From Dr. Mercola:
As many as 8 out of 10 Americans struggle with back pain, and many resort to surgery as a solution. Unfortunately, this often does not resolve the problem, and in some cases simply worsens the situation.
Dr. David Hanscom, an orthopedic surgeon with a practice in Seattle, is unusual in that he tells most of his patients they don’t need surgery. He’s written a book detailing his novel approach to chronic pain treatment, called “Back in Control: A spine surgeon’s roadmap out of chronic pain.”
Spinal Fusions Rarely Cure Chronic Back Pain
Spinal fusions are a lucrative business and great source of revenue for the hospital and surgeon. Unfortunately, they rarely work for the patients. Spinal fusions arose from the assumption that disc degeneration was a source of back pain.
Therefore, it was thought that by fusing the disc together with the bone, which eliminates motion, you would get rid of the pain. However, that has since been proven false.
“Disc degeneration actually does not cause back pain. That’s been well-documented,” Dr. Hanscom says.
“The success rate of the spinal fusion for back pain was about 24 percent, but we still kept doing it. Then, in 1994, when this paper came out Washington showing that the return-to-work rate one year after a spinal fusion for back pain was 15 percent, I just stopped.
Every paper since then has showed pretty much the same dismal results; there’s maybe a 20 to 25 percent success rate of spinal fusion for back pain…
And the downside of a failed spine surgery is terrible. It’s really bad. These people are condemned to live their entire lifetime, 30 to 40 more years, in chronic pain.”
Despite such findings, spinal fusions are still popular. Each year, some 600,000 spinal fusions are performed in the U.S. with a high percentage of them being performed for non-specific low-back pain, at a cost of more than $600 billion.
Neurophysiological Disorder (NPD)
By 1988, Dr. Hanscom was suffering from burnout, which included 16 NPD symptoms. He did not know the nature of the problem and would be in this state for another 15 years.
Chronic pain was one of his symptoms. He inadvertently solved his chronic pain in 2003 and it took another few years before he understood that he had full-blown Neurophysiologic Disorder (NPD). He began sharing his experience with his patients in 2006.
NPD is rooted in chronic stress and anxiety. Your body becomes full of adrenaline, and every organ system starts responding and acting up. According to Dr. Hanscom, there are over 30 symptoms created by an adrenalized nervous system.
“Some of my 16 symptoms included migraine headaches, ringing in my ears, burning on my feet, itching on my scalp, migratory skin rashes, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It was brutal. What I didn’t realize… is that anxiety is actually one of the classic manifestations of neurophysiological disorder. I developed extreme anxiety. I did not become a major spine surgeon by having anxiety; I