Advertisement

Stenosis Headline Not In Sync With Study

Stenosis Headline Not In Sync With Study

Was the worst lip-sync disaster when Beyoncé bombed at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration or when Ashlee Simpson tried to stay in sync with her pre-taped voice on Saturday Night Live? When you see such high-profile screw-ups, your first reaction is probably, “There’s something wrong here,” followed quickly by, “What were they thinking?”

Well, that was our reaction after reading a headline and news report that said a study shows the benefits of surgery to repair spinal stenosis were no greater than foregoing surgery in favor of medications (for pain and inflammation) and physical therapy, if you look eight years down the road.

After looking at the study, we found it bore almost no resemblance to the headline or report (from a usually trusted medical news source). In fact the opposite seemed to be true. Not only did the study state that people who needed and got the surgery reported significant improvements in quality of life (less pain, more mobility), but a huge percent of the folks in the study group who were sent for PT and medication actually opted to have the surgery a few years later!

The lesson from this cautionary tale? If you’re considering something as serious as spinal surgery, don’t just read headlines, dig for information. Then discuss with your doctor all your options, and the benefits and risks to you. Then get a second opinion! Second opinions change care—even diagnosis—30 percent of the time. Knowledge is power and we say, “power to the patient!”

Medically reviewed in May 2018.

Use This Sleep Position for Back Pain
Use This Sleep Position for Back Pain
If you've got a testy lower back, here's something you can do in your sleep that might help: Sleep on your side. Health experts say that this positio...
Read More
How can I alleviate lower back pain?
UCLA HealthUCLA Health
If you have some minor low back pain, I typically recommend some core-strengthening exercises, rest ...
More Answers
5 Surprising Habits That Cause Back Pain
5 Surprising Habits That Cause Back Pain5 Surprising Habits That Cause Back Pain5 Surprising Habits That Cause Back Pain5 Surprising Habits That Cause Back Pain
These seemingly harmless habits can leave your back screaming for mercy.
Start Slideshow
What Should I Ask My Doctor About My Back Pain?
What Should I Ask My Doctor About My Back Pain?