I am sure you misunderstood what transpired with your friend. A “steel rod in the spine” generally means a fusion was performed (the rods are titanium) as this hardware is the scaffolding for a fusion. Fusions work really well in the properly selected and educated patients. Fusions are not perfect but many times are much better than the deformity and instability that preceded them.
I cannot tell you what would work for your husband but I would be happy to give him an opinion.
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.