On August 24th The Washington Post published an article by Consumer Reports titled: "If your doctor says you need surgery, you may want to explore other options."
It listed four surgeries to avoid: knee surgery, carotid artery surgery, spinal fusion, and hysterectomy. Let's explore the two that have to do with posture and biomechanics.
- Knee surgery, specifically arthroscopic surgery to trim or remove a torn meniscus. The article states it "is the most common orthopedic surgery in the United States. About 700,000 of the procedures are done each year, a 50 percent increase in the past 15 years. But research shows that it's often no better than physical therapy at easing symptoms." I have written about why meniscus surgery is often ineffective, what causes knee osteoarthritis, and how posture causes knee pain. Arthroscopic knee surgery is only treating the symptom of a torn meniscus but doesn't nothing about the underlying cause of the torn meniscus or pain. Correcting your posture will eliminate the cause of the torn meniscus and your pain while preventing future issues. Sounds like a win-win to me!
- Spinal fusion to treat spinal stenosis. The articles states: "As we age, overgrowth of the bone surrounding the spinal canal can pinch nerves and cause a burning pain in your buttocks that radiates down your leg. A common treatment for that condition, called spinal stenosis, eases pressure by removing part of the bone and tissue." The problem with that statement is they are confusing correlation with causation. Aging does not cause spinal stenosis just because we see many older people develop it. The cause of spinal stenosis is something I have written about previously. The article continues: "Many surgeons combine that procedure, called laminectomy, with another one, called spinal fusion, which is meant to stabilize the spine. The number of fusion procedures jumped 67 percent among Medicare patients between 2001 and 2011. But for most people, there’s no evidence that adding fusion works better than performing laminectomy alone. Fusion also carries more risks and costs more." Both surgeries treat the symptom of bones spurs and growth around the spinal cord and nerves but doesn't nothing about the cause of the spurs - postural imbalances and improper movement patterns. The Consumer Reports article says: "There’s a good chance, in fact, that you don’t need any surgery. In a study published in April, patients who had physical therapy did as well as surgery patients."
If you would like to see if you can avoid unnecessary surgery and would like to find out the underlying cause of your pain contact me today for a free posture evaluation and consultation.
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