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Major Study Questions Back Surgery

NPR aired a news story about a particular surgery for backs that a new study along with one from Australia can’t find any significant proof that it works.

Many have questioned the effectiveness of various other back pain procedures. For example, long after surgeries for slipped disks had become common practice, it was determined that the surgery has only a slight advantage over rest and rehabilitation. Spinal fusion also remains controversial. In many cases, the passing of time alone can heal the back.

President Obama has set aside $1 billion to do comparative effectiveness studies. It’s a good idea, but it’s going to take some discipline to make use of the results, says Sean Tunis, director of the nonprofit Center for Medical Technology Policy. He says insurers will have a hard time disallowing procedures that the medical community thinks work.

It would be great if some of this study money went to study holistic health.

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