Over the last 30 years in chiropractic practice, there are several times where I have made the referral decision where the chiropractic was not working as well as I wanted for the patient. This was because of some severe disc herniation/protrusion, pinched nerve or maybe spinal stenosis. This referral typically required maybe a steroid injection initially or as a Last Resort spinal surgery. As the sometimes does happen with a small percentage, chiropractic did not work as well as I had wanted it surgical spinal procedures were required.
After these procedures I do recommend some continued chiropractic care to keep all the other areas working at a 100% functioning. But I do get asked a lot, can you adjust the spine after I've had spinal surgery? The spine is divided and what I say four different regions, one is the neck or cervical, two is the thoracic or mid back, three is the lumbar (low back) and last is the ileum and or pelvis. Typically, with a spinal fusion, it will involve maybe one or two of those areas maybe the cervical or the lumbar areas. Just say the neck has spinal surgery and is fused, as a chiropractor, I would avoid adjusting that area and I would work solely on the thoracic or mid back and the low back and pelvis. Just because one area doesn't move, doesn't mean that all the other areas are not going to either compensate or have additional stress and strain on them.
Chiropractic can keep this additional stress at a minimum and allow the joints and muscles to work at a much higher or a less restricted level without causing any more nerve irritation, pain and guarded of movements. Additionally, when I do a typical spinal adjustment in a patient who's had surgery the adjustment is a lot less forceful and sometimes instrument-based (Activator) so that there's not a lot of force or twisting on the area not to either injured or flare up those areas.
Yes, chiropractic can still help people who have had spinal surgery and I do feel it's extremely important to keep all of the other areas working at 100%. Just imagine not being able to use a specific region of your body. All of the other areas must compensate and work harder. That’s like a team member in your office being sick that day, everyone else has to jump in and handle a little bit extra work that extra work overtime can cause degenerative stress wear and tear and eventually can lead to injuries. So, it's extremely important to have your spine checked and adjusted on a regular basis especially if you've had a previous surgical procedure thanks for reading, Dr. Joe