Is spine and joint surgery the right choice for you?

Dr Leisa

Sometimes it is the only option. But for those situations where it’s not, I’ll explain some reasons why it may not be the best idea. Your surgeon should present all of the options, not just surgery, pain management, or physical therapy. There are many treatments out there, and sometimes it’s a simple fix to help your pain relief. The one thing that is necessary, is to be proactive. Surgery is not a magic wand. If you choose that route, you still have to work at your recovery. There are alternatives for joint surgeries as well as spinal surgeries most of the time. Read on to learn more before you make your decision to have the procedure.

I’ve tried PT, injections, and medications. What else is there?

Many things are out there to prevent surgical intervention. Yes, many patients have tried those same treatments above, but a lot of times patients start to feel better, but the pain returns. A large research study showed that chronic pain causing conditions like these, will flare up about every 6-8 weeks. Most patients can practically mark their calendar according to their flare-ups. By being proactive, you can slow that down quite a bit, if not stop it as soon as possible. Once a detailed evaluation for alternative therapy is done, I can find out what’s actually going on and what therapy can be rendered to avoid the surgery. I’ve mentioned acupuncture and cupping frequently in my previous articles. Acupuncture has been around since the Stone Age. There is substantial science behind it. It actually works to allow the body to heal itself. For major injuries and post surgical treatment for other joint surgeries also, it assists in the healing process as well. I’ve found that specific protocols of multiple therapies work better together, than by themselves. Acupuncture alone is powerful, but when combined with other treatments, it’s much more effective. A non-inflammatory diet is also necessary to relieve pain naturally. It’s a must for surgical recovery as well.

What is a failed surgery?

Although any type of surgery can go wrong, or have negative effects. Up to 74.6 percent of low back spine surgeries fail to completely relieve pain, according to a 2016 review published in the Journal of Pain Research. That is a huge percentage, yet patients still make that choice. Here is the definition of failed back surgery according to the International Neuromodulation Society. These are the doctors who work with electrical stimulators, similar to pacemakers that are implanted and placed over the spinal cord to numb pain. (Yes, read that again) “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) refers to a subset of patients who have new or persistent pain after spinal surgery for back or leg pain. … The term refers to a condition of continuing pain and is not meant to imply there was necessarily a problem during surgery.” I’m finding that this is becoming more and more common. Possibly because more and more patients are choosing surgery over being proactive. So what do they do for you if you respond poorly, and have this FBSS? I’ve worked on countless failed surgery patients, and they’ve been sent to PT, pain management including opioids in most cases, and like the case at the bottom of the home page of my website, another surgery! Those I’ve treated have been frustrated, and thank goodness, they chose not to have a second surgery. Common prescriptions recommended are neuroleptics. These are antipsychotic medications. Do you really want to take those for a pain condition that may be able to be controlled without the possibility of a serious issue happening?

I’m certainly not telling anyone not to have surgery, I just hope you know the consequences prior to making your choice. For a second opinion, please call my office for an appointment.

Should you have questions regarding my articles, please email me at

Leisa-Marie Grgula, D.C.

Chiropractic Physician

Accurate Care Pain Relief Center

21043 N. Cave Creek Rd. #A9

Phoenix, AZ 85024