I Had Surgery Now What?
A patient was referred to me while she was recovering from back surgery. As I talked with her about the surgery, she told me that a week after her first surgery she was told that they had to operate again. However, she was never really told why. Shortly after the second surgery, she developed a pulmonary embolism from a DVT (deep vein thrombosis). During her pre-surgery consult, she was told by the surgeon that she should be returning to work about a month after the surgery. Now 10 weeks later, she is still in pain and not able to go back to work. She explained that the biggest frustration with her experience is that whenever she calls the surgeon’s office, the response she gets is that “the surgery went well, there is nothing else we can do.”
Unfortunately, she is not alone. I have seen many patients with similair stories. One patient had 5 back surgeries thast included 2 spinal fusions and 3 laminectomies. After each surgery her back pain increased, and finally after her fifth surgery, she was told, “there is nothing else to be done.” She was given a prescription for pain killers and was recommended to a pain clinic. Despite all the scar tissue, after our first acupuncture treatment there was 30% improvement in her back pain. Each treatment resulted in continued improvement. Her relief, however, was coupled with her frustration that acupuncture was never suggested during her recovery and that such a non-invasive procedure could provide the relief she was looking for.
Now I’m not writing this to discourage people from having needed surgery. In fact, I had surgery myself. I was hit by a car while riding my bike, training for a triathlon. I injured my shoulder pretty bad, and was told I needed surgery to repair my labrum. I got a second opinion, and when it was clear that it was necessary, I found a surgeon that I trusted and went through with the surgery. I used acupuncture and herbal medicine along with physical therapy. Within a year, I did a personal best time at Ironman China finishing in the top ten of my age group.
There are times when surgery is necessary. There are times when it can be prevented. Acupuncture can aid in surgery rehabilitation. Acupuncture has been proven as an effective treatment for low back pain, neck pain, and knee pain as well as post-surgical pain by the World Health Organization (WHO). I always recommend to my friends and family to start with the least invasive treatments first. If you try acupuncture, yoga, Reiki, and you don’t get the results your are looking for, surgery is still an option. If you’ve already had surgery and the pain persists, there are always other options. You never have to just live with the pain.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Denver Acupuncture & Sports Medicine.