Surgery or IDD Therapy: Which Path to Choose?

With advancements in medical technology and the introduction of treatments like IDD Therapy, patients now have a broader spectrum of options. However, there’s a prevailing misconception that surgery is a sure-fire solution. In reality, surgery might not always yield the expected results.

Understanding the Surgical Landscape

Surgery, by its nature, is invasive. It involves making incisions to address or remove a particular issue. Whilst modern surgical techniques have improved in safety, every surgical procedure comes with its set of risks. These can range from infections to complications from anaesthesia, extended recovery periods, and unforeseen consequences. It’s crucial to grasp the distinction between surgically excising the problem and fostering an environment where the body can naturally heal itself. The latter approach, foundational to treatments like IDD Therapy, leans on the body’s intrinsic healing capabilities.

When Surgery Might Be Necessary

Given the inherent risks associated with surgery, at Sussex Back Pain Clinic, we consistently champion non-invasive treatments like IDD Therapy as the first line of approach. I firmly believe that surgery should be the absolute last resort, only to be considered after all non-surgical avenues have been thoroughly explored. However, there are three specific situations where I would advise surgery over first exploring IDD Therapy:

  1. Large Sequestered Disc Fragment: A substantial fragment of the disc that has become detached.
  2. Bowel or Bladder Complications: Grave complications resulting from a disc issue that affects bowel or bladder function, potentially leading to a loss of control.
  3. Spinal Cord Compression: A disc herniation or bulge in the neck causing compression of the spinal cord, which might lead to functional impairment in hands or feet.

If none of these three conditions are present, I wouldn’t recommend surgery. Instead, I’d advocate for the myriad benefits and proven effectiveness of IDD Therapy as the primary course of treatment. IDD Therapy boasts very high success rates, and the vast majority of our patients at Sussex Back Pain Clinic have experienced remarkable outcomes, sidestepping surgery altogether. However, one thing I always emphasise is this: if IDD Therapy doesn’t yield the desired results, surgery remains on the table. But, if surgery fails or results in complications, the aftermath is often irreversible, casting a long shadow over one’s quality of life.

The Role of IDD Therapy

Intervertebral Differential Dynamics Therapy, or IDD Therapy, has emerged as a credible and potent alternative for treating chronic neck, spine, and back pain. Regrettably, many patients come to us having been informed that surgery is their sole recourse. It’s often serendipity that leads them to discover treatments like IDD Therapy, opening their eyes to other promising avenues. Clinical studies consistently underscore IDD Therapy’s potential to offer lasting relief. One such study in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Treatment reported a 91% success rate. Even more compelling, an impressive 92% of patients, initially on the surgical path, successfully evaded the operation after undergoing IDD Therapy, as spotlighted in both the US Musculoskeletal Review and European Musculoskeletal Review.  2

Safety is paramount when weighing any medical treatment. Whilst there’s always a sliver of risk that any medical procedure might exacerbate symptoms, the risks associated with IDD Therapy hover around 1%. These risks are exceptionally minor, especially when compared with invasive procedures like surgery. This safety profile, combined with its efficacy, positions IDD Therapy as a trustworthy choice for those eager to bypass surgical interventions.


Whilst surgery has its role in treating spinal conditions, it’s not invariably the first or optimal choice. Understanding spinal conditions and treatments can often feel like navigating a labyrinth. Before making a decision, it’s pivotal to explore all treatment avenues, comprehend the risks inherent to each, and recognise that potent alternatives to surgery exist. By being well-informed, you empower yourself to select the most suitable path for your health and well-being, ensuring you’re not tethered to a singular perceived solution.


Steve Morris is a highly experienced Osteopath with over three decades of hands-on experience. As one of the pioneering figures to introduce IDD Therapy in the UK back in 2010, Steve has not only established himself as a leading authority in the non-surgical treatment of disc conditions, but he’s also recognised as one of the country’s foremost experts in mechanical decompression through IDD Therapy.

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