Back Surgery,  Back Problems, Surgery Failed, Natural AlternativeBefore Back Surgery

Just a month after back surgery, Nancy Scatena was once again in excruciating pain. The medications her doctor prescribed barely took the edge off the unrelenting back aches and searing jolts down her left leg. “The pain just kept intensifying,” says the 52-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., woman who suffers from spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the channel through which spinal nerves pass. “I was suicidal.”

Finally, Scatena made an appointment with another surgeon, one whom friends had called a “miracle worker.” The new doctor assured her that this second operation would fix everything, and in the pain-free weeks following an operation to fuse two of her vertebrae it seemed that he was right. But then the pain came roaring back.

Experts estimate that nearly 600,000 Americans opt for back operations each year. But for many like Scatena, surgery is just an empty promise, say pain management experts and some surgeons.

This Spine Journal study [1] shows that, in many cases, surgery can backfire, leaving patients in even more pain.

The study provides clear evidence that for many patients, fusion surgeries designed to alleviate pain from degenerating discs don’t work, says the study’s lead author Dr. Trang Nguyen, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. [3]

27 Million Adults With Back Problems 

A recent report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a federal organization, found that in 2007, twenty-seven million adults reported back problems, with $30.3 billion spent on treatments to ease the pain. While some of that money is spent on physical therapy, pain management, chiropractor visits, and other non invasive therapies, a big chunk pays for spine surgeries.

Complicated spine surgeries that involve fusing two or more vertebrae are on the rise. In just 15 years, there was an eight-fold jump in this type of operation, according to a study published in Spine in July. That has some surgeons and public health experts concerned. [4]

You may also want to review the recently published European Guidelines for the Management of Acute and Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain, which specifically states:

“Surgery for non-specific CLBP cannot be recommended unless 2 years of all other recommended conservative treatments ― including multidisciplinary approaches with combined programs of cognitive intervention and exercises ― have failed”.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

Many people suffering with lower back pain find the answer in an area away from their lower back, because the entire spine works as a unit to balance and support the structure of the body. Many neck problems can result in compensating lower back problems and only correcting the underlying neck issues corrects the lower back problem. This may be the case in many of the people who have lower back surgery and end up with more pain and problems as a result. Upper Cervical Chiropractic doctors focus on the cause of the back pain, not the symptoms themselves by locating and eliminating disturbances to the nerve system. The ultimate goal of upper cervical treatments is to get the spine back in alignment, correct postural problems and address the underlying cause of the pain. By addressing the problem that’s affecting the upper cervical area, the body can heal itself naturally without the need of potentially dangerous drugs or surgery.

The upper cervical chiropractic approach requires no popping, cracking or twisting of the spine common with general chiropractic manipulation. This approach focuses on rebalancing the entire spinal column and not just addressing the compensations that are frequently the focus of surgery and other approaches.


  1. Long-term Outcomes of Lumbar Fusion Among Workers’ Compensation Subjects: An Historical Cohort Study SPINE (Phila Pa 1976) 2011 (Feb 15);    36 (4):    320–331
  2. Study Says Back Surgery Often Makes Things Worse
The Daily Hit ~ Oct 14, 2010
  3. Back Surgery May Backfire On Patients In Pain ~ Oct 14, 2010
  4. Why Do Spinal Surgery Rates Continue To Rise?
Chiro.Org Blog Editorial ~ April 10th, 2010
  5. Findings from the: “United Kingdom Back Pain Exercise and Manipulation (UK BEAM) Randomised Trial” British Medical Journal 2004 (Dec 11); 329 (7479)

To schedule your NUCCA evaluation, just click the button below:

Want to hear from real people like you? Check out our patient success stories.

Dr. Armen Manoucherian of Health Edge Family Spinal Care in Glendale, California is a Glendale Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). He has helped many children and adults find natural relief in Glendale, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Pasadena, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Burbank. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at