John W. Reggars D.C., M.Chiro.Sc.

I cannot get permission to publish this article in full, but I had been given permission to include a link to it by the, "Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australia. The article concerns the fads in therapeutic surgery for low back pain, specifically:-  The link no longer exists, but this is what we had originally.

Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression & Chemonucleolysis

John Reggars states in his opening that,

"In my 25 years of practice I have been exposed to numerous medical

and non-medical miracle treatments for low back pain and or sciatica,

including some chiropractic and osteopathic techniques.

Unfortunately most, rather than standing the test of time, have withered on the vine."

In our circumstances, with a negative prognosis for our disease and the almost daily ambush of new symptoms, we can be led to believe that; ".....this new invasive procedure will improve our lives and turn our situation around.". This is where we came in surely. Most of us will remember a healer in white, or maybe in a crisp shirt and Savile Row Suit, smiling reassurance as they described a myelogram as a "routine" procedure. Moreover a procedure that would allow them to diagnose whatever it was that laid us low and therefore be able to put it right. How many of us would, in the same situation, opt for that glowing promise today?

Looking back to when my procedure was performed I remember the pride we all had in our Naval medical service. As far as we from the lower deck were aware they were the best in the world, as sure as we were the best Navy in the world, despite the fact that our force had shrunk in the usual post war torpor and distaste for blood. The arrogant pride of youth and vigour. In our immaturity we also held those above us in awe, their gleaming gold cuffs and shining parade swords had embued them with an infallability, they were a class above ours and therefore, as our guides, our mentors, they would not fail us.

What we had no way of knowing then was that they were extremely fallable. Whilst they calmed our fears they were at the same time calming their own. They knew that there were risks in myelography and spinal surgery, but they had no idea how great the real disaster would be. Their crime, in some ways, was that they accepted what they were told much as Nazi camp guards accepted their orders, in medicine, as in the armed forces, their superiors held the keys to their success.

The true crime was that they did not question the claims that spinally invasive toxic solutions and surgeries would improve their patients prospects. They were going to toy with the most sensitive organ in the human body and it was not going to harm us? I ask you if it sounds feasible that puncturing, cutting and polluting what is a sealed, highly sensitive signalling system, will do it no lasting harm. We all have to question today.

There is no way that we can ever trust our medical services fully ever again. How many years will pass before new victims of today's fads will find out, in much the same way we did, that their working days, their useful days, their recreational days are all behind them. It therefore lies with us to carry that healthy scepticism forward, teach that to our children. White coats, reassuring words and the wearing of the magical instruments of their trade do not make our physicians into magicians. When they play, we pay and it has to stop.

I will let you go with two quotes from the final paragraph of John Reggars article. Firstly a world renowned back pain researcher Richard Deyo has said:

"Much of the history of back pain therapy appears to be a succession of fads. Widespread coccygectomy and sacroiliac fusion have had their day. Modern day fads have included colchinine therapy and laser stimulation of trigger points."

Alf Nachemson warns us that Orthopedic Specialists, "......are too quick to use the new screws, hooks, pins and needles, promoted by the inventors and the instrument companies despite mediocre results and many complications."

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