The pain of sciatica often drives patients to opt for surgery. But new research suggests that chiropractic treatment can be just as effective as surgery in some cases of sciatica.
Spinal decompression surgery, also known as microdiscectomy, has proven to be effective for many people with sciatica.
However, scientists questioned whether surgery was a necessary step in all cases. That’s why researchers conducted a study to determine whether chiropractic was just as successful as surgery in treating sciatica.
The study included 40 patients with sciatica who had a history of trying other treatment methods like painkillers, lifestyle changes, massage, and acupuncture but were still experiencing pain.
Half of the patients were randomly assigned surgery and the other half was treated with chiropractic adjustments. 85% of participants in the surgery group saw significant improvements while 60% of participants in the chiropractic group clearly improved.
Those in the chiropractic group who later decided to have surgery experienced the same rates of improvements as the initial surgery group. Although chiropractic may not solve every sciatica case, it did prove effective for over half of the patients treated with chiropractic in this study. This led researchers to conclude that patients should seek chiropractic adjustments before opting for surgery.
McMorland G, Suter E, Casha S, du Plessis SJ, Hurlbert RJ. Manipulation or microdiskectomy for sciatica? A prospective randomized clinical study.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2010; 33(8): 576- 584.