A Hospital-Based Standardized Spine Care Pathway: Report of a Multidisciplinary, Evidence-Based Process
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011 (Feb); 34 (2): 98–106
A health care facility (Jordan Hospital) implemented a multidimensional spine care pathway, utilizing a multidisciplinary, evidence-based, standardized process, to improve clinical outcomes, and to reduce the costs associated with treatment and diagnostic testing. 518 consecutive patients were assessed and 83% (432) were classified and and then treated by doctors of chiropractic and/or physical therapists. 95% of patients treated by DCs rated their care as "excellent." This was accomplished with a relatively low cost and with high patient satisfaction. The authors concluded that “interprofessional collaboration between doctors of chiropractic, physical therapists, and medical doctors within teams improved spine care; that promotion of care coordination reduced unnecessary testing and procedures; and the standardization of LBP management reduced practice variations and significantly reduced the costs of care.”
Cost-effectiveness of Guideline-endorsed Treatments for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review
Eur Spine J. 2011 (Jan 13) [Epub ahead of print]
This 2011 systematic review of the cost-effectiveness of treatments endorsed in the APS-ACP guidelines found that spinal manipulation was cost-effective for subacute and chronic low back pain, as were other methods usually within the chiropractor’s scope of practice (interdisciplinary rehabilitation, exercise, and acupuncture). Massage alone was unlikely to be cost-effective. This review found evidence supporting the cost-effectiveness of the guideline-endorsed treatments of interdisciplinary rehabilitation, exercise, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and cognitive-behavioural therapy for sub-acute or chronic LBP. It also found no evidence at all on the cost-effectiveness of medication for low back pain.
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
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2010 (Nov); 33 (9): 640–643
This important 2010 study evaluated low back pain care for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s intermediate and large group fully insured population over a two-year period. The 85,000 BCBS subscribers in the insured study population had open access to MDs and DCs through self-referral, and there were no limits applied to the number of MD/DC visits allowed and no differences in co-pays. Thus, the data from this study reflect what happens when chiropractic and medical services compete on a level playing field. The researchers, led by an actuary, compared the costs of low back pain care initiated with a doctor of chiropractic with care initiated through a medical doctor or osteopathic physician. They found that costs for the chiropractic group were 40 percent lower. Even after factoring in the severity of the conditions with which patients presented, costs when initiating care with a DC rather than an MD/DO were 20 percent lower. The researchers concluded that insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care for low back pain treatment may inadvertently pay more for care than they would if they removed such restrictions. According to this analysis, had all of the low back cases initiated care with a DC, this would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million for BCBS of Tennessee.
Clinical Utilization and Cost Outcomes from an Integrative Medicine Independent Physician Association: An Additional 3-year Update
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007 (May); 30 (4): 263–269
The initial report (see immediately below) analyzed clinical and cost utilization data from the years 1999 to 2002 for an integrative medicine independent physician association (IPA) whose primary care physicians (PCPs) were exclusively doctors of chiropractic. This report updates the subsequent utilization data from the IPA for the years 2003 to 2005 and includes first-time comparisons in data points among PCPs of different licensures who were oriented toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The authors found that: “During the past 7 years, and with a larger population than originally reported, the CAM-oriented PCPs using a nonsurgical/nonpharmaceutical approach demonstrated reductions in both clinical and cost utilization when compared with PCPs using conventional medicine alone.” The savings? Clinical and cost utilization based on 70,274 member-months over a 7-year period demonstrated decreases of 60.2% in-hospital admissions, 59.0% less hospital days, 62.0% less outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 85% less pharmaceutical costs when compared with conventional medicine IPA performance for the same health maintenance organization product in the same geography and time frame.
Clinical and Cost Outcomes Of An Integrative Medicine IPA
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004 (Jun) ; 27 (5): 336–347
In 1999, a large Chicago HMO began to utilize doctors of chiropractic (DCs) in a primary care provider role. The DCs focused on assessment and evaluation of risk factors and practiced with a non-pharmaceutical/non-surgical approach. Insurance claims and patient surveys were analyzed to compare clinical outcomes, costs and member satisfaction with a normative control group. During the 4-year study, this integrative medical approach, emphasizing a variety of complimentary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies, resulted in lower patient costs and improved clinical outcomes for patients. The patients who went to DCs as their primary care providers had 43 percent decreases in hospital admissions, 52 percent reductions in pharmaceutical costs and 43 percent fewer outpatient surgeries and procedures.
Comparative Analysis Of Individuals With And Without Chiropractic Coverage
Arch Intern Med 2004 (Oct 11); 164 (18): 1985–1892 ~ FULL TEXT
A 4-year retrospective review of claims from 1.7 million health plan members were analyzed to determine the cost effects of the inclusion of a chiropractic benefit in an HMO insurance plan. The data revealed that members with a chiropractic benefit had lower overall total annual health care costs. Back pain patients with chiropractic coverage also realized lower utilization of plain radiographs, low back surgery, hospitalizations and MRI’s. Back pain episode-related costs were also 25 percent lower for those with chiropractic coverage ($289 vs. $399).
Chiropractic Care: Is It Substitution Care or Add-on Care in Corporate Medical Plans?
J Occup Environ Med 2004 (Aug); 46 (8): 847–855
In this study, the claims of 8 million members insured by a managed health plan were evaluated to determine how patients utilize chiropractic treatment when they have a chiropractic benefit. They found that patients use chiropractic as a direct substitution for medical care, choosing chiropractic 34 percent of the time. Having a chiropractic benefit rider did not increase the number of patients seeking care for neuromusculoskeletal complaints.
United Kingdom Back Pain, Exercise and Manipulation Randomized Trial: Cost Effectiveness of Physical Treatments for Back Pain In Primary Care
British Medical Journal 2004 (Dec 11); 329 (7479): 1381
This study compared the benefits of spinal manipulation and exercise to “best care” in general practice for patients consulting for back pain. 1,287 patients were divided into treatment groups and followed for more than one year. Patients receiving manipulation and exercise had lower relative treatment costs and experienced more treatment benefits than those treated with general medical care. The authors believe that this study convincingly demonstrated that manipulation alone and manipulation followed by exercise provided cost-effective additions to general practice.
Cost Effectiveness of Physiotherapy, Manual Therapy, and General Practitioner Care for Neck Pain: Economic Evaluation Alongside a Randomised Controlled Trial
British Medical Journal 2003 (Apr 26); 326 (7395): 911
Patients who received care from general practitioners for neck pain were randomly allocated to receive manual therapy (spinal mobilization), physiotherapy (mainly exercise) or general practitioner care (counseling, education and drugs). Throughout this 52-week study, patients rated their perceived recovery, intensity of pain and functional disability. Manual therapy proved to be the most effective treatment for neck pain. The clinical outcome measures showed that manual therapy resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy and general practitioner care. While achieving this superior outcome, the total costs of the manual therapy-treated patients were about one third of the costs of physiotherapy or general practitioner care.
Integration and Reimbursement of Complementary and Alternative Medicine By Managed Care And Insurance Providers: 2000 Update And Cohort Analysis
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2002 (Jan); 8 (1): 38-48
In this study the authors indicated that consumer demand for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is motivation for more managed care organizations (MCO’s) and insurance companies to assess the clinical and cost benefits of incorporating CAM into their health plans. Providers identified “consumer demand” as the most critical factor underlying their decision to offer CAM coverage. Companies surveyed in the study tended to rate “retaining existing enrollees” as being more important than in previous years. It is equally certain that there is a rapidly growing consumer demand for CAM. Market demand is one of the primary motivators for offering coverage of CAM, with consumer interest similarly cited as a key factor.
Utilization, Cost, and Effects Of Chiropractic Care On Medicare Program Costs
Muse and Associates. American Chiropractic Association 2001
This study examines cost, utilization and effects of chiropractic services on Medicare costs. The study compared program payments and service utilization for Medicare beneficiaries who visited DCs and those who visited other types of physicians. The results indicated that chiropractic care could reduce Medicare costs. Medicare beneficiaries who had chiropractic care had an average Medicare payment of $4,426 for all Medicare services. Those who had other types of care had an average of $8,103 Medicare payment for all Medicare services. The per claim average payment was also lower with chiropractic patients, having an average of $133 per claim compared to $210 per claim for individuals who did not have chiropractic care.
Economic Case for the Integration of Chiropractic Services into the Health Care System
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000 (Feb); 23 (2): 118–122
In this study the author explores the effects of the integration of chiropractic care into the health care system. The author indicates that greater use of chiropractic care would lead to reduced costs and improved outcomes. As support, the author points to studies which demonstrate that chiropractic is effective for neuromusculoskeletal disorders and the evidence that patients often prefer chiropractic care over a medical approach.
Cost Comparison of Chiropractic and Medical Treatment Of Common Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Review Of The Literature After 1980
Topics in Clinical Chiropractic 1999; 6 (2): 57-68
A cost comparison study between DC-provided care and care provided by general and specialist MDs for individuals with musculoskeletal conditions found that the majority of retrospective studies had positive results for chiropractic care.
Enhanced Chiropractic Coverage Under OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) As A Means For Reducing Health Care Costs, Attaining Better Health Outcomes And
Achieving Equitable Access To Health Services
Manga, Pran. Report to the Ontario Ministry of Health, 1998.
This study demonstrates the ways in which individuals in Ontario are deterred from the use of chiropractic care because it is not covered under OHIP. The authors indicate that greater chiropractic coverage under OHIP would result in a greater number of individuals visiting chiropractors and going more often. The study shows that despite increased visits to DCs, this would result in net savings in both direct and indirect costs. Direct savings for Ontario's healthcare system could be as much as $770 million and at the very least $380 million.
Costs and Recurrences of Chiropractic and Medical Episodes of Low-back Care
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997 (Jan); 20 (1): 5–12
This study compared the health insurance payments and patient utilization patterns of individuals suffering from recurring low back pain who visited doctors of chiropractic or medical doctors. Insurance payments were higher for medically initiated episodes. Those who visited chiropractors paid a lower cost and were also more satisfied with the care given. Because of this, the study suggests that chiropractic care should be given careful attention by employers when using gate-keeper strategies.
Chiropractic And Medical Costs Of Low Back Care
Medical Care 1996 (Mar); 34(3): 191-204
This study compares health insurance payments and patient utilization patterns for episodes of care for common lumbar and low back conditions treated by chiropractic and medical providers. Using 2 years of insurance claims data, this study examines 6,183 patients who had episodes with medical or chiropractic first-contact providers. Researchers found that total insurance payments were substantially greater for episodes with a medical first-contact provider. The mean total payment when DCs were the first providers was $518, whereas the mean payment for cases in which an MD was the first provider was $1,020.
The Economic Role of Chiropractic Further Analysis of Relative Insurance Costs for Low Back Care
Journal of the Neuromusculoskeletal System 1995; 3(3): 139-144
This retrospective study of 7077 patients compared costs of care for treatment of common low back conditions when a chiropractor was the first provider versus when a medical doctor (MD) was the first provider. Total payments for inpatient procedures were higher for MD initiated treatment and especially for episodes that lasted longer than a single day. Outpatient payments were much higher for MD initiated treatments as well. Payments were nearly twice as great for the medically initiated cases and their outpatient payments were nearly 50% higher. The authors’ statistical estimates indicate that the costs of care for common low back disorders using a chiropractor as first-contact provider are substantially lower than episodes in which a medical physician is the first- contact provider. The author concluded that chiropractic care could help to control health care spending.
A Systematic Review of Low Back Pain Cost of Illness Studies in the United States and Internationally
Spine J. 2008 (Jan); 8 (1): 8-20
Researchers attempted to conduct a systematic review of low back pain cost of illness in the United States and internationally. The researched conducted a systematic review of the literature and found that many studies have attempted to determine the costs associated with the treatment of low back pain. While the studies examined use a variety of methodologies many indicate that the costs of care for this ailment is substantial. Researchers determined that additional studies which would provide an estimate of the cost of low back pain with its associated costs from a societal perspective would be helpful in determining how to allocate health care resources.
State Specific Workers Compensation Studies:
Chiropractic Treatment of Workers’ Compensation Claimants in the State of Texas
Executive Summary. MGT of America Feb 2003.
This retrospective study of workers’ compensation claims from 1996 to 2001 was conducted to determine the use and efficacy of chiropractic care in Texas. The researchers reviewed 900,000 claims during that time period to determine if chiropractic was costeffective compared to medical treatment. They found that chiropractor treatment costs were the lowest of all providers. The study data demonstrated that increased utilization of chiropractic care could lead to declining costs relative to lower back injuries.
Chiropractic care of Florida workers' compensation claimants: Access, costs, and administrative outcome trends from 1994 to 1999
Topics in Clinical Chiropractic 2002; 9(4): 33-53
This retrospective study of Florida workers’ compensation claims from 1994-1999 found that the average total cost for low-back cases treated medically was $16,998 while chiropractic care was only $7,309. Patients treated primarily by chiropractors were found to reach maximum medical improvement almost 28 days sooner that if treated by a medical doctor. Findings from this analysis of the Florida claims indicate that considerable cost savings and more efficient claims resolution may be possible with greater involvement of chiropractic treatment in specific low back cases and other specific musculoskeletal cases.
Managed Care Pre-approval and its Effect on the Cost of Utah Worker Compensation Claims
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1997 (Jul); 20 (6): 372-6
In this study, 5000 claims from 1986 and 5000 from 1989 pertaining to injured individuals in the Utah Worker Compensation Fund were examined.. The study compared costs for those who received chiropractic care and those who received medical care. From 1986 to 1989 the cost of care for chiropractic increased 12% while medical care increased 71%. The replacement of wages increased 21% for those receiving chiropractic care and 114% for those receiving medical care.
Preliminary Findings of Analysis of Chiropractic Utilization in the Workers' Compensation System of New South Wales, Australia
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1995 (Oct); 18 (8): 503-11
In this study, researchers analyzed WorkCover Authority data from New South Wales. Of 1289 cases 30% had back problems. In 12% of the cases, chiropractic care was used for the treatment of spinal injury. The total payments for all cases using chiropractic and physiotherapy care were $25.2 million, which was 2.4% of the total payments. When 20 claims were chosen at random the average chiropractic cost of care was $299.65, while the average medical cost was $647.20. A trend in data collected indicated that when greater than 60% of total cost of treatment came from chiropractic care the number of days missed from work was 9.5. When less than 60% of total cost of treatment came from chiropractic care the number of days missed from work was 50.3.
A Non-surgical Approach to the Management of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Prospective Observational Cohort Study
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006 (Feb 23); 7: 16
Non-surgical treatment for spinal stenosis is often recommended but clinical outcome efficacy data has been little-studied. 57 patients with leg pain and lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) documented by MRI or CT were treated at the Rhode Island Spine Center with distraction manipulation and neural mobilization. Neural mobilization is a nerve root mobilization technique applied by having the practitioner perform a series of maneuvers moving the foot alternatively into extension and flexion while flexing the hip and extending the knee. The distraction manipulation was theorized to break up periradicular adhesion, thereby releasing nerve root entrapment and restoring vascular function. The patients were also given cat and camel exercises to complement the manual techniques. In general, patients were treated 2-3 times per week for 3 weeks then re-evaluated for outcome measurements and continued on a reduction of frequency basis for a mean number of 13 treatments. Improvement in disability and patient-rated changes were both significant and clinically meaningful. Long term follow-up at 16.5 months found patientrated improvement to be 76% while disability measured by Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire was 73%. The researchers concluded this treatment approach is a viable alternative to surgery and most patients should be treated non-surgically before considering an operation.
Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: a randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations
Spine J. 2006 (Mar); 6 (2): 131-7
This study included 102 patients with acute back and/or leg pain of moderate to severe intensity and MRI evidence of disc protrusion. The patients received a maximum of 30 manipulations or simulated manipulations over a 30 day period. 28% of the manipulation group became pain-free locally vs. only 6% in the sham group. 55% of the manipulation group experienced absence of radicular symptoms compared to 20% of the no manipulation group. The manipulation group also had a significant decrease in use and prescriptions for NSAIDs.
Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain in Adults Treated by Manual Therapy: A Systematic Review of Change Scores in Randomized Clinical Trials
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007 (Mar); 30 (3): 215–227
Neck pain is a common ailment, with approximately 10-15% of the population suffering from it at any given time. The researchers in this study reviewed 1980 citations and found 13 high quality trials utilizing manipulation or manual therapy. Their review found that the benefit from manipulation was greater. The long-term data regarding spinal manipulation for chronic neck pain was not as conclusive. However, the results demonstrated a great benefit with treatment up to 104 weeks. The spinal mobilization trials also showed very good benefit at a 6 to 7 week outcome point, with 70% of patients having full recovery or important improvement at that point. The researchers attempted to determine whether the benefit could be the natural history and placebo effect and compared these trials with a separate group of controlled no-treatment patients. The researchers concluded that the benefit noted in this review exceeded the placebo effect and natural history of the no treatment group.
A Nonsurgical Approach to the Management of Patients With Cervical Radiculopathy
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006 (May); 29 (4): 279-87
This study focused on 35 patients who were diagnosed with cervical radiculitis caused by either lateral stenosis or cervical disk herniation. The patients were treated with spinal manipulative therapy and were monitored for an average of 8 months. Improvement in disability was prospectively measured with a disability questionnaire and pain rating scale. The patients’ cervical joints were palpated and SMT was applied to the level of dysfunction using both high-velocity and lower-velocity techniques. In some cases, anti-inflammatory modalities such as ice and anti-inflammatory drugs were used, although most of the patients were already taking these medications before the study began. Patients were typically treated 2 to 3 times per week with reduction of frequency thereafter. Almost 90% of the patients described their improvement as excellent or good. The patients had marked improvement in both pain intensity (62%) and disability (75%) at the end of the treatment. This improvement continued and increased at long-term follow-up. There were no major complications reported and there were no reports of short-term increases in pain. The researchers concluded the non-surgical approach to be safe and effective for the 35 patients in the study.
Efficacy Of Treating Low Back Pain And Dysfunction Secondary To Osteoarthritis: Chiropractic Care Compared With Moist Heat Alone
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006 (Feb); 29 (2): 107-14
250 subjects with low back pain thought to be secondary to osteoarthritis were randomized to receive 20 treatments of either chiropractic care (flexion/distraction with spinal manipulation) with hot moist packs or hot moist packs alone. Chiropractic care with heat was found to be far superior to heat alone utilizing various outcome measures including pain intensity, ROM and activities of daily living. The chiropractic group had rapid improvement in personal care, walking, sitting and social life, while the moist heat alone group had no improvement of these factors.
A Perspective For Considering the Risks and Benefits of Spinal Manipulation in Patients With Low Back Pain
Man Ther. 2006 (Nov); 11 (4): 316-20
In this study, the researchers divided 131 low back pain patients into groups receiving either manipulation and exercise or exercise alone. The researchers attempted to determine the effect of a public policy that does not routinely offer manipulation for patients with low back pain. There are large direct and indirect costs associated with prolonged low back pain disability and this study attempted to evaluate the risks associated with not treating low back pain patients with manipulation. The researchers attempted to determine the Number Needed to Treat (NNT) to prevent one patient from worsening in disability. They analyzed their treatment data and concluded that deciding not to treat a low back pain patient with manipulation is not innocuous or conservative. Patients treated with exercise only were 8 times more likely to experience worsening in disability at 1 week. Acute patients with symptoms not distal to the knee and fewer than 16 days were linked to a 66% probability that they would have a 50% reduction in disability over a 1-week period.
Factors Associated With Patient Satisfaction With Chiropractic Care: Survey and Review of the Literature
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006 (Jul); 29 (6): 455–462
Chiropractic patient satisfaction has been reported to be very high in the scientific literature. A review of the literature found 8 studies that compared chiropractic care to care from medical doctors (MD). 6 studies showed higher satisfaction with chiropractic care while 1 found higher satisfaction with MD care and 1 was equivocal. The data for this study was collected by a national phone survey and involved contacting 400 adults who had received chiropractic services and 400 who never received chiropractic care. The 22-minute phone interview found that 50% of all former chiropractic patients had seen a chiropractor in the past year. Family or friends had referred 66% of chiropractic patients while 12% were referred by their MD. Further analysis concluded that 12% of the adult US population had visited a chiropractor in the past 12 months. 83% of the chiropractic patients reported they were satisfied or very satisfied while only 9% were dissatisfied with care received. The researchers concluded that the chiropractor’s communication quality appeared to be a significant predictor of patient satisfaction. Patients responded that the doctors of chiropractic explained health problems and choices and seemed to be concerned about them as individuals in addition to their overall health.
A Pilot Study Comparing Two Manual Therapy Interventions For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 (Jan); 30 (1): 50-61
A group of 22 carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) patients were given a 10 session intervention of either Grastin Instrument –assisted soft tissue mobilization (GISTM) or soft tissue mobilization by hand. Both groups had substantial decrease from baseline pain at 3 months-post treatment and noticed immediate improvements in ability to perform tasks that were affected by CTS. Both wrist ROM and grip strength returned to normal. The researchers concluded that this study supported the theory that manual therapy increases myofascial mobility which affects blood flow and thereby decreases nerve pressure. Nerve conduction latencies were not significantly improved. Clinical signs and symptoms such as Phalen’s tests, Tinel’s sign and 2-pt discrimination did not show adequate sensitivity or specificity to be useful as diagnostic criteria or outcome measures.
The Effect of Combining Manual Therapy With Exercise on the Respiratory Function of Normal Individuals
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 (Sep); 30 (7): 509-13
Non-communicable respiratory disease plays a significant role in worldwide mortality. Respiratory function measured with spirometry can estimate prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 50 asymptomatic individuals were randomized to receive exercise, manual therapy or both; then pre and post spirometry measurements were compared with the treatment effects with a control group. The manual therapy group was the only group to show a significant increase in respiratory function.
Does the Evidence for Spinal Manipulation Translate into Better Outcomes in Routine Clinical Care for Patients with Occupational Low Back Pain?
Spine J. 2006 (May); 6 (3): 289-95
Researchers examined the effect of thrust manipulation on patient diagnoses with occupational low back pain receiving worker’s compensation. They stated that thrust manipulation is evidence-based, but is underutilized by physical therapists in the occupational setting. 578 patients were treated with either thrust manipulation, no-thrust manipulation or no manipulation. The thrust patients had a 66% reduction in Oswestry scores over a period of four sessions in 2.5 weeks. The thrust patients also had more improvement in both pain and disability compared to the no manipulation patients and the duration of care was shorter. The cost of physical therapy was also found to be greater in the non-thrust techniques group.
Symptomatic Outcomes and Perceived Satisfaction Levels of Chiropractic Patients with a Primary Diagnosis Involving Acute Neck Pain
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006 (May); 29 (4): 288–296
94 Chiropractic patients with acute neck pain were contacted after receiving treatment. 50% of them described experiencing acute neck pain after an automobile crash, while 40% reported no prior traumatic event. Approximately 84% of the patients indicated limited activity prior to chiropractic care and 7% of them described their restriction as severe. The mean number of chiropractic visits was 24 and included adjunctive treatment modalities in 94% of the cases. Pain levels improved dramatically from a mean of 7.5 to 1.9 (on a scale of 10) after treatment. These effects appeared to be long lasting. Overall, 94% of the patients were satisfied or very satisfied with care received. 84% of the patients had restricted activities before treatment, while only 25% of the treated patients noted restrictions at the time of the interview. Trauma patients received over 3 times as many visits as non-trauma patients. The researchers concluded the patients with acute neck pain had significant reduction in pain and activity restriction with chiropractic care.
Chiropractic Care for Nonmusculoskeletal Conditions: A Systematic Review With Implications for Whole Systems Research
J Altern Complement Med. 2007 (Jun); 13 (5): 491-512
The objective of this systematic review of prior studies was to evaluate the evidence of chiropractic care on patients with non-musculoskeletal conditions. 179 papers addressing 50 different non-musculoskeletal conditions were reviewed. Unfortunately, the quality of many of the studies was not high. The researchers found research support for a total package of chiropractic care possibly benefiting patients with asthma, cervicogenic vertigo, and infantile colic. Evidence was promising for children with otitis media and elderly patients with pneumonia.
Chiropractic Services in the Canadian Armed Forces: A Pilot Project
Military Medicine 2006 (Jun); 171 (6): 572–576
This article reviews results of surveys of 102 military personnel referred for chiropractic services in a Canadian Armed Forces Pilot Project. Traditionally, Canadian forces have had to self-pay for chiropractic services outside of the military system. The military personnel were all referred by the medical staff for chiropractic services. 52% of the patients complained of low back pain and their average initial onset was over 6 years. 94% of the patients responded that they were satisfied with the chiropractic care received while 80% of the referring physicians expressed satisfaction.
A Population-based Survey of Back Pain Beliefs in Canada
Spine. 2006 (Aug 15); 31 (18): 2142-5
A telephone survey of 2400 Canadian adults found a lifetime prevalence of low back pain of 84% and a 1 week prevalence of 34%. 50% of those surveyed agreed with statements such as “back trouble makes everything worse,” “back trouble will eventually stop you from working,” and “later in life, back trouble gets progressively worse.” Subjects who had taken time off from work for their last pain episode were more likely to agree with the statement, “if you have back pain you should rest until it is better” and they were more likely to use resting or avoiding activity and staying in bed more than usual. The authors indicated that those surveyed responded contrary to recent evidence-based clinical practice guidelines that indicate that back pain is benign and self-limiting.
Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation and Mobilization for Low Back Pain and Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Best Evidence Synthesis
Spine Journal 2004 (May); 4 (3): 335–356
The authors categorized 43 randomized controlled trials to assess the efficacy of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) for back and neck pain. Overall, there was limited to moderate evidence (depending on the study) that 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. There was moderate evidence that spinal mobilization was superior to physical therapy and some medical regimens for some types of neck pain. The data synthesis in the study suggests that recommendations can be made with some confidence regarding the use of SMT and/or mobilization as a viable option for the treatment of both low back pain and neck pain.
Efficacy of Preventive Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Low-Back Pain and Related Disabilities: A Preliminary Study
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004 (Oct); 27 (8): 509–514
Non-specific back pain patients were treated with twelve chiropractic spinal manipulations over a one-month intensive period. The patients were then divided into two groups, one group acting as a control and another receiving maintenance spinal manipulation every three weeks for nine months. Both groups improved with chiropractic care and maintained that improvement during the tenth month study. The group receiving maintenance treatment every three weeks reported better disability scores after nine months than the control group. This study appears to confirm previous reports showing that low back pain and disability scores are reduced after spinal manipulation. It also shows the positive effects of preventive chiropractic treatment in maintaining functional capacities and a reduction in the amount and intensity of pain episodes after an acute phase of treatment.
Factors Related to the Inability of Individuals With Low Back Pain to Improve With a Spinal Manipulation
Physiological Therapeutics 2004 (Feb); 84 (2): 173-190
The authors indicate that many interventions used by physical therapists for management of low back pain patients lacks evidence supporting their effectiveness. Although spinal manipulation is one of the few interventions for low back pain supported by evidence, it appears to be underutilized by physical therapists. The purpose of this study was to determine factors that may lead to an inability to benefit from manipulation. The majority of the subjects (72 percent) receiving spinal manipulation showed improvement, consistent with previous clinical trials that have shown favorable results. The physical therapists that wrote this paper support the advice of clinical practice guidelines that advocate at least a trial of manipulation for all patients with a new onset of low back pain. This work was supported by a research grant from the Foundation for Physical Therapy.
A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Chiropractic Adjustments to Muscle Relaxants for Subacute Low Back Pain
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004 (Jul); 27 (6): 388-398
Researchers compared the relative efficacy of chiropractic adjustments with muscle relaxants and placebo/sham for sub-acute low back pain (two- to six-weeks duration). They found chiropractic was more beneficial than placebo in reducing pain and more beneficial than either placebo or muscle relaxants in reducing the global impression of severity scale (GIS).
Manual Therapy and Exercise Therapy in Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized, Controlled Trial With 1-Year Follow-Up
SPINE (Phila Pa 1976) 2003 (Mar 15); 28 (6): 525–531
Patients complaining of lower back or radicular pain were randomized to either manual therapy or exercise for a period of two months. Both groups of patients improved with treatment, however the manual therapy group showed significantly greater improvement on both short and long- (1 year) term follow-up. The researchers in this study also observed a considerable reduction in sick leave for the manual therapy group.
A Randomized Trial of Combined Manipulation, Stabilizing Exercises, and Physician Consultation Compared to Physician Consultations Alone for Chronic Low Back Pain
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003 (Oct 1); 28 (19): 2185-91
In this study, researchers randomly assigned 240 chronic low back pain patients to either manipulative treatment or a medical physician consultation. The manipulative group received four weeks of physician consultation, manipulation and exercise from an experienced manual therapist, while another group received only physician consultation and an educational booklet. Outcome was measured by pain intensity and back-specific disability. Both groups improved, however the patients treated with manipulation and exercise had more reduced pain and better self-rated disability than the consultation alone group.
Chronic Spinal Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Medication, Acupuncture, and Spinal Manipulation
Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2003 (Jul 15); 28 (14): 1490–1502
In this study, patients with chronic lower back pain of at least 13 weeks duration were randomly assigned either to medication, needle acupuncture or spinal manipulation. The results provided evidence that in patients with chronic spinal pain, manipulation results in greater short-term improvement than acupuncture or medication. The patients receiving spinal manipulation also reported a much higher full recovery rate (27%) than either those receiving acupuncture (9%) or medication (5%).
Patterns and Perceptions of Care for Treatment of Back and Neck Pain: Results of a National Survey
Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2003 (Feb 1); 28 (3): 292–297
Researchers conducted a national telephone survey of 2,055 adults, asking if they had back or neck problems during the past 12 months, and if yes, what type of treatment was received and how helpful was it. 33 percent of those surveyed reported having back or neck pain during the last year; 20 percent sought chiropractic care. Chiropractic providers were perceived as having been very helpful for back or neck pain in 61 percent of the cases, in contrast to only 27 percent who perceived their medical care as being very helpful. 72 percent of those treated by a chiropractor reported the treatment as very helpful, compared to only 19 percent of those who had seen conventional providers.
Comparing the Satisfaction of Low Back Pain Patients Randomized to Receive Medical or Chiropractic Care: Results From the UCLA Low Back Pain Study
Am J Public Health 2002 (Oct); 92 (10): 1628–1633
Approximately one third as many back pain patients seek chiropractic care compared to those who seek medical care. In earlier randomized clinical trials, investigators found spinal manipulation to have similar or better rates of patient satisfaction when compared to medical approaches such as physical therapy, McKenzie method and standard medical therapy. This study examined the differences in satisfaction between patients assigned to either medical care or chiropractic care in a managed care organization. In this randomized trial, the chiropractic patients were more satisfied with their back care after 4 weeks of treatment. The researchers concluded that providers in managed care organizations may be able to increase the satisfaction of their low back pain patients by communicating advice and information to patients about their condition and treatment.
Manual Therapy, Physical Therapy or Continued Care by a General Practitioner for Patients with Neck Pain
Annals of Internal Medicine 2002 (May 21); 136 (10): 713–722
In a randomized, controlled trial, researchers compared the effectiveness of manual therapy, physical therapy (PT) and continued care by a general practitioner (GP) in patients with nonspecific neck pain. The success rate at seven weeks was twice as high for the manual therapy group (68.3 percent) compared to the continued care group (general practitioner). Manual therapy scored better than physical therapy on all outcome measures. Additionally, patients receiving manual therapy had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or continued care. The magnitude of the differences between manual therapy and the other treatments (PT or GP) was most pronounced for perceived recovery.
Patient Satisfaction with the Chiropractic Clinical Encounter: Report from a Practice-Based Research Program
J Neuromusculoskeletal System 2001: 9 (4): 109–117
When 2,987 patients from a variety of rural and urban locations in the United States and Canada completed a data collection survey, 85 percent stated that their chiropractor always listened carefully. 85.3 percent stated, their chiropractor explained things understandably. 88.2 percent stated, that the chiropractor showed respect for what they had to say. Overall, the majority of patients were highly satisfied with their care.
Patient Satisfaction with Chiropractic Physicians in an Independent Physicians Association
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (Nov); 24 (9): 556–559
In this study, 150 chiropractic patients were surveyed. Chiropractic care received excellent remarks by percentage, in the following categories:
Time to Get an Appointment – 84.9 percent;
Convenience of Office - 57.7 percent;
Access to Office by Phone - 77.3 percent;
Length of Wait - 75.7 percent;
Time Spent with Provider - 74.3 percent;
Explanation of Treatment - 72.8 percent;
Skill of Provider - 83.3 percent;
Personal Manner of the chiropractor - 92.4 percent.
The overall visit category was given the excellent response by 83.3 percent of those surveyed.
Patient Characteristics, Practice Activities, and One-month Outcomes for Chronic, Recurrent Low-back Pain Treated by Chiropractors and Family Medicine Physicians: A Practice-based Feasibility Study
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000 (May); 23 (4): 239–245
Patients with chronic (>6 weeks), recurrent lower back pain were treated by either a chiropractor or a family medicine clinic. After one month of treatment, chiropractic patients averaged higher improvement across all outcome measurements. The differences between provider groups were most marked for the question involving satisfaction with overall care (chiropractic-90%; medical–52%). Chiropractic patients also reported greater improvement in pain severity and functional disability. This study concluded that chiropractic patients expressed greater satisfaction regarding information and treatment provided.
Single-blind Randomised Controlled Trial of Chemonucleolysis and Manipulation in the Treatment of Symptomatic Lumbar Disc Herniation
European Spine Journal 2000 (Jun); 9 (3): 202–207
Forty patients with confirmed sciatica were treated with either osteopathic manipulation treatment or chemonucleolysis. The pain endured by the patient was measured at 2 weeks, 6 weeks and one year. After a year patients from both groups were very similar in recovery. However, at 2 and 6 weeks those receiving manipulation reported greater improvement.
Chronic Spinal Pain Syndrome: A Clinical Pilot Trial Comparing Acupuncture, a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug and Spinal Manipulation
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999 (Jul); 22 (6): 376–381
Patients referred to Townsville General Hospital outpatient Spinal Pain Unit in Australia for evaluation and treatment of chronic (>13 weeks) spinal pain were randomized to acupuncture, medication or spinal manipulation. After 30 days of treatment only the manipulation subgroup showed significant reduction in pain intensity. The manipulation group displayed uniform, significant, substantial improvements across all outcome measurements while in the two other intervention groups no significant improvement could be found.
Comparative Efficacy of Conservative Medical and Chiropractic Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1998 (Jun); 21 (5): 317–326
This study sought to compare the effects of chiropractic care and conventional medical care for managing carpal tunnel syndrome. 91 patients with confirmed symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome were divided into two groups. One group received decreasing amounts of ibuprofen over three weeks. The other group received manipulation of bony joints and soft tissues of the upper extremities and spine. The patients’ improvement was monitored through self-reports and analyses of the vibrometric sensibility of the hands. There was improvement in comfort, finger sensation and nerve conduction in both groups. For right hands affected by carpal tunnel the group who received medical care improved by 1.37 decibels according to the vibrometric tests. Those receiving chiropractic care improved by 3.05 decibels.
The Effect of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Cervicogenic Headache
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997 (Jun); 20 (5): 326–330
Of 53 individuals who were diagnosed with cervicogenic headaches, 28 individuals in the group received high-speed, low-amplitude spinal manipulation in the cervical spine two times a week for three weeks. The rest of the group received low-level laser to the upper cervical region and deep-friction massage in the lower cervical/upper thoracic region two times a week for three weeks. For those who received spinal manipulation treatment, the amount of headache hours per day decreased 69 percent; for those receiving laser treatment, the decrease was only 37 percent. Intensity of headache decreased 36 percent for those receiving manipulations and 17 percent for those receiving laser treatment. The use of pain relievers went down 36 percent for those receiving manipulations and was unchanged for those receiving laser treatment.
Randomized Comparison of Chiropractic and Hospital Outpatient Management for Low Back Pain: Results from Extended Follow Up
British Medical Journal 1995 (Aug 5); 311 (7001): 349–351
741 patients were randomly allocated to either chiropractic or hospital outpatient management. A 1990 study by these researchers reported greater improvement in patients with low back pain treated by chiropractors. This paper looks at data after a three-year follow-up. According to total Oswestry scores, improvement in chiropractic patients was 29 percent greater than those treated by hospitals. The beneficial effect of chiropractic on pain was particularly clear. Other scores (personal care, lifting, walking, standing, sex life, social life and traveling) also nearly all improved more in the patients treated with chiropractic care. The substantial benefit of chiropractic on intensity of pain is evident early on and then persists. A higher proportion of patients considered chiropractic care helpful in comparison with hospital treatments.
Spinal Manipulation vs. Amitriptyline for the Treatment of Chronic Tension-Type Headaches: A Randomized Clinical Trial
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995 (Mar); 18 (3): 148–154
This study compared the effects of spinal manipulation and pharmaceutical treatments for chronic tension headaches. Four weeks following the cessation of treatment, the pharmaceutical group demonstrated no improvement from the baseline. In the spinal manipulation group, headache intensity dropped 32 percent; frequency dropped 42 percent; and there was an overall improvement of 16 percent in functional health status.
The Outcomes and Costs of Care for Acute Low Back Pain Among Patients Seen by Primary Care Practitioners, Chiropractors, and Orthopedic Surgeons
New England Journal of Medicine 1995 (Oct 5); 333 (14): 913–917
This study sought to compare patients’ recovery and satisfaction for those with acute low back pain receiving care from the following six groups: Urban Primary Care Physicians; Rural Primary Care Physicians; Urban Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs); Rural DCs; Orthopedic Surgeons; and Primary Care Providers at a Group Model HMO. After six months, functional recoveries, return to work and complete back pain recoveries were similar for all groups. Satisfaction with care was highest for those visiting DCs.
The Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain
Richmond Hill, Ontario: Kenilworth Publishing, 1993
A major study to assess the most appropriate use of available health care resources was reported in 1993 by the Ontario Ministry of Health. The report overwhelmingly supported the efficacy, safety, scientific validity and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic for low back pain.
Patient Satisfaction With Chiropractic Care
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1993 (Jan); 16 (1): 25–32
341 new and returning chiropractic patients in Minnesota and Wisconsin completed a patient satisfaction questionnaire. Overall, patients demonstrated a high level of satisfaction with their doctors of chiropractic. 84% of respondents felt their chiropractic care was just about perfect. 97% agreed or strongly agreed that they would recommend this doctor to a friend or relative.
Low Back Pain of Mechanical Origin: Randomized Comparison of Chiropractic and Hospital Outpatient Treatment
British Medical Journal 1990(Jun 2); 300 (6737): 1431–1437
741 patients, who had neither been treated in the past month nor had contraindications to spinal manipulation, were treated either by doctors of chiropractic or with conventional hospital outpatient treatment for management of low back pain. Using the Oswestry scale, which quantifies pain, patients reported back on their improvement at six weeks, six months, one year and two years. At two years, chiropractic care resulted in a 7 percent benefit over hospital care.
Patient Evaluations of Low Back Pain Care From Family Physicians and Chiropractors
Western Journal of Medicine 1989 (Mar); 150 (3): 351–355
This survey demonstrated that patients of chiropractors were three times as likely as patients of family physicians to respond that they were satisfied with the care they received for low back pain. Chiropractic patients were also more likely to have been satisfied with the amount of information they were given and to believe their doctors were concerned about them. This study was conducted at the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, a 40-year-old staff-model Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) in western Washington State with 32,000 enrollees. The percentage of chiropractic patients who were very satisfied with the care they received for low back pain was triple that for patients of family physicians (66 percent versus 22 percent). Patients of family physicians were significantly less likely to report having received a graphic description of the causes of low back pain or instruction on exercise, posture and lifting techniques.
Satisfaction With Low Back Pain Care
Spine Journal (Official Journal of the North American Spine Society) 2008 (May); 8 (3): 510-521
Researchers sought to determine the satisfaction patients had with providers based on provider type. The researchers were particularly interested in bedside manner and effectiveness of care and conducted interviews periodically with 1,831 workers who experienced worker related low back pain. Researchers found that individuals were more satisfied with their health care when treated by surgeons, chiropractors (DCs), or physical therapists.
Treatment of Neck Pain: Noninvasive Interventions: Results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000–2010: Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008 (Feb 15); 33 (4 Suppl): S123–152
Researchers reviewed literature from 1980 through 2006 on noninvasive interventions for neck pain and its associated disorders. The researchers found that for whiplash-associated disorders, there is evidence that educational videos, mobilization, and exercises appear more beneficial than usual care or physical modalities. Researchers also found that therapies involving manual therapy and exercise were effective for patients with neck pain.
Nonpharmacologic Therapies for Acute and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Review of the Evidence for an American Pain Society/American College of Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline
Annals of Internal Medicine 2007 (Oct 2); 147 (7): 492–504
Researchers sought to determine the benefits and harms of acupuncture, back schools, psychological therapies, exercise therapy, functional restoration, interdisciplinary therapy, massage, physical therapies (interferential therapy, low-level laser therapy, lumbar supports, shortwave diathermy, superficial heat, traction, transcutaneous electrical= nerve stimulation, and ultrasonography), spinal manipulation, and yoga for acute or chronic low back pain (with or without leg pain). Researchers conducted MEDLINE searchers and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and graded the methodologies of the studies. Researchers concluded that there was good evidence that cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise, spinal manipulation, and interdisciplinary rehabilitation were moderately effective for chronic or subacute low back pain.