Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unneeded, riskier spinal fusion surgery on rise

As reported on MSNBC.com, A study of Medicare patients showed that more complex spinal fusion surgeries have increased 15 times between 2002 and 2007. Although simple fusion surgery declined during this time, hospital charges grew by 40%. In the article, it is suggested that aggressive marketing of devices used in the fusion surgeries is playing a role in this increase. There have been allegations of financial kickbacks to doctors using the spine surgery products.

Conditions that spinal fusion surgery is used for includes common lower back conditions caused by aging and arthritis. The findings suggest that these more challenging operations are riskier and they lead to complications and deaths.

About 5% of patients who had simple or complex fusion surgery, suffered major complications such as stroke. This is compared to decompression surgery patients that stroke was a complication because of the surgery, 2% of the time. The risk of death 30 days after the surgery was .6% for complex fusion surgery compared to .5% in simple fusion surger and .3% for decompression surgery.

When you read articles like this, does it make you stop and think a little? Does it just make you question why one surgery over another is more dangerous? Maybe it makes you wonder why people resort to surgery in the first place? Hopefully, at least you are asking one of those questions.

Our body gives us warning signals that something isn't right and usually this is through pains in our body. All too often, we ignore those pains and we deaden them through all types of pain relievers, hoping that they will just go away. Pain is one of the ways that body says - hey, I'm trying to get your attention. Often, there are things we need to change in our lives and yet, we fail to heed the call of the body.

So after some time has gone by, where we have ignored our body, we then seek medical care as the answer to all our problems. We fail to look inside of ourselves and look at what may be causing the condition. We just want someone to take the pain away which is usually nothing more than masking the pain so we don't feel it. If drugs and medications don't work, than surely surgery must or so we think. And for the new age, alternative therapy people - we think that if we put electrical stimulus in our muscles or we do this or that form of bodywork, nutritional supplements and or some type of flavored drink mix, than we will be cured! And alternative therapy people are a little more smug about it because they are doing it naturally they think. Please don't get me wrong. There are many alternative therapies out there that are very beneficial but don't be blind sided by them. Don't mask the pain in exchange for another therapy.

At the end of the day, we are still ignoring our body and what is sending the signal up through our body. We've learned all our lives that pain is not good and so we do things to "avoid" the pain, not fix the pain. Its easier that way, we tell ourselves. Again, at the end of the day, we are still ignoring what the body is trying to tell us.

Looking to others, whether it is alternative therapies or medications and surgeries, for the answers is only going to keep us searching, and wanting relief. It is only when we look deep inside that we will find the answers that we need. Yes, there are people who can help us get there but until we look within, the body will not fully heal itself. At the minimum, there will be residue of the pain lying in a dormant state within our body.

All too often, we fool ourselves into believing that we need to get rid of the pain. If we just spent the time going into the pain and becoming consciously aware of what was causing the pain, it would go away. It would not just go away temporarily either. If we shined the light of truth on it, we would find the pain running for the hills trying to get away from us as fast as it could.

It bothers me so much when I turn the TV on and see the constant barrage of ads on medications. While they do claim this medication does something positive for us, they also enjoy listing all the harmful side effects that each one has. Yet, in alarming numbers, we continue to purchase and consume these medications as if they are giving us life. In reality, they are taking life away from us. I do not want to state that all medications are bad and should never be used. That is a decision you need to make with your doctor but make the decision in an informed way. If you do not go searching deep within yourself and just turn to the surgeries or the medications as your salvation, than you are truly robbing yourself of being human.

There is a concept called the "placebo effect" that has extreme healing power for us. In fact, when many of these studies for medications and surgeries are done, the placebo affect often does just as well, if not better than the medication or surgery. However, these things are often just not written about because they would take millions and billions away from the medical establishment. What company would really want you to know that you could basically heal yourself, if your mind was convinced that it could? That would take a lot of money from the drug companies and surgeons and hospitals. Think about it. Don't take my word for it. Try to prove to yourself if this is true or not.

Health care is not about taking drugs, doing surgery or finding someone to tell you that if you do their therapy or take this supplement, you will be healed. There is just so much of that thinking out there and if it truly worked, these people would work themselves out of a job. The way you become healthy is to get in touch with yourself and to truly travel deep into your mind and body, through the fear and controls you put in place in your life. Anything less than that and you are robbing yourself of truly being human.

*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

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