A study in the December 2012 issue of Spine highlighted a study looking at lumbar spine surgery and the first provider seen for the injury. The results were surprising and a good reminder of the importance of physical medicine. Here are the key findings:
- Patients under age 35, women, Hispanics and patients whose first provider was and chiropractic physician had reduced odds of lumbar surgery.
- Approximately 43% of patients who saw a surgeon first had surgery.
- Only 1.5% of patients who saw a chiropractic physician first ended up having surgery .
Of course some conditions necessitate surgery. However, this study seems to illustrate the saying “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”