Is Chiropractic Care Safe After Spine Treatment Or Surgery?
Chronic back pain is a condition that can worsen and lead to herniated disks, spine degeneration, and other injuries. In severe cases, you need to undergo surgery as part of your treatment plan. Spinal fusion surgery may be the last option for patients after exploring various options such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, and medications. However, this procedure can take a year-long recovery period.
Moreover, there are patients that still feel discomfort and pain after undergoing surgery. Thus, it makes you wonder if there are other options available to ease the pain, especially after major surgery. Is chiropractic treatments still safe in this case?
Chiropractic care is a very promising alternative treatment for people who suffer from back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions. However, doctors caution patients of the risk of having chiropractic care after surgery. But as long as you are adequately recovered prior to re-starting chiropractic care, it is beneficial for you. Post-surgery chiropractic corrections or manipulations can help you manage pain as you move forward.
How Long Should You Wait After Surgery?
During a spinal fusion surgery, an orthopedic surgeon will remove disks between two or more vertebrae and join the bones together using metal screws and plates.
The point of the surgery is to correct conditions like herniated disks and degenerative diseases by allowing the spine to become immobilized in that area. It will take a minimum of three months for the vertebrae to stabilize and have a completely immovable graft.
Once the graft is completed, a patient needs to undergo physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the surgery area. Considering the initial recovery phase and the physical therapy sessions, it may take a whole year for patients to fully recover. During this period, patients are also advised to be cautious with their movements. Twisting, bending, and sudden movements must be avoided to prevent impacting the graft.
Chiropractor Care for Surgery Patients
Undergoing spinal fusion procedure does not guarantee that your back pain will disappear. There are patients who still experience pain and discomfort even after completely recovering from surgery. In such cases, chiropractic manipulations may aid in relieving the discomfort for them. However, chiropractors should not initiate rotational-type treatments as it can impact the graft from the surgery.
Chiropractic manipulations are generally intended for the realignment or adjustment of bones in the spine and other areas of the body. And since it involves intricate spinal manipulations, patients who have undergone spinal surgery may think twice about seeking treatments. It is understandable to be hesitant about chiropractic care after surgery, but once the recovery phase is completed, chiropractic care can be beneficial for you.
After the recovery and therapy period, you may discuss with your doctor the possibility of having chiropractic adjustments and determine whether you can already withstand treatments. Patients who had spinal fusion surgery are more at risk of being injured if they are not healed correctly before starting chiropractic sessions. Force applied on the spine can impact the graft and lead to injuries.
On the other hand, it does not mean that chiropractic care is no longer beneficial for surgery patients. After healing and with the approval of your doctor, you can undergo mild chiropractic manipulations on your spine. There are also other chiropractic advancement and technology which is applicable to your case.
But depending on the kind of surgery you have undergone, you may or may not be allowed to have spinal adjustments as part of the treatment plan. Keep in mind that you have to follow the advice of your physician and your surgeon before pursuing alternative treatment.
If you are allowed to have chiropractic care in your continuing treatment plan, there are three options that are usually given to patients who had spine fusion procedures.
- Muscle Rehabilitation - patients with spine surgery will benefit from chiropractic treatments focusing on muscle rehabilitation. It will relieve tension on the spine and lessen the radiating and painful symptoms that are common in most patients.
- Chiropractic Adjustment - if you had surgery on your lower back, you can pursue traction and adjustment sessions on your neck. Likewise, patients with surgery on the neck area may have these chiropractic treatments on the lower back area. Consult with your practitioner for treatment modification to avoid manipulations on affected areas.
- Electric Muscle Stimulation - this type of treatment involves electrode pads that send electrical pulses to various areas of the body. The pads are placed on the skin and the level or frequency of pulses can be adjusted accordingly. This therapy will help reduce inflammation and muscle spasms. More so, it can also relieve pain in your lower back and neck area. Patients also have the option to acquire portable TENS units so that treatments can be done at home.
Additionally, patients are also advised to make necessary changes in their lifestyle to help them fully recover and move forward with their treatments. To strengthen the spine and improve spinal health, you should follow dietary changes and take supplements. For home care, the use of heat and ice therapy is beneficial. Be cautious with your daily exercises and stretches.
If you ever had spinal surgery, overcoming pain during the recovery phase can be a challenge. Even after months of recovery, you still need to undergo physical therapy so that your muscles become stronger. Depending on your case, you may be advised to pursue chiropractic care as part of your treatment plan. There are several chiropractic treatment options that may benefit patients who have undergone spine fusion procedures. However, you need to ensure that you have fully recovered and that you have the go signal from your surgeon or doctor.
You also need to make some changes in your routine and include strengthening exercises for the core and back muscles. After a year or so of continuous treatment and healthier living, you can get back to your normal life and avoid further health complications. If you think chiropractic care is for you, consult your chiropractor today.