Surgery Seems Most Effective for Herniated
MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Married people benefit most
from surgery for herniated spinal discs, according to a new
And, overall, researchers found that surgery is more effective
than nonsurgical treatment options for herniated discs.
In the new study published in the Jan. 15 issue of
Spine, Dartmouth Medical School researchers examined four years of data from the Spine Outcomes Research Trial, one of the largest clinical trials of surgery for spinal disorders, according to a journal news release.
Led by Dr. Adam Pearson, investigators grouped patients
according to 37 different variables -- such as marital status,
education, duration of symptoms and having a workers' compensation
claim -- and compared the success of surgery with the effectiveness
of other nonsurgical treatments for herniated discs.
The researchers concluded there is a "clear benefit" to surgery
for herniated discs. "All analyzed subgroups improved more with
surgery than with non-operative treatment," they wrote.
The study identified three specific factors that were linked to
the most notable improvement following surgery for a herniated
- Being married
- Not having problems with other joints, such as a hip or
- Having back pain that was increasing at the time of
Although married people showed the greatest improvement
following surgery, the reason for this remains unclear. The
researchers noted, however, that their findings did not take other
factors into account, which could affect how a person responds to
treatment, such as demographic and psychological
The author said their findings could help doctors better predict
the benefits of surgery to treat herniated discs based on a
patient's individual characteristics. They added that all patients
should be educated about the risks, benefits and likely outcomes of
surgical and nonsurgical treatments.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provides more
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