In 2010, researchers reviewed the records of 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation database who had been diagnosed with disc degeneration, disc herniation and/or radiculopathy (pain that travels along the course of a nerve or pain that goes to another area).  Half of the patients underwent vertebral fusion of two or more vertebrae, with the intent to reduce or eliminate their back pain. The other half of the back pain sufferers did not get any surgery.  What researchers discovered was: two years after surgery only 26% had returned to work. The group that did not receive back surgery showed  a 67% return to work.  Thirty-six per cent of the patients who had lumbar fusion had complications and 27% required another surgery.  The findings are obvious: patients do much better without surgery.  Furthermore researchers determined that there was a 41 percent increase in the use of painkillers, namely opiates, for those who underwent lumbar fusion.

Dr. Trang Nguyen, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, stated “The study provides clear evidence that for many patients, fusion surgeries designed to alleviate pain from degenerating discs don’t work.”

So if the success rate for spinal surgery is so low, why are doctors still performing so many of these surgeries?  Dr. Richard Deyo, MD, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University, states that  “It seems implausible that the number of patients with the most complex spinal pathology has increased 15-fold in just six years” and believes that the rise is spinal surgeries is due to “financial incentives involving both surgeons and hospitals.”   In 1994, Dr. Deyo compared international rates of back surgeries and discovered that the rate of American surgery is unusually excessive and directly  correlated it to the supply of  orthopedic and neurosurgeons: “The rate of back surgery in the United States was at least 40% higher than any other country and was more than five times those in England and Scotland.  Back surgery rates increased almost linearly with the per-capita supply of orthopedic and neurosurgeons.”  Simply put…FINANCIAL GAIN is at the root of the rising rate of back surgeries, not medical necessity.

The safest and most logical solution to back pain is a conservative route of treatment comprising of:

  1. chiropractic adjustments (specific manipulation)
  2. physical therapy
  3. core strengthening exercise

Dr. Johnson, board certified in anesthesia and pain medicine and director of the Center for Pain Medicine of North Carolina (affiliated with East Carolina University School of Medicine in Greenville, North Carolina) “Just about any approach is better than having surgery because all the studies have shown that, if you take a surgical population and nonsurgical population, they all seem do the same in five years…” However, what Dr. Johnson did not take into consideration is that patients receiving chiropractic care fare much better. There are numerous studies documenting that patients feel better with chiropractic care. Dr. Anthony Rosner, a scientist with a Harvard PhD, testifying before the Institute of Medicine, stated: “Today, we can argue that chiropractic care, at least for back pain, appears to have vaulted from last to first place as a treatment option.”

Dr. Eshanov, a family chiropractor in Montclair (NJ) urges every patient to seek chiropractic treatment for low back pain and to avoid back surgery. Surgery should be the last option. Through proper combination of chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, and therapeutic exercises the vast majority of people scheduled for surgery will not require it.  For a consultation Dr. Eshanov, may be contacted by calling (973) 900-2660 or by scheduling an appointment on line at


(If you or someone you know is trying to decide on which of the Montclair chiropractors to visit, consider Dr. Eshanov; take the time to read through the doctor’s testimonials and watch some of the videos and you will see why he is such a highly recommended chiropractor.)