Knifed in the back

Lynne McTaggart

Every year, half a million Americans undergo surgery for low back problems alone, at a cost of more than $11 billion.

For the most part, the surgeries are for herniated (or slipped) discs, where a disc tears, some of its gelatinous insides come out, and the disc starts to bulge.
The other major condition landing people at the surgeon’s door is spinal stenosis, caused by slipped discs or arthritis. In this case, the spinal canal begins to narrow, pinching the spinal cord or the nerves branching off to various parts of the body, and causing pain, tingling or numbness in your arms or legs, depending where the pinch occurs on the spine.
With our sedentary lives, pinched nerves affect more than 10 percent of the population, particularly those over 50.
Consequently, the most common procedure for pinched spinal nerves in the lower back is laminectomy, where the surgeon removes certain bony arches on vertebrae, or bony growths or ligaments, in order to relieve pressure on nerve roots.
Otherwise, there’s a coterie of more drastic solutions: disc replacements, spinal fusion, where two vertebrae are essentially surgically locked together, or even removal of chunks of vertebrae or nerves.
Disastrous statistics
But even surgeons, when they’re being honest, admit that if there’s one area in the body where surgery should be the very last resort, it’s your spine.
One-fifth of patients leave surgery with what is known as a ‘failed back,’ meaning they are in constant pain and there’s nothing medicine can do about it.
Professor Gordon Waddell, one of the UK’s top orthopedic surgeons, once estimated that medicine achieves dramatic surgical successes in only 1 percent of patients with low back pain and fails the other 99 percent, who get progressively worse with every intervention, “leaving more tragic human wreckage in its wake than any other operation in history.”
Take slipped discs. A major Cochrane review of the evidence found, despite a slight advantage for surgically removing all or part of a disc, that any positive or negative effects were “unclear,” and a number of patients suffered a recurrence and need for yet more surgery.
The jury was also out on surgery for pinched spinal nerves. When the Cochrane database reviewed all the major studies comparing surgery for the condition with conservative management, the researchers found very little benefit to surgery, but side-effects in up to nearly a quarter of patients opting to go under the knife.
The evidence on spinal fusion was particularly damning. In one 2010 study of nearly 1,500 patients with disc degeneration, herniation, or pinched nerves, after surgery, one-third had complications, more than a tenth were permanently disabled, and more than a quarter required another operation.
And clearly the operations didn’t relieve pain, as three-quarters of the patients continued to take opiate drugs after their surgeries.
Only about a quarter were able to return to work, compared with more than two-thirds of those who did not have surgery.
These were the batting averages facing Sally Lansdale when her back pain, which had started in her youth, got progressively worse, particularly after a series of accidents left her with a herniated disc. Although the pain was becoming intolerable, as a British osteopath, she had seen first-hand the disastrous outcomes that often result from surgery.
21st century traction
Luckily, she heard of a fairly new treatment called intervertebral differential dynamics (IDD) therapy—a 21st century version of traction—where a patient is placed on a movable bed and the affected vertebrae strapped in.
Besides, slipped and degenerated discs, it’s also used for such things as sciatica and facet disease, affecting the little joints at the side of each vertebrae that help them to move.
Sally decided to give it a try. After a series of treatments, the disc slid back into place, and she hasn’t looked back.
A similar situation occurred with Natasha, a London hairdresser with pinched spinal nerves causing pain in some areas and such severe numbness in one leg that she was constantly falling down. Things were getting so bad that she thought she might have to give up work.
Happily, she also came across IDD therapy. Although her series of treatments took the good part of a year, eventually her symptoms were completely resolved.
IDD therapy joins a growing list of treatments, including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, using a concentrated form of the patient’s own blood, prolozone (the use of ozone) and stem cell therapy, that are low-risk, less invasive and far more successful than surgery for slipped discs and pinched nerves.
May you check out this innovative technique before becoming yet another of Professor Waddell’s statistics.

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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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8 comments on “Knifed in the back”

  1. Yes for collapsed discs traction helps - and also tincture of time. When a disk collapses the nerve exiting from between the vertebrae gets pinched resulting in pain and impairment. Over time the channel through which the nerve passes - an indentation in the vertebra called the "foramen" - is remodeled, relieving the pinch. This does take years, but is better than failed surgery. Meanwhile use traction.

  2. You should lokk at theralogy treatment using biophotons, a new therapy without any side effects, and curing the cause of such problems

  3. I urge some of my clients with chronic pain to buy the book "Pain Free" from Pete Egoscue. His method has helped me (and my clients) release pain, from carpal tunnel, to knee, to back to ankle.

  4. The most compelling and well documented work
    I am aware of for complete elimination of back pain (IBS , migraines. Sciatica, gastrointestinal distress, even fibromyalgia) when properly diagnosed by physicians trained in “this” work—able to determine that root cause in not structural based on nerve pathways and location of pain etc,—including other similarly related experiences with asthma, hay fever—as opposed to protruding disks, stenosis even though they show up on MRI, is John Sarno’s seminal mind-body work of many years as director of rehabilitative surgery in NYC at Rusk Institute of Rehabilitative Medicine as documented in his books including Healing Back Pain: The Mind Body Connection ( “Without drugs, without surgery, without exercise, back pain can be stopped forever”
    This work involves complete acceptance of the well-demonstrated mind-body premise about repressed feelings of anger and anxiety, as well as
    defiance of symptoms re minds strategy to protect from uncomfortable feelings— in fact repress and distract with pain which despite MRI assessment, and also requires a self assessment of personality contributors like conscientiousness, need for achievement and more...

  5. I would like to know if this therapy is done in The Netherlands and perhaps through a physiotherapist or osteopath? I have tried just about everything for lower back pain for years, but I will not have an operation. I hope someone can inform me? Thx Lynn for your info and more.

  6. Good information. I would thoroughly investigate alternatives to traditional medicine especially calling for surgery. I was supposed to have meniscus surgery & instead had PRP injections. 90% better!! Also had my own stem cells injected in my arthritic knee with 85% improvement. Research

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