Michigan City Indiana car accident lawyer discusses a recent article in the Spine Journal that looks at the outcome of surgical versus non-surgical patients with discogenic pain.
Initially, let me give you a little primer on pain generators of back pain. The disc itself can generate pain. This is called discogenic pain. Some researchers believe the pain is mediated by chemical processes in the disc that irritate the nerves that actual innervate the disc itself.
Additionally, a disc injury causing herniation or protrusion where the disc balloons out and pushes on a nerve (causing sciatica or radiculopathy) is another way that a disc problem can generate pain in patients.
In this article, researchers from Dartmouth University compared the outcomes of 495 chronic back pain patients who either had non-surgical or surgical care. At baseline, the surgical patients were in worse shape than the non-surgical patients. 86 of the 495 patients had surgery. The procedures included fusion, disc replacement, laminectomy and discectomy. The one year success rate was 33% for surgical patients versus 15% for the non-surgical patients. The authors cautioned that this was a short term study looking at the outcomes.
In my years as a chiropractor and then a lawyer, I have followed 100s of folks who decided to undergo surgery for back pain. In my world, the patients or clients who have done well with surgery had an acute injury with little neurological compromise. The folks with chronic pain did not do as well. I question what the outcome in the above study will be when these patients are followed in 5 years.
If you've been injured in a Michigan City Indiana accident and you are looking at surgery, your case will be worth more money; however, you should explore all the risks and long term outcomes with your doctors.