returned to work. That’s compared to 67 percent of patients who didn’t have surgery being able to return to work ------- even though everyone from both groups had the exact same diagnoses!   In another troubling finding, the same researchers determined that in the Spinal Surgery group there was a 41 percent increase in the use of prescription painkillers, particularly addictive and dangerous opiates (narcotics).  If you follow my blog, you are already aware that Hydrocodone is the #1 prescription drug in America, and that deaths from addictive painkillers have doubled in the last 10 years (HERE).

What does this Worker's Comp Study on Back Problems tell us?  Something that many in the medical community (particularly the medical research community) have known for over three decades.  “The study provides clear evidence that for many patients, fusion surgeries designed to alleviate pain from degenerating discs don’t work”.  This quote was by the study’s lead author, Dr. Trang Nguyen, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

The October 14, 2010 of the Daily Hit described what some of the people in similar situations are going through.  Just a month after back surgery, Nancy Scatena was again in excruciating pain. The medications her doctor prescribed barely took the edge off the unrelenting back aches and searing jolts down her left leg. “The pain just kept intensifying,” stated the 52-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., woman who suffers from SPINAL STENOSIS, a narrowing of the channel through which spinal nerves pass. “I was suicidal.”  Finally, Scatena made an appointment with another surgeon, one whom she had heard called a “miracle worker.” The new doctor assured her that this second operation would fix everything, and in the pain-free weeks following an operation to fuse two of her vertebrae it seemed that he was right. But then the pain came roaring back.  Is Nanci's case an aberration, or is it closer to the norm.  Unfortunately, it's ridiculously common!


SUCCESS RATES OF SPINAL SURGERY

It is interesting to note the numbers thrown around on the internet concerning the success rates of back surgery.  Although study after study shows that the success rates for major spinal surgeries are in the toilet, the internet is crammed full of page after page after page of websites touting its effectiveness (usually in the 75-85% range).  Virtually all of these sites just happen to be owned by Orthopedists and Neurosurgeons.  But is there really that big of a financial incentive to perform unnecessary back surgeries?  Never forget that "Money Talks"!   By all accounts, doctors who are doing back surgery are, as a group, some of the most well-compensated doctors in the country.

Dr. Charles Rosen of University of California, Irvine has called for the resignation of leaders of the North American Spine Society (NASS) because of corruption and blatant financial conflicts of interest.  He showed that some of these industry leaders receive, "hundreds of thousands – even millions of dollars in incentives from companies that manufacture spinal devices".  Continuing Education courses put on by the NASS are attended by thousands upon thousands of spine surgeons every year, with many being nothing more than glorified advertisements for various drugs and medical devices.  This is not anything new ---- USA Today ran a story on this sort of thing earlier this year.

The fact that we cannot trust the individuals who sell us drugs and medical advices is not any sort of new revelation.  Not only did I run a couple of recent Blog Posts on the multi-billion dollar fines that were recently paid by both Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (HERE), but I also wrote a post showing how even the medical guidelines and standards of care have been hijacked by leaders of the medical profession, and severely tainted by financial conflicts (HERE). You don't say! 

Renowned neurosurgeon Arron Filler, MD, Ph.D recently had this to say on this matter of being able to trust medical guidelines concerning the guidelines for implants and instruments used in spinal surgeries ---- guidelines that the public is totally unaware are nothing more than advertisements for their products because they have been bought and paid for by the highest bidders.

"Formal scientific publications on a new type of spinal device had revealed extraordinarily high success rates and explicitly reported “zero” device-related complications. However, a separate study in the very same medical journal involving only surgeons with no financial interest revealed an unusually high rate of “device related” complications and failures (HERE)...  The occurrence of unusual new types of complications and the need for re-operations were often due to the device implants. Patients could be harmed by the device with no prospect of benefit.   Differences in reported scientific results seemed to reflect the difference between conflicted versus non-conflicted investigators.

Many surgeons receive manufacturer funds to attend training meetings in places like Vail, Cancun and Las Vegas, advertised as academic medical education events. I recently organized a session at one such meeting that brought in several nationally respected neurosurgeons to teach new diagnostic techniques and treatments to reduce the use of implants. Meeting sponsors from the device industry objected and the session was cancelled. How is this sort of training bias disclosed to the patients of those doctors?

What does Dr Filler suggest in response to what is going on in his profession?  Something that is so impractical and difficult as to be nearly impossible to get doctors to comply with.

This means that any time a spinal surgeon recommends a surgery that involves an implant, the patient should obtain a disclosure from the surgeon revealing financial interests (investment, “research funding,” free travel or industry sponsored conferences, paid consulting arrangements, paid dinners, or other financial benefits outside of the surgical fees).

Are you angry yet?  If you are one of those who has had back surgery or is thinking about a back surgery, you should be downright p_ _ _ _ d!  Experts estimate that well over half a million Americans opt for back operations each year. But for many, research has shown that spinal surgeries frequently backfire, leaving them in more pain than they were before.  Don't believe me?  Look around you.  Talk to 10 people who have already had back surgery and see what they have to say about the matter.  Sure, there are people that are helped by back surgery.  It's not the norm!  Particularly with invasive "fusion" type surgeries.



Nearly 30 Million American Adults Suffer With Back Problems
The governmental organization, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, found that in 2007, twenty-seven million adults reported back problems.  They (or their insurance companies ---- often times the American tax payer via Medicare & Medicaid) spent a whopping $30.3 billion on treatments to help with the pain. While some of that money is spent on physical therapy, chiropractor visits, and other non invasive forms of treatment, a big chunk pays for spinal surgeries ---- surgeries that simply don't work.

We learned two years ago that a popular spinal surgery for degeneration and compressions (Vertebroplasty ---- injecting "cement" into bad vertebrate) was proven to be NO BETTER THAN PLACEBO.  This certainly has not slowed this procedure down any!  And it is considered to be a "non-invasive" spinal surgery.  But what about the more invasive spinal surgeries? 

As I reported HERE, complicated spine surgeries that involve fusing vertebrae together are increasing dramatically --- particularly in the geriatric population.  In just 15 years, there was an eight-fold increase in this type of operation, according to a study published in the journal Spine in July of 2009.  Although you would not know it from talking with your local doctor, this news has many medical researchers and public health experts alarmed.  So what's a person suffering with back problems to do! 

Let me simply say that for those of you suffering with severe and chronic back problems, don't even think about a starting point that includes spinal surgery.  Look into the increasingly popular Spinal Decompression Therapy.  Spinal Decompression Therapy has been shown by NUMEROUS STUDIES to be both an effective and cost-effective way of managing the pain associated with DEGENERATIVE DISCS as well as SPINAL STENOSIS --- not to mention HERNIATED DISCS, SCIATICA, or FACET SYNDROME

To learn more about our specific SPINAL DECOMPRESSION PROTOCOL for these and other similar problems, please browse our site    Better yet, go HERE to check out our latest testimonial videos on Spinal Decompression Therapy.  Call (417) 934-6337 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Dr. Schierling to find out whether you MIGHT BE A GOOD CANDIDATE for Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression.