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


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!


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.

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

_In the April 2010 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), several doctors from Portland Oregon's Health and Science University published a study called Trends, Major Medical Complications, and Charges Associated with Surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis in Older Adults.

The truth is, when it comes to back surgeries, even a significant number of doctors and surgeons admit that there is a serious lack of evidence-based support for more complicated and risky Spinal Fusion Surgeries that are commonly done for elderly stenosis patients. There is, however, a significant financial incentive to both hospitals and surgeons to perform lots of these low back fusions.

SPINAL STENOSIS (the typically age-related narrowing of the spinal canal --- usually due to to enlarging thickening of the ligaments inside the spinal canal --- usually Ligamentum Flavum) is the most frequent cause for spinal surgery in the elderly.  Although there was a slight overall decrease in spinal surgeries between 2002 and 2007, there was an utterly shocking 1,500% increase in spinal fusions.   Could this massive increase in a dangerous and typically-ineffective spinal surgery be just about the money?  Many doctors believe it is.

The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that,"It is unclear why more complex operations are increasing. It seems implausible that the number of patients with the most complex spinal pathology increased 15-fold in just 6 years. The introduction and marketing of new surgical devices and the influence of key opinion leaders may stimulate more invasive surgery, even in the absence of new indications…   financial incentives to hospitals and surgeons for more complex procedures may play a role…

There is a significant difference in average hospital costs for simple decompression spinal surgery versus complex surgical fusion. The cost of the less invasive surgery is $23,724 compared to an average of $80,888 for a spinal fusion.  Despite the much higher cost, there is no scientific evidence of superior outcomes.  And while there are significant risks associated with the cheaper surgery, there are much greater risks of adverse events associated with the spinal fusion.  So why perform these surgeries?  Can anyone say "MONEY"?  The surgeon is typically reimbursed $600 to $800 for the less invasive back surgeries and approximately ten times more ($6,000 to $8,000) for the complex fusions.

In an accompanying JAMA editorial written by Dr. Carragee of Stanford University School of Medicine, the following comment was made. “In 2007, the final year of data reported in the study, Consumer Reports [the magazine] rated spinal surgery as number 1 on its list of overused tests and treatments. This was a harsh rebuke.....   The findings from the study should not only remind patients, surgeons, and payors that the efficacy of basic spinal techniques must be assessed carefully against the plethora of unproven but financially attractive alternatives, but also should serve as an important reminder that as currently configured, financial incentives and market forces do not favor this careful assessment before technologies are widely adopted. When applied broadly across medical care in the United States, the result is a formidable economic and social problem.”  Thanks Dr. C.  But why don't we just call a spade a spade and admit to the general population (in plain English) that it is becoming increasingly difficult to trust anyone in the medical field?  There is just too much money as stake (HERE)!

Spinal surgeries, even the less invasive and cheaper ones that the article above mentions, are frequently a bust --- a bust that frequently leaves people worse off than they were before the surgery!  Even John-Q Citizen on the street knows that they rarely work like they're supposed to!  Just read the related medical studies!  Or better yet, find 10 people that you know who have had spinal surgery and ask them how they feel about their results.  I promise you that you will be lucky if 30% have good things to say.  Many people will tell you it made no difference.  Many others, like we mentioned above, will tell you they are worse because of it! 

If you are one of those folks who is struggling with chronic and debilitating spinal pain, pick up the phone and call (417) 934 -6337 to see if Spinal Decompression Therapy MIGHT BE A GOOD OPTION FOR YOU.  Dr. Schierling will sit down with you, go over your history, and review your tests.  If he thinks that Spinal Decompression Therapy will help you, he will tell you.  Unfortunately, NOT EVERYONE IS A GOOD CANDIDATE.  But if you are, the results could be life changing!

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

Spinal Decompression
DEAR DIARY:  Thank God for Dr. Schierling and his new Spinal Decompression Table!

July 4, 2007 – Well, it’s been two years to the day since I first hurt my lower back lifting a freezer bucket of homemade ice cream, and the pain has just been getting worse and worse. The pain pills which used to do the job just aren’t cutting it anymore. And now I’m having trouble just going to the movies, the grocery, bending over to work in the yard, or even sitting through church. I feel like such a bad grandparent because I haven’t picked up my grandkids in over 4 months. But I’m afraid I’ll just fall over on top of them. So, my doctor is having me sent over to our local Pain Clinic for some rehab on my back. He said to report back after I’m finished.

August 27 – Six weeks of physical therapy didn’t help me.  So now the doctor wants me to get an MRI of my lower back to see if I have any arthritis or “degeneration” that wasn’t on my x-rays last year.

September 14 – My MRI’s showed that I have two DEGENERATIVE DISCS and three HERNIATED DISCS.  He also says I am showing signs of something called SPINAL STENOSIS.  He wants to refer me to a Neurologist for more testing. I don’t know what an EMG is, but he said it will see if my nerves are causing the occasional shooting pain in my leg ---- when it’s not just aching constantly.  He called this problem SCIATICA, and that there was no simple solution for it.

October 22 – After sticking me with needles for a half hour, the Neurologist said the test was negative. But if that’s the case “Why do I hurt so bad?” He said the discs or cushions between the spinal bones may be causing all the pain just by themselves. He said I should go see a surgeon he knows in Springfield.

January 25, 2008 – I met with the Neuro-surgeon today who examined me and my MRI’s and said the damage to the discs was “too widespread” for him to operate. Now I’m really getting frustrated. But he did suggest spinal injections for pain relief.

September 18 – After the first round of injections, I was on Cloud Nine for about 4 months. The pain was almost totally gone. But the second round only lasted a couple months and the third lasted a week. The fourth and final round didn’t even last two days!  To be honest, I have heard how these shots actually CAUSE DISC DEGENERATION, and I am frankly scared to take any more of them.

May 7, 2009 – It’s been an awful year. I walk around the house with an electrical TENS unit on my back that the pain specialist ordered for me. I can only stand up for a few minutes at one time before I need to lay down.  But once I lay down, I feel like I need to be back up.  I cannot do anything or find any position that does not cause me pain.  My back and leg pain are the only thing I can think about anymore. 

September 11, 2010 –   I feel like I have become my pain.  I don’t even remember what it’s like now to have a normal life anymore. I’m up to 6 prescription medications a day now.  A nerve pill, an anti-depressant, 2 muscle relaxers, and 2 pain pills.  My doctors don't offer me any real hope.  I don't want to have surgery, because I have talked to too many people who were never the same afterwards.  My doctor told me this week he might be able to find someone willing to operate on my back; although he told me it was essentially a roll of the dice.  I am seriously thinking about it though.  I can't live like this forever.

March 14, 2011 – I called 934-6337 about some new Non-Surgical treatment for back pain. A Dr. Russell Schierling, D.C. in Mountain View has some “Decompression” machine that I read about online.   “Could it give me my life back?”  I don't want to get my hopes up.  But after watching a few of his PATIENT TESTIMONIAL VIDEOS, just maybe....    Finally, a single ray of hope.

March 18 – I set up a Free Consultation with Doctor Schierling.

March 25, 10:00 A.M.   I arrived at the office a little skeptical because I didn’t want chiropractic.  I went that route last year and it did not help me at all. I was relieved to find out that his SPINAL DECOMPRESSION PROGRAM is completely unique, and that all the paperwork, questions, and tests were designed just to find out if it might help me. While I was filling out the paperwork in the waiting room, a nice couple walked in and talked with the receptionist about how she was able to take a car ride to St. Louis without pain.  They explained that before she started the Decompression Treatments 2 weeks ago, she couldn’t ride in a car for more than 10 minutes without excruciating pain.

10:15 A.M.  I finished the history form and was led back to an office to talk with Dr Schierling.

10:30 A.M. Dr. Russ was introduced and we sat and talked about my condition in depth. He was very open and honest in saying that Spinal Decompression Therapy was not a “magic bullet” for low back pain, but for so many people it gave them their lives back when drugs, needles, and even surgery failed to help. He also said it might take a couple weeks to feel a difference. (But it's not like surgery… which may take months after the scar tissue heals just to see if your going to feel any relief.)   And he said right up front that it’s not free, but most insurances cover at least part of the program.  But if I didn’t have insurance (or if it was really bad), different payment plans were available.

We talked about the severity of my pain and how I couldn’t do the things I like doing anymore. He showed me my MRI pictures in detail, pointed out right where the damaged discs are in my back, and wasn’t afraid to answer my questions. I appreciated him explaining all the science behind how Spinal Decompression works to pull the injured discs back into place & build them back upso that they can heal, but deep down I really just wanted to know, “Do you think you can help me?”

10:55 A.M.   In the exam room, he told me to keep my clothes on since he wouldn’t be using any needles or nerve conduction “shock tests.” Instead, he thoroughly checked my reflexes, measured how far I could (or couldn’t) bend, and tested my muscle strength. (It really didn’t hurt… any more than it does to stand up or roll over in bed, anyway.) He let me know he’ll review my case and detemine if I will be accepted as a patient.

April 8 –   I was accepted as a patient last week and started treatments today. He’s the first doctor to offer hope. Today’s treatments are painless. I slept.

April 12-    I slept thru the whole night!

April 18 -  I’ve had 2 straight mornings without pain.

April 25  My pain is 80% GONE!!!  I NEVER, EVER thought I could feel like this again. It just doesn’t seem possible when you live the type of pain I had.

May 20, 2011–  I’m pain-free, I passed my Exit Exam with flying colors and even did a VIDEO TESTIMONIAL about the incredible results I've gotten!   I’ll been telling everyone I meet with low back pain about Dr. Russ Schierling and his Decompression Therapy! I also tell them they should call 934-6337 TODAY to see if they qualify for a FREE consultation. Or they can visit doc's website devoted to solely to Spinal Decompression Therapy --- SPINAL DECOMPRESSION MISSOURI.

December 9, 2011 –   UPDATE. Pain-free for over 6 months now. And I NEVER miss a day picking up my grandkids!

All you have to do to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Dr. Schierling is call (417) 934-6337Unfortunately, NOT EVERYONE IS A GOOD CANDIDATE for Spinal Decompression Therapy.  But if you are, it could change your life!

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

Spinal Decompression Therapy
Ann Landers: Photo by Alan Light

Researchers recently searched 10 computer databases for clinical trials regarding people with referred leg symptoms (SCIATICA), and MRI confirmation of a LUMBAR DISC HERNIATION.  They were specifically looking for only those suffering with low back pain and sciatica (leg pain).  The criteria to be included in this "Meta-Analysis" of forty years of scientific research?  One group received a conservative and non-injection treatment, and one did not. 

Eighteen trials involving 1671 individuals from between the years 1971 and 2008 involving 1671 participants met the study's criteria.  Utilizing the information in these studies, what was the conclusion of the researches?  Among other things, they determined that "Advice" carries the same level of effectiveness as spinal surgery at a one year follow-up.  Stop!  I don't think you caught that the first time.  Please read it again.  "Advice" is equally effective as spinal surgery at long-term (1 year) follow-up.  Gulp! 

This is not an unknown concept!

A similar study was done earlier this year, looking into ways of improving the outcome of back surgery.   Dr Allison McGregor, professor of musculoskeletal biodynamics (biomechanics), and her team of researchers at Imperial College London, looked at more than 300 patients over a six year period, hoping to answer the question, "Can post-operative exercise and rehabilitation help people to recover from back surgery? Or is up-to-date information and advice just as good?"  Sounds like a ridiculous question does it not?  Everyone knows how great rehab is.

Their conclusions?  Neither approach (post-operative exercise and rehab or "advice") makes any difference on the outcome of spinal surgery in terms of functional disability.  In other words, spinal surgery is such a crapshoot; you have just as good of chance of doing well (or poorly) if you forgo the rehab protocol and decide to watch a movie, read a pamphlet, or listen to a tape recording instead!  Nothing like some good, old-fashioned "advice" to cure a debilitating back problem!

What this should tell you is that you had better either have a darn good surgeon, or you had better be reading "Advice Columns" (like Ann Landers in the picture above) like you have never read anything else in your life!  They both have identical outcomes! Better yet, before you try back surgery (or another back surgery), look into Spinal Decompression Therapy.  It is scientifically shown to reduce the need for back surgeries by taking pressure off of injured or degenerative discs!

Call us today at (417) 934-6337 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with Dr. Schierling.  Find out if Spinal Decompression Therapy MIGHT BE A GOOD OPTION for your particular problem(s).  If so, it could change your life!