I’ve Had Back Surgery – Can I Still See a Chiropractor?

If you’ve had back surgery, including disk fusions, you may be concerned about seeing a chiropractor. You may be concerned about potential damage to your back from spinal manipulations and other chiropractic techniques. But done properly, chiropractic care is safe. Not only that, it can help you a great deal.

Talk to your MD and Your Chiropractor

There is sometimes a perception that traditional medical care and chiropractic care are two different worlds. Sometimes patients tend to avoid discussing their chiropractic treatments with their surgeon or other MDs, and vice-versa. However, if you’ve had surgery (or are considering it), you need to be extremely open in having those discussions. You may be surprised to find that chiropractors do refer patients to MDs, and MDs sometimes recommend chiropractic care. The two disciplines complement each other.

While you should follow the specific advice given by your chiropractor and your MD, here are some general rules:

  • It’s generally recommended to wait up to a year or so before having spinal manipulations done after a disk fusion or a revision to an earlier surgical procedure involving the back.
  • Spinal manipulations involving rotation of the spine may not be recommended after a disk fusion. 
  • Your chiropractor may need to use less force when doing manipulations than usual. Chiropractors are highly trained in varying the degree of force that they apply.

Your Chiropractor Can Help You Focus on Recovery

As your body adjusts to and heals from back surgery, your chiropractor can be your partner to help you recover and reduce or eliminate pain. There are a number of exercises he or she can show you to strengthen the muscles around your spine, like pelvic tilt and lift exercises. There are also some therapies that your chiropractor can offer that involve little or no force. These options have given many patients good results. For example, flexion distraction is a technique that gently moves your lower back in a rhythmic motion. It’s been shown to decompress vertebra and improve circulation in your spine.

These are some of the options that your chiropractor could explore with you if you’re a back surgery patient and are still in need of pain relief. If you’re considering back surgery but haven’t had it yet, it would also be worthwhile to discuss some therapeutic options with your chiropractor before you go under the knife. Back surgery does not always relieve all of your pain, and chiropractic options might delay or avoid the need for having surgery at all.

Resources:

Wikipedia, Chiropractic Care

Ameriwell Clinics, Chiropractic Adjustment Riverdale, MD

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