What is Spinal Fusion and How Can Chiropractic Care Help?
Spinal fusion is a type of surgery that may be required when the spine is exhibiting fractures, deformities, or abnormal curves and instability. A surgeon may perform spinal fusion to correct scoliosis, to stabilize the spine around a herniated disk, or to prevent excessive motion between two vertebrae.
Spinal fusion typically involves an incision into the back or neck, a bone graft between the two vertebrae of interest, and the installation of metal plates, screws, and rods to help fuse the vertebrae together permanently. Bone grafts may come from a bone bank, or may be extracted from your own body – a small area of the pelvis is typically used as a source of bone for grafting.
Spinal fusion may occur in the neck or anywhere in the back. The treatment can be effective for stabilizing areas of the spine, but results are considered uncertain with regard to mitigating or relieving back and neck pain. It is possible for an individual to receive spinal fusion and then not experience a decrease in chronic pain – in fact, even areas of the spine that may appear to be degenerated or damaged in an x-ray may not be the actual source of chronic back pain. Assessing the root cause of back pain is an intuitive process that requires extensive familiarity with the spine, an individual’s lifestyle, and their posture, musculature, and any potential underlying conditions.
After an individual undergoes spinal fusion, it is best that they don’t receive manual chiropractic manipulation for at least 3-6 months after surgery. This allows time for their body to adjust to the new installation and for the bone graft to fuse to the two vertebrae between which it was placed. Once several months have elapsed after surgery, there is a strong likelihood that the area which underwent fusion is sufficiently matured for chiropractic care and the movement of bones and joints. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to inform your chiropractor of your spinal fusion procedure, the location of the spine where it occurred, and the cause of the surgery. Depending on the date of the surgery, its purpose, the condition of your spine, and the symptoms you are experiencing, the area of spinal fusion may be a contraindication for chiropractic care. This doesn’t prevent chiropractic care from being effective in mitigating pain and discomfort in your spine – it just means that your chiropractor may need to be creative in determining what treatments are best for supporting your unique anatomy.
Chiropractic Care & Back Pain
One of the main reasons that individuals seek out medical care for their spine is due to back pain.
Oftentimes, there is some form of degeneration present in the spine, and it may be considered significant enough for a surgical intervention (especially if chronic pain is present). Unfortunately, degeneration in the spine is not always the source of back pain. Bone spurs and herniated disks may appear in an x-ray, but may only be a symptom of poor posture stemming from imbalance in another part of the spine or body. In attempting to correct back pain with surgery, there is a significant chance that this will not produce long-term pain relief. The good news is, spinal fusion surgery has many applications and may help to alleviate abnormal curvature in the spine and mitigate future degeneration in other areas.
Whether you have or have not had spinal fusion surgery, chiropractic care can offer radical back pain and neck pain relief. There are two major ways in which this can be done.
Spinal traction is a derivative of Chiropractic BioPhysics®, a branch of chiropractic science which focuses on the long-term movement of bones and joints within the human body. While traditional chiropractic adjustments offer substantial pain relief and a series of benefits all their own, adjustments don’t always produce the long-term results that individuals with abnormal spinal curvature and chronic back pain are seeking. This is where spinal traction comes in. Much like orthodontics in which braces are used to correct misaligned teeth, spinal traction uses precise, physics-based mechanics to produce long-term changes in the spinal structure of the body. These changes can help to eliminate back pain at the source by moving the spine back into its optimal curve. When the spine is optimally aligned, nerves are no longer compressed and pinched and muscles, ligaments, and tissue are no longer contorted into uncomfortable positions to compensate for unnatural spinal structure. The effect of spinal traction in long-term pain relief is substantial and quantifiable: x-rays prior to and after a series of individualized CBP-based treatments often reflect completely different shapes in the spine.
Chiropractic adjustments are another form of care that can greatly reduce back pain, especially when combined with spinal traction for long-term results. Chiropractic adjustments shift joints and bones closer to their ideal alignment, producing movement not just in the spinal structure, but in the surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, and tissues. This can help to detoxify various body systems, reduce pressure in nerves that can contribute to sciatic and other forms of nerve pain, and improve digestion, immune function, and global stress in the body. Chiropractic adjustments can reduce back and neck pain by improving circulation of both blood flow and electrical impulses throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. It cal also help to relieve pain associated with spinal degeneration and disk herniation.
Making Your Appointment
Whether you’ve experienced surgery for spinal fusion and are looking to further address residual back pain, or you are exploring your options prior to committing to surgery, chiropractic care can help. Advanced Spine & Posture’s approach is multifaceted and holistic, including not just the expertise of highly-qualified chiropractors, but the services of physical therapists, physicians’ assistants, and medical doctors, too. As a team, ASP North Las Vegas is confident that they can help to restore your overall wellness and aid in making back and neck pain a thing of the past. Book your appointment today!