Dr.Jason Wang Surrey Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine in Surrey

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Back Surgery - My Opinion

Recently I heard a story about a person who underwent back surgery. The story goes like this: 2 years ago, this particular gentleman in his 70s, due to years of chronic lower back pain, and subsequent impediments on one of the lower limbs as a result, decided to undergo back surgery. I suppose this was done under the suggestion of his GP, who said he has "spinal stenosis".

Unfortunately, after the surgery, he was left essentially paralyzed from the leg down. If I did not hear incorrectly, he was told this was due to irritation of the nerves as a result of the surgical intervention, and should recover in time.

For the next 2 years that was not what happened. He continued to be confined to bed. Not only that, ulcers on the hip start to develop, and also ulcers appeared on the ankles. All this happened because of compromised circulation as a result of chronic bed confinement. At the same time, he also has diabetes, which makes things worse, especially concerning nerve function and blood circulation.

The point of this article is to make clear the point that surgery, especially back surgery, should be a very cautious choice for individuals. The anatomy of the spinal area is highly complex. And the nature of nerves is that they are difficult to heal when damaged or traumatized in anyway, sometimes even the slightest bit.

For this particular patient, he was told to get this type of surgery because he has spinal stenosis. In my experience, almost everyone, if not everyone, over a certain age into their senior years will have these related problems, such as spinal stenosis, protruded lumbar vertebrae or other "diseases" or "conditions" of the back.

The problem however is that not everyone of them will have back issues or leg parathesia. And here is the irony of it all---when you have a back problem, and then you go for a scan of some kind, if they find you have some sort of back abnormality, they will almost 100% attribute your back problem to this "abnormality". Conversely, if you do not have back problems, they will not make this attribution even if they find you have "abnormalities" of the back. Irony, irony, irony. For a system of medicine that promotes scientific absolutism, this is quite inconsistent in my opinion.

In Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, we tend to be more pragmatic and realistic. Most problems I see, even if purportedly very severe(considering the nerves aren't physically damaged), are usually a result of 2 problems: The first is muscle tightness as a result of compensation for bad posture and/or overuse, and number 2 is circulation problems as a result of natural aging and/or other systemic issues such as diabetes in the above case.

In many instances, these 2 factors often co-exist. Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can deal with these 2 factors very well, which is why they work. As a result of treatment, most back pains get very effective improvement, saving one from the risk of surgery.

My conclusion: don't get back surgery unless you've tried other more conservative alternative medicine methods such as Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. Because once the knife goes in, there WILL be a scar.