children lying in grass - do you need surgery

Do you really KNOW you’ll need surgery?

Many patients will point to their “bad spot” like the back, knees, or shoulders and say “I know I’m going to need surgery.”

Here’s my question for those people: HOW do you know that?

Did a surgeon once tell you it might be a good option? Did a chiropractor say the back was too far gone for conservative treatment? Was it your primary doctor that said you have bad arthritis and will need surgery for it eventually?

When it comes to setting a goal, visualizing it, and actualizing it, let’s try to set ours a little higher than the worst case scenario. There are a lot of labels we put on ourselves and then we make sure they come true, so don’t let surgery be that for you.


I believe in trying the safest and least invasive option first. More risky options can then be sought in a gradual fashion so you get well with only “chancing” the smallest amount of risk. Surgery may be the right thing after these options are attempted, but then you will know it is your only remaining chance to get better. How would it feel if you underwent surgery that failed and THEN had to face the fact that you could have tried something else first and not been stuck with this new permanent condition?

I’ve helped a lot of people get better that were told they needed surgery. I’ve helped others that had an underlying fear they required surgery though it was never actually recommended by any doctor.

Then there are those many individuals with a condition right in the middle. Totally in the grey area, of surgery being one possibility and conservative treatment also a viable option. If that is you, then I have another question: isn’t it worth it to try the less risky (and less expensive) option of conservative chiropractic treatment before you take the 50/50 chance of going under the knife?


Once again, I will emphasize that I have nothing at all against surgery – when it is actually needed. When it is the last option available because all other less invasive, safer paths have been tried and have failed.

Here are some painful situations when I feel we should clearly say YES to surgery:

  • Traumatic injury that is life-threatening.
  • Extreme conditions that may not be life-threatening, but if left untreated will quickly progress to cause permanent damage (such as the severest level of disc herniations, muscle/ligament damage, broken bones, etc).
  • Severe pains that are not responsive to conservative care.

Some chronic pain can be made partially (or sometimes completely) better by surgery, and so it becomes a very personal decision that only you can make.


When it comes to pain and dysfunction, it is very subjective. What might be surgery-worthy pain for one person, could be less concerning and manageable to another. Athletes, for example, are often not okay with anything less than 100% function so they can push their body to the absolute limit in achieving their performance goals. Yet an everyday desk worker that now feels mild shoulder pain just 10% of the time might be happy with the result since they used to have severe pain 75% of the time. It may not be worth it to them to face the risks of surgery, and would rather manage that 10% with stretching, massage, chiropractic, or applying pain-relieving salves to the shoulder when it flares up.

You may be seeking a permanent solution to your pain, and surgery could cause permanent damage that instead of solving your problem just adds another to the list.

Most people are looking for a long-term fix for their problem. Chiropractic can be that for you. And with a gentle, safe approach we can reach that long-term wellness without facing unnecessary risks.

Dr. Favero

Doctor Favero
Dr. Jeff Favero has been using chiropractic to help others “be well” since 2008. He treats the young and old, athletes and “weekend warriors”, and uses a caring and effective treatment style to address common conditions such as neck pain, headaches, low back problems, sciatica, arm and leg pains.
Learn more about Dr. Favero by clicking here.

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