All too often patients come to us that have had back pain sometimes for years, that after a few weeks of conservative care (soft tissue work, adjustment, therapeutic exercise) begin to see a decrease in their pain.

Yet, once they see imaging and hear from a surgeon that their injury requires more invasive treatment that will “completely eliminate pain” after 6-8 weeks healing time, a lot of people will be immediately set on that.

The reality of the human body is:

  • It’s amazingly adaptable and resilient.
  • It WANTS to and WILL generally heal on its own.
  • It takes TIME and REMOVAL of the irritation that caused the injury.

The healing of most tissues in the human body is like a roller coaster. You’ll have good days and worse days depending on what you did the day before, what you ate, your hydration levels, sleep quality etc. but in general if you are CONSISTENTLY doing the right things, you will see an upward trend of improvement. So if you took that same 6-8 week healing time from surgery, did exactly what was prescribed for beneficial activities and stayed away from the things that aggravate the injury, a large majority of cases would be on the right track to healing just fine by themselves. In one study 66% of slipped discs were reabsorbed without intervention and in another more degeneration was found in asymptomatic individuals than ones with pain.

This is not to say that surgery is never necessary because there are cases that require it, however, given the potential risks associated with any kind of spinal surgery, not to mention cost – we highly recommend giving your body the time and quality rest it needs to heal itself while under conservative care. You might be surprised.

Brinjikji W, Luetmer PH, Comstock B, et al. Systematic Literature Review of Imaging Features of Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations.
Zhong M, Liu JT, Jiang H, et al. Incidence of Spontaneous Resorption of Lumbar Disc Herniation: A Meta-Analysis.