Post Surgical Treatment

Can I be adjusted after spinal surgery?

Absolutely! There are 24 bones or vertebra in the spine that need to move in a coordinated fashion, when two vertebra are fused it puts additional pressure or stress on the adjacent vertebra. This causes premature degeneration or arthritis of the adjacent joints which leads to additional surgeries on down the road. Even "simple" surgeries like partial discectomy can disrupt the normal motion of the spinal joints.

Chiropractic orthopedists contend that spinal fusion patients often continue to experience pain, and in some cases, their conditions worsen post-surgery. A case report published in the 2009 Journal of the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists stated that patients who experience continued pain after lumbar fusion responded well to a combination of spinal adjustment and distraction decompression.

What are the chances that adjusting will knock a screw loose?

Slim to none. If you can bend over and touch your toes or look over your shoulder then the chances of damaging the surgical fusion are pretty close to zero. The biomechanical forces required to bend or rotate are 5-10 times greater than the adjustment. 

Case Example

Below is a 48 year old female with a history of surgical fusion at C-5/6 and L-5 due to previous trauma. The patient presented with headaches, lower back and hip pain that was rated a 7-8 on a visual analog scale of 1-10 with 10 being severe. After a short course of specific chiropractic adjustments above and below the site of her fusions, she reported a 80% reduction in her pain. 

Lateral lumbar x-ray