Case History: Failed Back Surgery
How We Help If You’ve Had Back Surgery.
Mrs. A is a 78 year old patient who attended the practice with chronic lower back pains and general disability. She had FOUR (4) lower back surgeries. The patient was due for surgery number five but decided on a different, more conservative path.
Looking at the X-ray of the lower back, you will note she had multiple fusions with metal rods. The metal fixations were ‘power drilled’ into the spine with four large self tapping screws. The screws hold two plates across the base of the spine.
Unfortunately, the patient has been welded and screwed ‘out’ of normal alignment.
You can see the the vertebral bodies are well in front (40mm) of the normal lordotic curve. This misalignment really does predispose her to chronic pains and disability, which essential a ‘FBSS’ or Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. It happens so often it is called a syndrome.
In Australia, many patients are ‘fused as they found’. That is, there is no real attempt to restore normal alignment prior to being fused. Restoring normal alignment is achieved either conservatively using Chiropractic BioPhysics or by invasive means during surgery.
In America, Germany and now France, surgeons will at least make attempts to fuse a patient in, or more closely to, their correct lordosis. In Germany and many parts of America, it is recommended that you use conservative care, like what we provide at The Spinal Centre, to actively align, strengthen and rehabilitate your spine prior to surgery. This ensures a much better outcome for the patient and for the surgery.
Can Corrective Chiropractic Help?
So, contrary to popular belief, it is important to be have your posture and spine checked for correct alignment if you are planning on surgery. It becomes even more important after surgery to avoid pain and disability, or indeed further surgery. As was the case for this patient.
If you have had back surgery, fusions or plates put in the spine; they will alter normal lordotic (curvature) patterns in the spine. Evidenced on the X-ray above.
For this patient, the surgery had created a significant increase in her lumbar lordosis and anterior (forward) translation of the lumbar spine of approximately 40 mm in the lower back alone. Her total translation forward (in the Z axis) was around 200 mm from head to sacrum !!
To be clear her spine is only about 600 mm high and was translating forward 200 mm.
To put that in perspective, if it was a wall in your house of say 2.6 metres it would be leaning over nearly 1 metre.
The wall would fall over, or at least ‘pop’ the screws holding it up.
The greater the translation forward of the body = the greater the load on the lower spine. More Load = More Pains.
Despite the failed back surgeries and the large plates and screws in the spine – Mrs. A made a nice recovery. This is evident on her X-rays.
The first mid back (thoracic) X-ray shows her spinal is positioned 118.7 mm forward. The thoracic spine curve measures 48.5 degrees and should be 44 degrees. Following a corrective care program the spinal curve measured 70.2 mm forward and curve of 44.2 degrees.
It is important to note that any changes made for a patient after back surgery or a fused spine, are quite remarkable. Many elderly patients are told that ‘nothing can be done’ to correct the spine later in life – and that you ‘will have to live with it’.
Pain relief, structural change and improved posture are all possible. These changes are attributed to our unique care which involved Neuro Acupuncture, Mirror Image corrections, Traction, Postural Exercises and Rehabilitation.
A fantastic outcome for the patient and one that would not have been achieved without Chiropractic Biophysics.
This Is Not a Testimonial.
Disclaimer: This is a Case Study of a real patient who attended the Practice.
As part of the Chiropractic BioPhysics Advanced Training Protocols, we will be collecting and writing up case studies of patients within the Practice. It is the only way to show the very real and measurable changes we see in patients under care.
Once sufficient case studies have been acquired, and in submission through CBP Seminars advanced training, we will look to publish these studies in peer reviewed journals where appropriate.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) forbids the use of testimonials in Australia. This is not a testimonial. There is no guarantee of outcome in treating complex neurological and spinal conditions such as those presented in the Case Study.
In keeping with the regulations of the Authority, we provide this case for your interest as an example of the type of patient we regularly assist within the Clinics.
If you like this article be sure to visit the Spinal Centre website at www.thespinalcentre.com.au and view more content by Dr. Hooper and the Spinal Rehabilitation Team.
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