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Research on Chiropractic Care

 

Following is an excerpt from the Chiropractic Times Issue #4 - July 26, 2011

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Chiropractic Physicians:
A Low Cost Solution to High Cost Healthcare

Numerous studies have shown that services delivered by doctors of chiropractic (DC) are cost effective and safe. The following are excerpts from several of these studies. By examining the research which demonstrates the cost savings associated with the services delivered by doctors of chiropractic, you will find that these services offer tremendous potential in meeting today’s health care challenges. The results suggest that insurance companies that restrict access to doctors of chiropractic may, inadvertently, be paying more for care than if they removed these restrictions.

  • -- A 2010 study by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee for low back pain care initiated with a doctor of chiropractic saves 40% on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a medical doctor.(1)

  • -- A 2010 study at the University of British Columbia found that for lower back pain of less than 16 weeks, guidelines-based care provided by chiropractic physicians is significantly more effective than “usual care” provided by medical physicians.(2)

  • -- In a 2009 report by Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH of Mercer Health Benefits, and Niteesh Choudhry, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School found “…when considering effectiveness and cost together, chiropractic physician care for low back and neck pain is highly cost effective, [and] represents a good value in comparison to medical physician care…”(3)

  • -- A 2004 study showed patients who went to chiropractic physicians as their primary care providers had 43% decreased in hospital admissions, 52% reductions in pharmaceutical costs and 43% fewer outpatient surgeries and procedures.(4)

  • -- In a follow-up 2007 study to the one above, patients enrolled in a DC network experienced fewer hospital visits, spent less time in a hospital for care, underwent fewer surgeries and used far fewer pharmaceuticals than other HMO patients who received traditional medical care.(5)

  • -- A 2004 study published in the British Medical Journal found spinal manipulation would be “a cost-effective addition to ‘best care’ for back pain in general practice.”(6)

  • -- According to a 2004 article in the Journal Spine: Spinal manipulative treatment for both chronic and acute lower back pain was more effective and provided more short-term relief than many other types of care, including prescription drugs, physical therapy and home exercise.(7)

     

    References
    (1) Cost of Care for Common Back Pain Conditions Initiated With Chiropractic Doctor vs. Medical Doctor/Doctor of Osteopathy as First Physician: Experience of One Tennessee-Based General Health Insurer,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), 2010.
    (2) Bishop PB, Quon JA, Fisher CG, Dvorak MF. The Chiropractic Hospital-based Interventions Research Outcomes study: a randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of clinical practice guidelines in the medical and chiropractic management of patients with acute mechanical low back pain. Spine Journal, 2010
    (3) Choudhry N, Milstein A. Do chiropractic physician services for treatment of low-back and neck pain improve the value of health benefit plans? An evidence-based assessment of incremental impact on population health and total healthcare spending. San Francisco: Mercer Health and Benefits;2009.
    (4) Sarnat, R.; Winterstein, J. Clinical and Cost Outcomes of an Integrative Medicine IPA. JMPT, 2004.
    (5) Sarnat, R.; Winterstein, J; Cambron JA. Clinical and Cost Outcomes of an Integrative Medicine IPA; an additional 3-year update. JMPT, 2007.
    (6) UK BEAM Trial Team. United Kingdom back pain exercise and manipulation (UK BEAM) randomized trial: cost-effectiveness of physical treatments for back pain in primary care. BMJ Online First, 2004.
    (7) Bronfort G, Haas M, Evans R, Bouter L. Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation and Mobilization for Low Back Pain and Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Best Evidence Synthesis. Spine Journal, 2004

    Source: The American Chiropractic Association

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