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  • Writer's pictureAmy Dougley

Is chiropractic care safe after back surgery?

Most people experience back pain at some point in their life. It is one of the most common causes of lost time at work and is a condition that medical doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists deal with on a routine basis.

When back pain becomes chronic people often wonder whether or not they will need surgery to correct the problem. However, back surgery is usually only recommended as a last resort. Only once the patient has tried conservative methods to help, such as chiropractic or physiotherapy do doctors recommend and perform surgery.

One of the reasons doctors are hesitant to perform surgery is because of the risks involved with these procedures.

What are some of the common side effects of back surgery?

  1. Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). This is when someone undergoes back surgery, but despite the surgeons best efforts, the back pain persists post surgery.

  2. It is also common for people to experience loss of range of motion after surgery. This usually occurs when someone has had spinal fusion surgery, where they fuse two or more spinal segments together. As you can imagine, this will impact someone's ability to bend their spine and thus can result in noticeable loss in range of movement.

  3. One other common problem that results from all types of surgery, is scar tissue build up. This develops because tissues such as muscles, ligaments, fascia and skin need to be cut through in order to access certain parts of the spine during surgery. When these parts are sewn up, once the surgery is complete, they heal with scar tissue which creates adhesions within the muscles or ligaments, preventing them from having their normal elasticity. This too results in loss of range of motion, dysfunction and pain.

The good news is that there are plenty of effective methods for managing back pain after surgery, and chiropractic care can be one of them.

A chiropractor will need to assess the area for the types of problems mentioned above, but once completed will be able to employ safe and effective treatments that can help manage the pain from back surgery.

This can include:

  1. Spinal decompression,

  2. Muscle release techniques,

  3. Spinal adjustments,

  4. Acupuncture or,

  5. Exercise recommendations.

A comprehensive treatment plan from an experienced chiropractor would most likely include some of these or other techniques. The overall goal should be to reduce or remove the dysfunction that is causing the pain and work towards improving and maintaining range of motion.

Chiropractic methods are very safe for people of all ages and if you or someone you know has had back surgery and is still struggling, chiropractic should be considered. Many doctors and surgeons will recommend this course of care for their patients after surgery because of how safe and effective it is! If you have any questions or would like to book a free consultation, contact us at or call our office at 519.751.0728.

In health, Dr. Spenser Dougley DC, FR, FRCms

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