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Similar outcomes for surgical, nonsurgical back treatments

Researchers studying herniated discs have found little difference in recovery between patients who have surgery versus those who are treated with physical therapy. Individuals who live in British Columbia and who have similar injuries may be interested in these results. According to researchers, while the patients who had surgery reported slightly better outcomes, the difference in improvement was not considered to be significant.

The study was done in New Hampshire, and it looked at 1,200 patients over a four-year period. Some of the subjects opted for surgery while others were randomly assigned to one group or the other. Researchers theorized that the group that opted for surgery may have had more pain and higher expectations for surgery, and that may have affected the results. Both groups improved a great deal over the first two years, but over the subsequent two years, the surgical group showed more improvement.

Individuals who suffer from a back injury as the result of an accident may go through several years of pain and treatment. This can be expensive and may also prevent an individual from working regularly. Therefore, an individual may wish to bring a lawsuit against the individual or entity responsible for the accident.

In order to win a successful civil suit, an individual only has to demonstrate negligence on the part of the responsible party and not criminal behavior. For example, an individual might have a back injury from a car accident in which another driver swerved into the lane and hit them. The driver may have only been charged with a misdemeanor, but in a civil case, that action may be considered negligence, and the driver may be ordered to pay the accident victim a significant sum of money.

Source: CBC News, "Surgery, physical therapy about equal for herniated discs: studies", November 21, 2006

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