Magicians make a living at amazing crowds with all kinds of impressive tricks and acts. They are masters at making things appear different than they actually are (i.e., “Did that bunny really just disappear into thin air?”). Similarly, MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) can be very good at making dysfunctions, derangements, or pain sources appear differently than they actually are.
A spinal fusion is a surgery to permanently join together two or more vertebrae in the spine so there is no movement between them using bone from another area of the body or metal implants. Spinal fusions are based on a belief that continued movement at that joint level is what is creating the pain. Each year, there are nearly 100,000 spinal fusions performed in the U.S. But they are almost always ineffective for chronic low back pain and carry the very real risk of death and disability. This is a concerning problem1. Research does not show a distinct difference between a spinal fusion and a rehabilitation treatment for low back pain.
Back pain has become so prevalent that it's unlikely that even small-business employers are unaffected at this point.
Back pain is so prevalent in U.S. workforces that it might as well become a budget item. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), back pain is second only to headaches in terms of frequency, and the costs from lost productivity can be formidable.
Low back discomfort is one of the most common reasons that individuals visit a physician’s office. It has been estimated that 17% of the US population has had low back symptoms within the last 3 months.