Surgery may not be your only hope!

Low back pain and knee pain are among some of the most prominent complaints that lead a patient to a doctor’s office. One option that often gets proposed is surgery. For example, someone with low back pain related to degenerative changes and disc problems may be recommended for a spinal fusion, or knee arthroscopy procedures may be recommended to repair meniscus or just to “clean things up”.


Unfortunately, there have been numerous studies to indicate that spinal fusions create no better outcomes than physical therapy exercises and core strengthening. While outcomes are similar, a spinal fusion carries significant risks such as chronic pain, blood clots and infection, and requires months of recovery time. Meniscus surgeries are one of the most common surgeries, though the efficacy has been questioned in recent studies. Additionally, there are risks that arthroscopic knee surgery can accelerate joint degeneration leading to higher chances of needing knee replacements in the future.


So why are there so many unnecessary surgeries being done? It can be related to financial incentives surgeons have to perform these procedures, It could also be that surgeons are only familiar with the tools at their disposal, and may not have as much knowledge or exposure about other options such as updated rehab strategies, chiropractic care, acupuncture, regenerative injections such as Platelet rich plasma (PRP) or Prolotherapy.


No matter the reason, if you are experiencing chronic pain or an injury, make sure you get a second opinion and do plenty of research before making a drastic decision on your health care. If you want to know how to treat low back pain or knee pain with non-surgical options, feel free to contact us for a phone or in person consult.

Dr. David Chang ND, LAc David Chang, ND, LAc, is a board-licensed naturopathic physician and acupuncturist with extensive training in Naturopathic primary care and classical Chinese medicine. With more than six years of professional experience and a strong interest in chronic pain management, he is proud to own and operate his practice in Portland, Oregon.

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