SURGERY is often NOT the ONLY Option

Posted by J.A., Writer for Hope Instilled on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 11:05 am

An image of a bunch of surgeons operating to talk about alternatives to surgery.

By: J.A., Writer for Hope Instilled 


Alternatives to Surgery

In an emergency situation, if the doctor tells you “You need surgery,” you are probably not going to question it. Especially in a life or death situation. Which makes sense. However, in a non-emergency situation is surgery always necessary for an injury or trauma that is causing you discomfort, pain, or impacting your day-to-day living? It may be a quicker fix, but it may not be the best choice or the SAFEST choice either now or with your future health needs. Some health issues may require the need for something immediate, but there is a good majority of health issues that do not.


NOTE: I’m not a doctor or healthcare provider, so I can’t say what chronic pain injuries and/or illnesses those are, or when it is worth it to look at alternatives. Talk with your doctor about the treatments you are considering.


What I am providing is a list of some practitioners and alternative treatments that other health care providers have mentioned as a way of avoiding surgery. We have a lot of great content on Hope Instilled about various alternative treatments, many of which have minor to sometimes no side effects. However, the options are ultimately yours to research, and the choice is yours to make. In some cases, surgery may very well be your best option.


What are the Downfalls of Surgery?

For Example

  • Surgeries typically do not have a 100% success rate of working to effectively solve the problem (I have heard of surgeries that only have a 50% chance of working effectively)
  • There is a risk of something going wrong during the operation
  • Possibility of challenging side effects afterward
  • Recovery may be brutal (being stuck on the couch for weeks or months may not be ideal, or needing help to function or move around)
  • Not being able to participate in normal everyday activities for an extended period of time
  • Surgery may require physical therapy or other related treatments after the surgery
  • Possible foreign substances, metals, or other materials to be placed in the body permanently
  • It may fix the problem temporarily, but other problems could come up later down the road. For example, some people have had their gallbladder removed, yet still see some of the same problems associated with the gallbladder. View Digestive Problems After Gallbladder Surgery
  • Surgeries are expensive, whether or not they are covered by insurance 

Why Alternative Treatments? 

Fascial CounterstrainAlternative treatments can often be safer. Even if they don’t provide the results a person is hoping to achieve, the side effects are often not as severe, minimal, or sometimes non-existent. Alternative treatments may not be the quick fix, but could actually be the easier solution to a chronic condition. Often with the right treatment, the root of the problem will be addressed, producing long-term results. Fascial Counterstrain is a great example of a treatment that looks for the deeper source of the problem and treats it. It helps with more than surface symptoms; it shortens overactive stretch reflexes in the fascia which is deeper underneath the skin. It follows the principle that the area causing pain, may not actually be the root cause, it could be one or multiple areas of the body triggering the pain.


Alternative Treatments can also be more affordable in the long run! You will pay for surgery, you might need time off from work, you may also pay for: physical therapy, a hospital stay, assistive devices, and drugs to help with the pain, and even with good insurance to cover it, the costs add up. Even though many alternative treatments are not covered by insurance, in the long run, you may be paying A LOT less.


If there are other options why are you not hearing about them?


Even though the doctor may only offer the option of surgery, there are often other options outside of their area of expertise. Most medical professionals in America are only trained in modern medicine techniques (medicine, surgery, etc.).


Alternative treatments have not been well known due to the medical system, medical colleges and the AMA, politics plays into it as well. Many alternative treatments date back over 100 to 1,000 years and beyond. Treatments like chiropracticnaturopathicosteopathic, and acupuncture, used to be the primary form of medicine. Around the 1920s-1950s, new technology and the drug industry’s financial backing led to the American Medical Association (AMA) attacking many alternative health care practices accusing them of “quackery.” The AMA made it their mission to attack alternative practitioners like Naturopaths, Chiropractors, and Osteopaths, and with their growing political power, it worked. They even passed more restrictive medical practice laws and had many state naturopathic licensure laws repealed. The public was consumed by the introduction of “miracle drugs,” developments in surgery, and other high-tech medical interventions. Still today, the war rages on with the AMA going after alternative healthcare.


Health Practitioners for Surgery Prevention


Based on research and conversations with alternative treatment doctors, here are some practitioners that offer treatments for surgery prevention (this list is not comprehensive, as we learn more about different treatments out there, we will expand upon this list):


  • OsteopathOsteopaths
    An osteopath physician uses manual techniques to manipulate and strengthen the musculoskeletal framework. Osteopaths provide drug-free, non-invasive treatments that aim to balance all body systems. Osteopaths focus on muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and the spine. Treatments aim to improve overall health and well-being by positively influencing the nervous, circulatory, and lymphatic systems.

  • How Safe is it? Osteopaths offer many different treatments so it is hard to say how safe they are. It will depend largely on the practitioner, but side effects are said to be minimal and could include just stiffness, head pain, or soreness. Severe side effects like nerve damage, muscle weakness, radiating pain in limbs are rare, and are likely to only happen with older individuals.

    Learn more about Osteopaths here.
    (View the various treatments they provide & what health conditions they help with.)

  • Physical Therapists
    Physical Therapists are highly-educated, licensed healthcare professionals that help to reduce pain from an injury or a disease by improving a person's function, movements, and overall health. Physical therapists can help people to recover from an injury, better life with their ongoing health issues, or may help prevent future health issues (preventing disabilities). They have numerous treatment options.

    How Safe is it? It is hard to say because there are so many different treatments performed by physical therapists. Typically side effects are just soreness, but it all comes down to picking the right practitioner who creates a treatment plan specifically customized to you.

    Learn more about Physical Therapists here.
    (View the various treatments they provide & what health conditions they help with.)


  • Chiropractors
    Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and also helps with misalignments of joints. Misalignments of the joints can lead to disorders by affecting the nerves, muscles, and organs. By properly aligning the body’s musculoskeletal structure, specifically the spine, the body may heal without surgery or medication.

    How safe is it? Chiropractic treatment is said to be very effective and safe. However, with this treatment, the practitioner is using hands-on manipulation, so there is a bit more risk than a treatment like Fascial Counterstrain, which uses gentle pressure on the skin. But, the most important thing is to pick a well-qualified practitioner, who will be honest about whether or not your health issue can benefit from chiropractic treatment.

    Learn more about Chiropractic here.
    (View the various treatments they provide & what health conditions they help with.)

  • NaturopathNaturopath
    A naturopath practitioner may also help with the prevention of surgery. A common cause of chronic pain is toxins accumulating in the body, and a naturopath can help with safely detoxing. They can also help with diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices, which can most definitely be related to some chronic pain issues.

    How safe is it? Treatments are non-invasive and typically don't have side effects. Furthermore, studies show patients often have better overall health by seeing a Naturopathic physician along with their conventional doctor.

    Learn more about Naturopaths here.
    (View the various treatments they provide & what health conditions they help with.)


Treatments that Mention Surgery Prevention

Here are some specific treatments that have mentioned surgery prevention

(Note: This list isn’t comprehensive; we will make an effort to update it as we learn more. There are likely many more options or recommendations that will come from Physical Therapists, Osteopaths, Naturopaths, or Medical Doctors.):

  • Dry Needling
    (Treatment typically provided by Physical Therapists and Osteopaths)

    This is a treatment using thin filiform needles to relieve muscular pain and improve movement. Dry needling is sometimes referred to as “Intramuscular Stimulation or Intramuscular Manual Therapy.” It treats dysfunctions in skeletal muscle, fascia, and connective tissues. Dry needling is not actually an alternative treatment. It is accepted as part of modern medicine following western medicine principles.

    How Safe is it? This treatment will largely depend upon how educated, trained, and experienced the practitioner or therapist is. A well-trained practitioner will use clean, individually packaged, single-use, sterile needles, and always disinfect the needled area before proceeding. They will also wear gloves. There are some mild side effects associated with this, and rare, but severe side effects if a physician doesn’t have the proper training, and inserts needles near the trapezius muscles.

    Learn more about dry needling here.
    (View what health conditions this helps with)
  • Fascial Counterstrain
    (Treatment typically provided by Physical Therapists & Osteopaths)
    Fascial Counterstrain releases spasms in all tissues of the human body using hands-on techniques. The practitioner uses their hands to guide the muscles, dysfunctional joints, or other structures into a position of comfort or ease, shortening offending muscles and releasing spasms. It can help with pain, tightness, spasms, and stiff joints. This treatment is gentle and relatively pain-free. Counterstrain can treat dysfunctions throughout all regions of the body: the musculoskeletal system, nervous system, craniosacral system, and master system (any soft tissue system).

    How Safe it is? This is probably one of the safest treatments out there. It is non-invasive, there is no high-intensity manipulation or thrusts. It doesn’t require force because the practitioner guides structures into a position of comfort. Side effects are typically just soreness. But, it is still important to have a well-trained, experienced practitioner.

    Learn more about Fascial Counterstrain here.
    (View what health conditions this helps with)

  • PEMF Therapy
    Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) also known as Low Field Magnetic Stimulation (LFMS), uses pulses of low-level electromagnetic radiation for healing. This can help with injury-related pain, healing damaged bones and tissue, promoting blood circulation, and stimulating the immune system and organs. It is FDA approved for bone healing, post-surgical pain and healing, pain and inflammation, knee pain, and depression.

    Learn more about PEMF Therapy here.

    How safe is it?

    PEMF therapy is one of the safest wellness technologies with very few reports of side effects. Some of the rare side effects reported include a mild, temporary headache, fatigue, agitation, weakness, dizziness, or warm/cold sensations.

  • Chiropractic TreatmentsChiropractic Treatment
    Many people think of back pain and maybe neck pain when they think of chiropractic treatment, but chiropractic actually helps with any joint pain that is ongoing, lasting months. Injuries not fixed by physical therapy could be joint issues that chiropractic treats. 

    Learn more about Chiropractic treatment here.


Already Had Surgery?


Many of these practitioners and treatments may help with lingering pains that are still present post-surgery, as well.


Other treatments to look into include Myofascial Release and Craniosacral Therapy.


Here is some additional content related to this topic:

Understanding the Risks Involved When Having Surgery

Surgery Isn’t Always the Answer

Pain Relief Without Drugs or Surgery


We hope this content is helpful for just giving you an idea of where to start when researching all the various treatment options out there.

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