This study is unique in that it was conducted by the Center for Disability Research at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Hopkinton, Mass; and the Center for Health Economics & Science Policy at United BioSource Corporation, London, United Kingdom.
Their objective was to compare the occurrences of repeated disability episodes between types of health care providers, who treat claimants with new episodes of work-related low back pain (LBP). They followed 894 patients over 1-year, using workers’ compensation claims data.
By controlling for demographics and severity, they determined the hazard ratio (HR) for disability recurrence between 3 types of providers:
Physical Therapists (PT),
Physicians (MD), or
The results are quite interesting:
- For PTs: HR = 2.0
- For MDs: HR = 1.6
- For DCs: HR = 1.0
Statistically, this means you are twice as likely to end up disabled if you got your care from a Physical Therapists (PT), rather than from a chiropractor.
You’re also 60% more likely to be disabled if you choose a Physicians (MD) to manage your care, rather than a chiropractor.
The authors concluded:
“In work-related nonspecific LBP, the use of health maintenance care provided by physical therapist or physician services was associated with a higher disability recurrence than with chiropractic services.”