According to a recent article about back surgery, the U.S. has the highest number of surgical procedures performed on its citizens – one for every five Americans (1).  Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of John Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, reported in a 2000 JAMA article that an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors (2).  When the 100,000 people that die each year from complications of surgery are combined with deaths from prescription drugs and botched surgeries, the number of deaths accounts for 23 percent of overall deaths in men and 32 percent of deaths in women (3).  Back surgery is only found to help 1 out of 100 people with lower back problems – chiropractic is shown to be the preferred initial professional treatment for those with back pain (4).  According to Pran Manga, PhD, MPhil, health economist, “There is an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that chiropractic management of low back pain is more cost-effective than medical management.”  Many international and American studies have shown that for nonspecific back pain, manipulation was rated above all other treatments. In fact, Anthony Rosner, PhD, testified before the Institute of Medicine: “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.”
Clearly, surgery is a serious undertaking and should be given much thought and research.  Talk to me in my San Francisco office to see if there are any alternatives to surgery that we can work on together.



1.  Gawande A. “The Cost Conundrum.” The New Yorker Magazine, June 1, 2009.

2.  Starfield B. “Is US Health Really the Best in the World?” JAMA, July 26, 2000;284(4):483-485.

3.  Dunham W. “France Best, U.S. Worst in Preventable Death Ranking,” Reuters, Jan. 8, 2008.

4.  Bigos S, et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guideline No. 14. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, AHCPR Pub. No. 95-0642; December 1994. Patient Guide, (1992):12.