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.”

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