Spinal fusion surgery for lower back pain: it’s costly and there’s little evidence it’ll work

Back pain affects 1 in 4 Australians. It’s so common, nearly 85% of people will have at least one episode at some stage of our lives. Which means, this a a very common reason for a visit to your doctor and is a major health concern.


In our space, the team at Beneco are well-versed in rehabilitation and treatment. There is a high importance on case conferencing to review treatment recommendations and ensure that people with injuries are placed in the right hands for the right treatment.


Treatment costs for back pain and injuries continue to rise. It is currently hovering around the A$5 billion and a large part of this is spent on spinal surgery.


Choosing Wisely, is a campaign aimed at educating medical professions and the public about tests, treatment and procedures that have little benefit, lead to harm, added spinal fusion for lower back pain to their list.


It is important to note that current medical evidence does not support spinal fusion for back pain. Randomised trials (regarded as studies providing the highest-quality evidence) suggest spinal fusion has little advantage over a well structured, rehabilitation program, and also psychological interventions for back pain.


This research states that most patients having spine fusion surgery under workers’ compensation won’t return to the usual job, will still be having physiotherapy and be on opioid medication two years after surgery.


The article below highlights some important points, facts and figures. Some great information to make everyone aware that surgery may not always be the answer…


Click here: The Conversation: Spinal fusion surgery for low back pain; costs vs evidence


Beneco specialises in return to work services for employers, employees and insurance agencies. Beneco uses innovative thinking to individualise back-to-work strategies that are sustainable across a variety of different environments.

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