Written by Megan Wood, Becker’s Spine Review, 22 March 2016
Kevin Pauza, MD, of Pauza Disc Treatment Center in Tyler, Texas, isn’t optimistic about Tiger Woods’ back surgery recovery.
Here are five insights:
1. Dr. Pauza said disectomies don’t necessarily solve low back pain’s underlying problem.
2. He researches the re-growing of bulged, herniated and degenerated discs, and said disc tears should be healed and sealed, not routinely cut.
3. Dr. Pauza notes some spine surgeons still believe pinched nerves alone cause pain, but the pain is often caused by leaky disc and nerve inflammation.
4. The leaked substance causes disc inflammation, which results in low back pain. Dr. Pauza therefore asserts surgery may not relieve the pain.
5. Instead of further damaging discs with scalpels and laser procedures, Dr. Pauza said surgeons should focus on re-growing the degenerated disc.
“The number of Americans undergoing back surgery without obtaining relief increased exponentially last year,” said Dr. Pauza. “As Tiger Woods doesn’t seem to be showing improvement…this problem shouldn’t be ignored, and surgery that’s ‘par for the course’ needs to be reconsidered.”
Comments by JCS:
Tiger’s situation is not unlike many people who are railroaded into spine surgery before they’ve tried chiropractic first as the guidelines recommend. As Dr. Robert Mendelssohn once said, “Anyone who has a back surgery without seeing a chiropractor first should also have his head examined!”
This example illustrates the fallacy of the “bad disc” diagnosis that Mayo Clinic revealed in its systematic review in November, 2014. Yet today most spine surgeons will convince ‘pain patients’ of the need for surgeries with the typical con known as the ‘false-positive’. Yes, the “bad disc” is evident on imaging, but researchers also find them in pain-free people. One researcher dubbed this ‘false-positive’ situation as “incidentalomas,” which means it is incidental to the pain, such as finding grey hair or wrinkles, it is just part of the aging process.
It’s refreshing to read Dr. Pauza’s honest evaluation of Tiger’s situation. Too bad the rest of the orthopedists don’t share his view, it would save many people a lot of pain and money.