Unfortunately patients will "try everything" before having surgery, only to find that surgery did not give them the results they were looking for. While no doctor would ever do surgery unless they felt there was a chance of benefitting the patient, the reality is that back and neck pain are an "art" to diagnose. Sometimes, there are "false positives" that will show up on an MRI (such as a herniated disc) when the real cause of the patients' pain is the sacroiliac disc. This is often a judgement call that the doctor will have to make. There are a whole host fo reasons why the success rate of surgery is very poor, but this is one example of how this can occur.
For this reason, patients can sometimes still find relief with chiropractic care. When questioned as to what they mean't when they said that they tried "everything" they usually mean that they tried physical therapy and medication.
Common findings for patients with failed back surgery are hip dysfunctions, sacroiliac joint pain, facet syndrome, as well as others.
Depending upon the original surgery, often the spine is never the same (fusion, laminectomy, laminotomy) and we have to alter the chiropractic methods so that we can still work on the patient.
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