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Do Spinal Fusions help pain?

A few years ago I asked the members on this forum who had a spinal fusion if it helped or caused more pain. Most of the patients who responded stated it made them worse. It was a small sample of people but reports have been coming out that it helps no better than physical therapy for most spinal injuries. This makes me wonder WHY are so many people still getting fusions and are they being told this before hand?


I have to admit I do have a bias as I myself had a very bad result from a fusion. It did not help my pain or function. It made my condition worse. I am aware this is not every patients experience, but what I have seen as a patient advocate is most patients I come across who have had a fusion do not have improvement and end up worse.

What I recommend to patients who have been told they need a fusion to do their research to be fully informed.

1. Get at least two opinions from a ortho or near spine surgeon.

2. Research the surgeon who is recommending surgery, his board certifications, and reviews. You can also ask to speak to a patient of his who he did same surgery on.

3. Research the hospital where your surgery will be performed. Things like infection rates and reviews.

4. Research the surgery and watch a youtube video on the surgery so you are aware of what the risks are and what is going to be done to your body.

5. Inquire what are the devices AND biologics that are going to be used and then research those products. You can also review the Propublica Dollars For Docs website to see if your surgeon gets paid monies from device manufacturers. This does not always mean he is not a good surgeon, however studies have shown this can result in the physician doing more surgeries and also using devices from companies that are giving monies and gifts.

6. Research other alternatives to surgery, physical therapy, aqua therapy, yoga, nutrition, weight loss etc.

7. If being denied alternative treatment in the work comp system use alternative insurance for treatment if necessary.

Know that studies that show benefits from fusions are often times done by the same industry that benefits monetarily from a positive study on fusions.

I am not an attorney.Anything I write should not be considered legal advice.I am writing from my own personal experiences,which is not from any sort of legal background. You should consult with an attorney over legal issues. In California, if you cannot get an attorney you can consult with an I&A officer.

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Do Spinal Fusions help pain? - by California_Help - 08-25-2018, 01:40 PM

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