COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF CHIROPRACTIC
 
   

The Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
Send all comments or additions to:
  Frankp@chiro.org

If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary. If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual. You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this, or any other health topic.

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Tracking Low Back Problems in a Major Self-Insured Workforce:
Toward Improvement in the Patient's Journey

J Occup Environ Med. 2014 (Jun);   56 (6):   604-620 ~ FULL TEXT

This comprehensive new study from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reveals that chiropractic care costs significantly less than other forms of low back care, and appears to comply with guideline recommendations more closely than than any of the other 4 comparison groups.


Cost-Effectiveness of Manual Therapy for the Management of Musculoskeletal Conditions: A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis of Evidence From Randomized Controlled Trials
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2014 (Jun 27);   [Epub ahead of print]

This review identified limited evidence indicating that manual therapy techniques (eg, osteopathic spinal manipulation, physiotherapy consisting of manipulation and mobilization techniques, and chiropractic manipulation), in addition to other treatments or alone, are more cost-effective than usual GP care (alone or with exercise), spinal stabilization, GP advice, advice to remain active, or brief pain management for improving low back pain and/or disability. Similarly, one study [57] demonstrated that spinal manipulation in addition to GP care was more cost-effective than GP care alone in reducing shoulder pain and related disability. The extra costs needed for 1-unit improvement in low back or shoulder pain/disability score or 1 QALY gained were lower than the WTP thresholds reported across the studies.


The Association of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use
and Health Care Expenditures for Back and Neck Problems

Med Care. 2012 (Dec);   50 (12):   1029–1036

While health care conversations increasingly mention chiropractic care as a viable option for back and neck pain – and research increasingly supports its utility from a clinical standpoint – this nationwide study of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)-related health care expenditures by 12,000-plus adults (ages 17 and older) with spinal conditions lends support to the suggestion that CAM in general, and chiropractic specifically, is also a cost-effective alternative to traditional medical care.


Spinal Manipulation Epidemiology:
Systematic Review of Cost Effectiveness Studies

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2012 (Oct);   22 (5):   655–662

Six cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis were included. All included studies had a low risk of bias scoring =16/19 on the CHEC-List. SMT was found to be a cost-effective treatment to manage neck and back pain when used alone or in combination with other techniques compared to GP care, exercise and physiotherapy.


Value of Chiropractic Services at an On-site Health Center
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2012 (Aug);   54 (8):   917–921

Although previous research has demonstrated the benefits of chiropractic care, to the best of our knowledge this study is the first to evaluate its impact when offered at an on-site health center. [6–10, 14–17] Given the convenience and quality of care provided by on-site health centers, it was hypothesized that on-site chiropractic care would be more beneficial than off-site clinic care. Despite some limitations that may have weakened the conclusions, the findings suggest on-site chiropractic services are associated with lower health care utilization of certain services and improved functional status of musculoskeletal conditions.


The Trials of Evidence:
Interpreting Research and the Case for Chiropractic

The Chiropractic Report ~ July 2011 ~ FULL TEXT

For the great majority of patients with both acute and chronic low-back pain, namely those without diagnostic red flags, spinal manipulation is recommended by evidence-informed guidelines from many authoritative sources – whether chiropractic (the UK Evidence Report from Bronfort, Haas et al. [1]), medical (the 2007 Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society [2]) or interdisciplinary (the European Back Pain Guidelines [3]).


Health Maintenance Care in Work-Related Low Back Pain
and Its Association With Disability Recurrence

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011 (Apr);   53 (4):   396–404

This study found that you are twice as likely to end up disabled if you get your care from a Physical Therapist, rather than from a DC, and that patients were 60% more likely to be disabled if they choose an MD to manage their care, rather than a DC.


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 (SCP) using the National Center for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Back Pain Recognition Program (BPRP) as its foundation. The findings for 518 consecutive patients were included. One hundred sixteen patients were seen once and triaged to specialty care; 7% of patients received magnetic resonance imagings. Four hundred thirty-two patients (83%) were classified and treated by doctors of chiropractic and/or physical therapists. Results for the patients treated by doctors of chiropractic were mean of 5.2 visits, mean cost per case of $302, mean intake pain rating score of 6.2 of 10, and mean discharge score of 1.9 of 10; 95% of patients rated their care as "excellent.


Cost-effectiveness of Guideline-endorsed Treatments for Low Back Pain:
A Systematic Review

Eur Spine J. 2011 (Jul);   20 (7):   1024–1038

This 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). For acute low back pain, this review found insufficient evidence for reaching a conclusion about the cost-effectiveness of spinal manipulation. 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

Paid costs for episodes of care initiated with a DC were almost 40% less than episodes initiated with an MD. Even after risk adjusting each patient’s costs, we found that episodes of care initiated with a DC were 20% less expensive than episodes initiated with an MD. This clearly demonstrates the savings that are possible when a patient is permitted to choose a chiropractor, rather than an MD for their care.


Functional Scores and Subjective Responses of Injured Workers With Back or Neck Pain Treated With Chiropractic Care in an Integrative Program: A Retrospective Analysis of 100 Cases
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009 (Nov);   32 (9):   765–771

Injured workers with either an acute or subacute injury had significantly lower posttreatment FRI scores compared with individuals with a chronic injury. The FRI change scores were significantly greater in the acute group compared with either the subacute or chronic injured workers. Workers in all categories showed improved posttreatment tolerance for work-related activities and significantly lower posttreatment subjective pain scores.The study identified positive effects of chiropractic management included in integrative care when treating work-related neck or back pain. Improvement in both functional scores and subjective response was noted in all 3 time-based phases of patient status (acute, subacute, and chronic).


Do Chiropractic Physician Services for Treatment of Low-Back and Neck Pain
Improve the Value of Health Benefit Plans?

Mercer Health and Benefits LLC ~ October 12, 2009 ~ FULL TEXT

This report combined a rigorous analysis of direct and indirect costs with equally relevant (though often missing from such analyses) evidence concerning clinical effectiveness. In other words, Choudhry and Milstein started with the assumption that low cost is only a virtue if a product or service effectively delivers what it promises. Including both clinical effectiveness and cost in their analysis, they concluded that chiropractic care was far more valuable than medical treatment for neck and low back pain.


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

A new retrospective analysis of 70,274 member-months in a 7-year period within an IPA, comparing medical management to chiropractic management, demonstrated decreases of 60.2% in-hospital admissions, 59.0% hospital days, 62.0% outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 83% pharmaceutical costs when compared with conventional medicine IPA performance. This clearly demonstrates that chiropractic nonsurgical nonpharmaceutical approaches generates reductions in both clinical and cost utilization when compared with PCPs using conventional medicine alone.


Effects of a Managed Chiropractic Benefit on the Use of Specific Diagnostic
and Therapeutic Procedures in the Treatment of Low Back and Neck Pain

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Oct);   28 (8):   564–569

For the treatment of low back and neck pain, the inclusion of a chiropractic benefit resulted in a reduction in the rates of surgery, advanced imaging, inpatient care, and plain-film radiographs. This effect was greater on a per-episode basis than on a per-patient basis.


Cost-effectiveness of Medical and Chiropractic Care
for Acute and Chronic Low Back Pain

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Oct);   28 (8):   555–563

Acute and chronic chiropractic patients experienced better outcomes in pain, functional disability, and patient satisfaction. Chiropractic care appeared relatively cost-effective for the treatment of chronic LBP. Chiropractic and medical care performed comparably for acute patients. Practice-based clinical outcomes were consistent with systematic reviews of spinal manipulation efficacy: manipulation-based therapy is at least as good as and, in some cases, better than other therapeusis. This evidence can guide physicians, payers, and policy makers in evaluating chiropractic as a treatment option for low back pain. There are more articles like this in the Low Back Pain Page.


Cost Effectiveness of Physical Treatments for Back Pain in Primary Care
British Medical Journal 2004 (Dec 11);   329 (7479):   1381 ~ FULL TEXT

We believe that this is the first study of physical therapy for low back pain to show convincingly that both manipulation alone and manipulation followed by exercise provide cost effective additions to care in general practice. Indeed, as we trained practice teams in the best care of back pain, we may have underestimated the benefit of physical therapy (spinal manipulation) when compared with "usual care" in general practice. The detailed clinical outcomes reported in the accompanying paper reinforce these findings by showing that the improvements in health status reported here reflect statistically significant improvements in function, pain, disability, physical and mental aspects of quality of life, and beliefs about back pain.(1) Read more about this on the UK BEAM Trial Page


Comparative Analysis of Individuals With and Without Chiropractic Coverage:
Patient Characteristics, Utilization, and Costs

Archives of Internal Medicine 2004 (Oct 11);   164 (18):   1985–1892 ~ FULL TEXT

A 4-year retrospective claims data analysis comparing more than 700,000 health plan members within a managed care environment found that members had lower annual total health care expenditures, utilized x-rays and MRIs less, had less back surgeries, and for patients with chiropractic coverage, compared with those without coverage, also had lower average back pain episode-related costs ($289 vs $399).

The authors concluded:   "Access to managed chiropractic care may reduce overall health care expenditures through several effects, including (1) positive risk selection; (2) substitution of chiropractic for traditional medical care, particularly for spine conditions; (3) more conservative, less invasive treatment profiles; and (4) lower health service costs associated with managed chiropractic care."   You may also enjoy this recent press release and this glowing review on WebMD.


An Evaluation of Medical and Chiropractic Provider Utilization and Costs:
Treating Injured Workers in North Carolina

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004 (Sep);   27 (7):   442–448

These data, with the acknowledged limitations of an insurance database, indicate lower treatment costs, less workdays lost, lower compensation payments, and lower utilization of ancillary medical services for patients treated by DCs. Despite the lower cost of chiropractic management, the use of chiropractic services in North Carolina appears very low.


Chiropractic Care: Is It Substitution Care or Add-on Care
in Corporate Medical Plans?

J Occup Environ Med 2004 (Aug);   46 (8):   847-855

An analysis of claims data from a managed care health plan was performed to evaluate whether patients use chiropractic care as a substitution for medical care or in addition to medical care. For the 4-year study period, there were 3,129,752 insured member years in the groups with chiropractic coverage and 5,197,686 insured member years in the groups without chiropractic coverage.   These results (of this file review) indicate that patients use chiropractic care as a direct substitution for medical care.


Clinical and Cost Outcomes of an Integrative Medicine IPA
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004 (Jun) ;   27 (5):   336–347

Analysis of clinical and cost outcomes on 21,743 member months over a 4-year period demonstrated decreases of 43.0% in hospital admissions per 1000, 58.4% hospital days per 1000, 43.2% outpatient surgeries and procedures per 1000, and 51.8% pharmaceutical cost reductions when compared with normative conventional medicine IPA performance for the same HMO product in the same geography over the same time frame.


A Practice-Based Study of Patients With Acute and Chronic Low Back Pain Attending Primary Care and Chiropractic Physicians: Two-Week to 48-Month Follow-up
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004 (Mar);   27 (3):   160–169

This study found that chiropractic care is more effective than medical care at treating chronic low-back pain in patients' first year of symptoms.


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 ~ FULL TEXT

A hands-on approach to treating neck pain by manual therapy may help people get better faster and at a lower cost than more traditional treatments, according to this study.   After seven and 26 weeks, they found significant improvements in recovery rates in the manual therapy group compared to the other 2 groups. For example, at week seven, 68% of the manual therapy group had recovered from their neck pain vs. 51% in the physical therapy group and 36% in the medical care group. You may also enjoy this WebMD review titled: Manual Therapy Eases Neck Pain, Cheaply.

The Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic

From:   Testimony to the Department of Veterans Affairs' Chiropractic Advisory Committee
George B. McClelland, D.C., Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research ~ March 25, 2003

In the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, despite the fact that most studies have not properly factored in such patient characteristics as severity and chronicity and lack the complete assessment of all direct costs and most indirect costs, the bulk of articles reviewed demonstrate lower costs for chiropractic. [9]   This pattern is consistently observed from the perspectives of workers' compensation studies, [10],   [11],   [12],   [13],   [14],   [15] databases from insurers, [16],   [17],   [18],   or the analysis of a health economist employed by the provincial government of Ontario. [19],   [20].   Other studies have suggested the opposite [that chiropractic services are more expensive than medical], [5],   [21],   [22]   but these contain significant flaws which have been refuted. [23]

The cost advantages for chiropractic for matched conditions appear to be so dramatic that Pran Manga, the aforementioned Canadian health economist, has concluded that doubling the utilization of chiropractic services from 10% to 20% may realize savings as much as $770 million in direct costs and $3.8 billion in indirect costs. [20]   When iatrogenic effects [yet to be discussed] are factored in, the cost advantages of spinal manipulation as a treatment alternative become even more prominent. In one study, for instance, it was shown that for managing disc herniations, the cost of treatment failures following a medical course of treatment [chymopapain injections] averaged 300 British pounds per patient, while there were no such costs following spinal manipulation. [24],   Imagine how failed back surgery might compare. Finally, in no cost studies to date have legal burdens been calculated, which one would expect should be heavily advantageous for chiropractic health management.

From:   Testimony to the Department of Veterans Affairs' Chiropractic Advisory Committee



Chiropractic Treatment of Workers' Compensation Claimants
in the State of Texas

MGT of America, Austin, Texas ~ February 2003

In 2002, the Texas Chiropractic Association (TCA) commissioned an independent study to determine the use and effectiveness of chiropractic with regard to workers' compensation, the results of which were published in February 2003. According to the report, chiropractic care was associated with significantly lower costs and more rapid recovery in treating workers with low-back injuries. They found: Lower back and neck injuries accounted for 38 percent of all claims costs. Chiropractors treated about 30 percent of workers with lower back injuries, but were responsible for only 17.5 percent of the medical costs and 9.1 percent of the total costs. These findings were even more intertesting: The average claim for a worker with a low-back injury was $15,884. However, if a worker received at least 75 percent of his or her care from a chiropractor, the total cost per claimant decreased by nearly one-fourth to $12,202.   If the chiropractor provided at least 90 percent of the care, the average cost declined by more than 50 percent, to $7,632.


Effects of Inclusion of a Chiropractic Benefit on the Utilization of
Health Care Resources in Managed Health Care Plan

Craig F Nelson, D.C., MS ~ 2003

A four-year longitudinal study using administrative claims data compared 700,000 health plan members with chiropractic coverage to 1 million health plan members without chiropractic coverage.   This study demonstrates that the inclusion of a chiropractic benefit in a managed health care plan results in a reduction in the overall utilization of health care resources, and thereby, cost savings.

There are four mechanism that produce this cost reduction:
  1. A favorable selection process;
  2. A substitution effect of chiropractic care for medical care;
  3. Lower rates of use of high cost procedures;
  4. Lower cost management of care episodes by chiropractors.
You might also enjoy this sidebar article on this topic.


Manual Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Continued Care by a General Practitioner for Patients with Neck Pain. A Randomized, Controlled Trial
Ann Intern Med 2002 (May 21);   136 (10):   713-722

Neck pain is a common problem, but the effectiveness of frequently applied conservative therapies has never been directly compared.   In this study, manual therapy was a favorable treatment option for patients with neck pain compared with physical therapy or continued care by a general practitioner.


Single-blind Randomised Controlled Trial of Chemonucleolysis and Manipulation in the Treatment of Symptomatic Lumbar Disc Herniation
Eur Spine J 2000 (Jun);   9 (3):   202–207

Crude cost analysis suggested an overall financial advantage from manipulation. Because osteopathic manipulation produced a 12-month outcome that was equivalent to chemonucleolysis, it can be considered as an option for the treatment of symptomatic lumbar disc herniation, at least in the absence of clear indications for surgery. In this study it was shown that for managing disc herniations, the cost of treatment failures following a medical course of treatment [chymopapain injections] averaged 300 British pounds per patient, while there were no such costs following spinal manipulation.


Economic Case for the Integration of Chiropractic Services
into the Health Care System

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000 (Feb);   23 (2):   118-122

For much of its history, chiropractic care has been both an alternative therapeutic paradigm and separate from or marginal to the mainstream health care system. Over the past decade, the situation has changed somewhat in that chiropractic care is gradually being integrated within a variety of health care delivery organizations. According to Triano et al,1 by the application of evidence-based health care and good business, there is a surge in cooperation and integration among chiropractors, allopathic physicians, allied health care providers, ancillary therapists, and respective support staff. There is, however, no quantification of the level of integration. Integration may also be more true of the United States than elsewhere. The overall position of chiropractic care as alternative and separate still predominates. This situation does not serve the interests of the chiropractic profession nor the public well. There is a persuasive economic case for a radical shift in the role of chiropractic care to one that may succinctly be described as alternative and mainstream.   The chiropractic profession must preserve its identity and its unique therapeutic paradigm and continue to be seen as an alternative to other health care professions, especially medical doctors. However, it should also become mainstream and thus widely available and accessible to the public by being integrated into the wide variety of health care delivery organizations that collectively constitute the health care system.


Studies on Chiropractic 2000
National Board of Chiropractic Examiners

Chiropractic is now firmly rooted in the public consciousness as a primary agent of health care management. According to a 1990 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the number of visits to non-medical health care providers in 1990 totaled 425 million, 9.5% more than the total number of visits to all family physicians (Eisenberg et al.1993). A follow-up study determined that, in 1997, total visits to non-medical providers amounted to 629 million, exceeding the total projected visits to all primary care physicians by 63% (Eisenberg et al. 1998). Moreover, a 1998 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported chiropractic as the most used non-medical treatment (15.7%) (Astin 1998).


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 total of 5 prospective and 19 retrospective studies was identified. Twelve of the 24 studies were published since 1994.   Sixteen of the 24 studies average total costs favored chiropractic treatment.


Enhanced Chiropractic Coverage Under OHIP as a Means for Reducing Health Care Costs, Attaining Better Health Outcomes and Achieving Equitable Access to Health Services
Report to the Ontario Ministry of Health, 1998

Expenditure to improve access to chiropractic services, and the changed utilization patterns it produces, will lead to very substantial net savings in direct and indirect costs.   Direct savings to Ontario's health care system may be as much as $770 million, will very likely be $548 million, and will be at least $380 million.   The corresponding savings in indirect costs - made up of the short and long term costs of disability - are $3.775 billion, $1.849 billion and $1.255 billion.


Costs and Recurrences of Chiropractic
and Medical Episodes of Low-back Care

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997 (Jan);   20 (1):   5–12

Total insurance payments within and across episodes were substantially greater for medically initiated episodes. Analysis of recurrent episodes as measures of patient outcomes indicated that chiropractic providers retain more patients for subsequent episodes, but that there is no significant difference in lapse time between episodes for chiropractic vs. medical providers. Chiropractic and medical patients were comparable on measures of severity; however, the chiropractic cohort included a greater proportion of chronic cases.


Chiropractic and Medical Costs of Low Back Care
Med 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. Multiple regression analysis, to control for differences in patient, clinical, and insurance characteristics, indicates that total insurance payments were substantially greater for episodes with a medical first-contact provider.


Preliminary Findings of Analysis of Chiropractic Utilization and Cost in the
Workers' Compensation System of New South Wales, Australia

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995 (Oct);   18 (8):   503–511

The methodology used was found to be able to provide a basis for comparison of costs for care apportioned to chiropractic and other interventions. An analysis of 20 randomly selected cases from the WCA suggested that chiropractic intervention for certain conditions may be more cost-effective than other forms of intervention.


Comparing the Costs Between Provider Types of Episodes
of Back Pain Care

SPINE (Phila Pa 1976) 1995 (Jan 15);   20 (2):   221–227

There were 1020 episodes of back pain care made by 686 different persons and encompassing 8825 visits. Chiropractors and general practitioners were the primary providers for 40% and 26% of episodes, respectively. Chiropractors had a significantly greater mean number of visits per episode (10.4) than did other practitioners.   Orthopedic physicians and "other" physicians were significantly more costly on a per visit basis. Orthopedists had the highest mean total cost per episode, and general practitioners the lowest.


Further Analysis of Health Care Costs for Chiropractic
and Medical Patients

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1994 (Sep);   17 (7):   442–446

The analysis of well-insured patients in plans that do not restrict the chiropractic benefit strengthens results previously reported. In this study, therefore,   the favorable cost patterns for chiropractic patients cannot be attributed to insurance restrictions limiting reimbursement for chiropractic services relative to other services. Because adjustments for patient characteristics systematically reduce the cost advantages of chiropractic patients as compared to mean differences derived from unadjusted data, the results also demonstrate that adjusted values should be used for meaningful comparisons between the two groups of patients.


A Comparison of Health Care Costs for Chiropractic
and Medical Patients

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1993 (Jun);   16 (5):   291–299

Nearly one-fourth of patients were treated by chiropractors.   Patients receiving chiropractic care experienced significantly lower health care costs as represented by third party payments in the fee-for-service sector. Total cost differences on the order of $1,000 over the 2-yr period were found in the total sample of patients as well as in subsamples of patients with specific disorders. The lower costs are attributable mainly to lower inpatient utilization. The cost differences remain statistically significant after controlling for patient demographics and insurance plan characteristics.


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. This was an outcomes study funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health. The study was conducted by three health economists led by University of Ottawa Professor Pran Manga, Ph.D. The report of the study is commonly called the Manga Report. The Manga Report overwhelmingly supported the efficacy, safety, scientific validity, and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic for low-back pain. Additionally, it found that higher patient satisfaction levels were associated with chiropractic care than with medical treatment alternatives.   On the evidence, particularly the most scientifically valid clinical studies, spinal manipulation applied by chiropractors is shown to be more effective than alternative treatments for LBP. It also found that many medical therapies are of questionable validity, or are clearly inadequate.


Mechanical Low-Back Pain: A Comparison of Medical and Chiropractic
Management Within the Victorian WorkCare Scheme

Chiropractic Journal of Australia 1992 (Jun);   22 (2):   47–53

Comparisons of costs and outcomes were made between the two samples with the results being:
(i) a significantly lower number of claimants requiring compensation days when chiropractic management was chosen,
(ii) fewer compensation days taken by claimants who received chiropractic management,
(iii) a greater number of patients progressed to chronic status when medical management was chosen, and
(iv) a greater average payment per claim with medical management>.


A Comparison of the Cost of Chiropractors
Versus Alternative Medical Practitioners

Richmond, VA: Virginia Chiropractic Association, 1992

A 1992 study conducted by L.G. Schifrin, Ph.D., provided an economic assessment of mandated health insurance coverage for chiropractic treatment within the Commonwealth of Virginia. As reported by the College of William and Mary, and the Medical College of Virginia, the study indicated that chiropractic provides therapeutic benefits at economical costs. The report also recommended that chiropractic be a widely available form of health care. This paper is unavailable through PubMed or the Mantis database.


Cost Per Case Comparison of Back Injury Claims of Chiropractic Versus
Medical Management for Conditions With Identical Diagnostic Codes

J Occup Med 1991 (Aug);   33 (8):   847–852

This workers’ compensation study conducted in Utah compared the cost of chiropractic care to the costs of medical care for conditions with identical diagnostic codes. The study indicated that costs were significantly higher for medical claims than for chiropractic claims. The sample consisted of 3062 claims or 40.6% of the 7551 estimated back injury claims from the 1986 Workers' Compensation Fund of Utah.   For the total data set, cost for care was significantly more for medical claims, and compensation costs were 10-fold less for chiropractic claims.
See a second review of this study below


Disabling Low Back Oregon Workers' Compensation Claims
Part III: Diagnostic and Treatment Procedures and Associated Costs

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1991 (Jun);   14 (5):   287–297

Claimants in Oregon with disabling low back injuries attending chiropractors were found to have more treatments over a longer duration and at greater cost than claimants attending medical physicians with similar clinical presentations. These findings are attributed to: a) a higher proportion of chiropractic claimants than medical physician claimants with low back risk factors which may have adversely affected the course of recovery (chronic or recurrent low back conditions, obesity, extremity symptomatology, frequency of exacerbations); b) differences in age and gender of DC and MD claimants; c) the greater physician-patient contact hours characteristic of chiropractic practice; d) differences in therapeutic modalities employed; and e) the physician reimbursement permitted under Oregon workers' compensation law. The findings of this study emphasize the need for prospective studies of treatment outcome.


Disabling Low Back Oregon Workers' Compensation Claims
Part II: Time Loss

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1991 (May);   14 (4):   231–239

for claimants with a history of chronic low back problems,   the median time loss days for MD cases was 34.5 days, compared to 9 days for DC cases. It is suggested that chiropractors are better able to manage injured workers with a history of chronic low back problems and to return them more quickly to productive employment.


Disabling Low Back Oregon Workers' Compensation Claims. Part I:
Methodology and Clinical Categorization of Chiropractic and Medical Cases

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1991 (Mar);   14 (3):   177–184

The two provider groups differed in the proportion of claimants who had physical factors contributing to low back compromise.   DC claimants were less likely than MD claimants to have sought initial treatment in the emergency room, more likely to have a history of chronic, recurrent low back pain and more likely to have suffered exacerbation episodes. These differences suggest a greater level of chronicity among chiropractic claimants.


A Comparison of Chiropractic, Medical and Osteopathic Care
for Work-related Sprains and Strains

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1989 (Oct);   12 (5):   335–344

For those who received care from DCs (n = 266), the mean number of compensated days lost from work was at least 2.3 days less than for those who were treated by MDs (n = 494; p less than 0.025) and at least 3.8 days less than for those who were treated by DOs (n = 102; p less than 0.025).   Consequently, much less money in employment compensation was paid, on the average, to those who saw DCs.


An Analysis of Florida Workers' Compensation
Medical Claims for Back-related Injuries

Journal of the American Chiro Association 1988;   25 (7):   50–59

This study of 10,652 Florida Workers’ Compensation cases was conducted by Steve Wolk, Ph.D. , and reported by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research. It was concluded that   “a claimant with a back-related injury, when initially treated by a chiropractor versus a medical doctor, is less likely to become temporarily disabled, or if disabled, remains disabled for a shorter period of time; and claimants treated by medical doctors were hospitalized at a much higher rate than claimants treated by chiropractors.” The analysis focused on the cost of treatment, frequency of compensable injuries (an injury which disables an individual for more than seven days, resulting in wage compensation benefits), and frequency of hospitalization for workers' compensation claim patient (end of reference).


Editorial:  
End Medical Mis-Management of Musculoskeletal Complaints

Q.   Are medical doctors well trained to diagnose or treat musculoskeletal complaints?

A.   Read the unsettling answer in this series of articles


Educational Deficiencies in Musculoskeletal Medicine
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 2002 (Apr);   84–A (4):   604–608

According to the standard suggested by the program directors of internal medicine residency departments, a large majority of the examinees once again failed to demonstrate basic competency in musculoskeletal medicine on the examination. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that medical school preparation in musculoskeletal medicine is inadequate. NOTE: This is a follow-up article to the study cited below, which demonstrated that medical students were inadequately trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal complaints. Ask yourself: What would the headlines scream if, after 4 years, chiropractors had failed to improve their skills in musculoskeletal assessment and management? Why is medicine is shown more slack?


The Adequacy of Medical School Education in Musculoskeletal Medicine
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 1998 (Oct);   80-A (10):   1421–1427

This is the original article, which found that 82 per cent of medical school graduates failed a valid musculoskeletal competency examination. They concluded that "we therefore believe that medical school preparation in musculoskeletal medicine is inadequate" and that medical students were inadequately trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal complaints.


Educating Medical Students About Musculoskeletal Problems: Are Community Needs Reflected in the Curricula of Canadian Medical Schools?
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 2001 (Sept);   83-A (9):   1317–1320

Musculoskeletal problems are a common reason why patients present for medical treatment. The purpose of the present study was to review the curricula of Canadian medical schools to determine whether they prepare their students for the demands of practice with respect to musculoskeletal problems. The curriculum analysis revealed that, on the average, medical schools in Canada devoted 2.26% (range, 0.61% to 4.81%) of their curriculum time to musculoskeletal education. Our literature review and survey of local family physicians revealed that between 13.7% and 27.8% of North American patients presenting to a primary care physician have a chief symptom that is directly related to the musculoskeletal system. (So they conclude:) There is a marked discrepancy between the musculoskeletal knowledge and skill requirements of a primary care physician and the time devoted to musculoskeletal education in Canadian medical schools.


A Comparison of Chiropractic Student Knowledge Versus Medical Residents
Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic Congress 2001 Pgs. 255

A previously published knowledge questionnaire designed by chief orthopedic residents was given to a Chiropractic student group for comparison to the results of the medical resident group. Based on the marking scale determined by the chief residents, the Chiropractic group (n = 51) showed statistically significant higher average grade than the orthopedic residents. Expressed in other terms, 70% of chiropractic students passed the knowledge questionnaire, compared to an 80% failure rate for the orthopedic residents.


Musculoskeletal Knowledge: How Do You Stack Up?
Physician and Sportsmedicine 2002; 30 (8) August

One of every 4 or 5 primary care visits is for a musculoskeletal problem. Yet undergraduate and graduate training for this burden of illness continues to constitute typically less than 5% of the medical curriculum. This is an area of clear concern, but also one in which sports medicine practitioners can assume leadership.


Musculoskeletal Curricula in Medical Education
Physician and Sportsmedicine 2004 (Nov); 32 (11)

It's 8:00 pm on a Monday night. Just as you're getting ready to put your 5-year-old son to bed, he falls from a chair, landing on his wrist. It quickly swells, requiring a visit to a nearby urgent care clinic. At the clinic, a pleasant young resident takes a history, performs a physical exam, and orders an x-ray to evaluate the injury. You are told that nothing is broken, and a wrist splint is placed. The following day, however, you receive a phone call from the clinic informing you that upon further review of the radiographs, a fracture was detected, and your son will need a cast for definitive treatment. This scenario, while fictitious, is not unusual. According to some studies, up to 10% of wrist fractures are missed at the initial evaluation.1 While pediatric fractures are often difficult to detect, this example highlights a problem that continues to plague medical education: inadequate instruction in musculoskeletal medicine in both medical school and residency training.


Adequacy of Education in Musculoskeletal Medicine
J Bone Joint Surg Am 2005 (Feb);87 (2):   310–314

In this study, 334 medical students, residents and staff physicians, specializing in various fields of medicine, were asked to take a basic cognitive examination consisting of 25 short-answer questions - the same type of test administered in the original JBJS 1998 study. The average score among medical doctors, students and residents who took the exam in 2005 was 2.7 points lower than those who took the exam in 1998. Just over half of the staff physicians (52%) scored a passing grade or higher on the 2005 exam. Only 21% of the residents registered a passing grade, and only 5% of the medical students passed the exam. Overall, Seventy-nine percent of the participants failed the basic musculoskeletal cognitive examination.


More Evidence of Educational Inadequacies in Musculoskeletal Medicine
Clin Orthop Relat Res 2005 (Aug);   (437):   251–259

A modified version of an exam used to assess the competency of incoming interns at the University of Pennsylvania was used to assess the competency of medical students during various stages of their training at the University of Washington. Despite generally improved levels of competency with each year at medical school, less than 50% of fourth-year students showed competency. These results suggested that the curricular approach toward teaching musculoskeletal medicine at this medical school was insufficient and that competency increased when learning was reinforced during the clinical years.


Why is the Bone and Joint Decade Important?
Welcome to the United States Bone and Joint Decade

The Bone and Joint Decade initiative is a global campaign to improve quality of life for people with musculoskeletal conditions and to advance understanding and treatment of these conditions through research, prevention, and education. 1 The Decade aims to raise the awareness of the increasing societal impact of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders; empower patients to participate in decisions about their care; increase funding for prevention activities and research; and promote cost-effective prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.



Editorial:  
End Medical Mis-Management of LBP

The medical "debate" has been going on for years...is spinal adjusting (a.k.a manipulation) effective for Low Back Pain? The original Meade study (British Medical Journal 1990) demonstrated that chiropractic was much more effective for LBP than conventional medical care.

In 1993 the province of Ontario, Canada hired the esteemed health care economist Pran Manga, PhD to examine the benefits of chiropractic care for low back pain (LBP) and to make a set of recommendations on how to contain and reduce health care costs. His report
A Study to Examine the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain cited research demonstrating that: (1) chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management for LBP;   (2) that spinal manipulation is less safe and effective when performed by non-chiropractic professionals;   (3) that there is an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that chiropractic management of low-back pain is more cost-effective than medical management;   (4) and that there would be highly significant cost savings if more management of LBP was transferred from medical physicians to chiropractors. He also stated that "A very good case can be made for making chiropractors the gatekeepers for management of low-back pain in the Workers' Compensation System in Ontario."

In 1994 Medicine was horrified when the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) confirmed the untested, questionable or harmful nature of many current medical therapies for LBP , and also stated that, of all forms of management they reviewed, only chiropractic care could both reduce pain AND improve function.

Meade did a 1995 follow-up study in
British Medical Journal, that once again demonstrated that those treated by chiropractic derive more benefit and long term satisfaction than those treated by hospitals, especially for chronic (long-term) LBP!

A recent study in
SPINE Journal revealed that health care expenditures for back pain sufferers were a staggering $90.7 billion in 1998 and that prescription drugs accounted for more than 13% of that figure. Considering that muscle relaxants are associated with slower recovery, and that steroid injections offer minimal relief, one has to ask why drug use costs continue to climb? Even care by physical therapists has been shown to prolong low back pain.

A chronic pain study at the University of Washington School of Medicine recently compared which
treatments were most effective at reducing pain for neuromuscular diseases and found that chiropractic scored the highest pain relief rating> (7.33), scoring higher than the relief provided by either nerve blocks (6.75) or opioid analgesics (6.37).

A recent
4-year retrospective study of 700,000 health plan members revealed that offering chiropractic services within a managed-care environment could save insurers 27% in back pain episode-related costs! The Cost-effectiveness Page documents many other studies with similar findings.

In December 2004, the
British Medical Research Council published 2 papers in the British Medical Journal demonstrating both the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic compared with medical management. These two papers found:

  Manipulation, with or without exercise, improved symptoms more than medical care did after both 3 and 12 months

  The authors concluded: “We believe that this is the first study of physical therapy for low back pain to show convincingly that both manipulation alone and manipulation followed by exercise provide cost effective additions to care in general practice.”


 
   

Additional Cost-Effectiveness Studies
 
   

Thanks to the NBCE for the use of this information!

You may want to download their collected:


Studies on Chiropractic 2010 or their

Studies on Chiropractic 2005


The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners published reports based on a four-year study of chiropractic.  These reports  focused on  three surveys including  full-time, licensed U.S., Canadian and registered Australian and New Zealand chiropractic practitioners.  The surveys and their resulting reports are titled Job Analysis of Chiropractic.

Following publication of the Job Analysis of Chiropractic, the NBCE began to receive requests for permission to reproduce certain portions of the reports.  In response to those requests, the NBCE has condensed relevant portions and reprinted them in this brochure.


In recent years, numerous independent researchers and various government agencies  have conducted studies which focus  on the efficacy, appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic treatment.   Several of these important studies are listed below.


  • U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCY REPORT

    A 1994 study published by the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  endorses spinal manipulation for acute low back pain in adults in its Clinical Practice Guideline # 14.  An independent multidisciplinary panel of private-sector clinicians and other experts convened and developed specific statements on appropriate health care of acute low back problems in adults.  One statement cited,  relief of discomfort (low back pain) can be accomplished most safely with spinal manipulation, and/or nonprescription medication.

    Acute Low Back Problems in Adults ~ AHCPR Clinical Practice Guidelines, No. 14



  • THE MANGA REPORT
  • A major study to assess the most appropriate use of available health care resources was reported in 1993.  This was an outcomes study funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and conducted in hopes of sharing information about ways to reduce the incidence of work-related injuries and to address cost-effective ways to rehabilitate disabled and injured workers. The study was conducted by three health economists led by University of Ottawa Professor Pran Manga, Ph.D.  The report of the study is commonly called the Manga Report.  The Manga Report overwhelmingly supported the efficacy, safety, scientific validity, and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic for low-back pain.  Additionally, it found that higher patient satisfaction levels were associated with chiropractic care than with medical treatment alternatives.  “Evidence from Canada and other countries suggests potential savings of hundreds of millions annually,”  the Manga Report states. “The literature clearly and consistently shows that the major savings from chiropractic management come from fewer and lower costs of auxiliary services, fewer hospitalizations, and a highly significant reduction in chronic problems, as well as in levels and duration of disability.”

    Enhanced Chiropractic Coverage Under OHIP as a Means for Reducing Health Care Costs, Attaining Better Health Outcomes and Achieving Equitable Access to Health Services



  • RAND STUDY ON LOW-BACK PAIN
  • A four-phase study conducted in the early 1990s by RAND, one of America’s most prestigious centers for research in public policy, science and technology, explored many indications of low-back pain.  In the RAND studies, an expert panel of researchers, including medical doctors and doctors of chiropractic, found that:

    • chiropractors deliver a substantial amount of health care to the U.S. population.

    • spinal manipulation is of benefit to some patients with acute low-back pain.

    The RAND reports marked the first time that representatives of the medical community went on record stating that spinal manipulation is an appropriate treatment for certain low-back pain conditions.



  • THE NEW ZEALAND COMMISSION REPORT
  • A particularly significant study of chiropractic was conducted between 1978-1980 by the New Zealand Commission of Inquiry.  In its 377-page report to the House of Representatives, the Commission called its study “probably the most comprehensive and detailed independent examination of chiropractic ever undertaken in any country.”  The Commission entered the inquiry with “the general impression ... shared by many in the community: that chiropractic was an unscientific cult, not to be compared with orthodox medical or paramedical services.”   By the end of the inquiry, the commission reported itself “irresistibly and with complete unanimity drawn to the conclusion that modern chiropractic is a soundly-based and valuable branch of health care in a specialized area...”  Conclusions of the Commission’s report,  based on investigations in New Zealand, the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, stated:

    • Spinal manual therapy in the hands of a registered chiropractor is safe.

    • Spinal manual therapy can be effective in relieving musculo-skeletal symptoms such as back pain, and other symptoms known to respond to such therapy, such as migraine.

    • Chiropractors are the only health practitioners who are necessarily equipped by their education and training to carry out spinal manual therapy.

    • In the public interest and in the interests of patients, there must be no impediment to full professional cooperation between chiropractors and medical practitioners.




  • STATE OF TEXAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION STUDY OF 2003
  • In 2002, the Texas Chiropractic Association (TCA) commissioned an independent study to determine the use and effectiveness of chiropractic with regard to workers' compensation, the results of which were published in February. According to the report, Chiropractic Treatment of Workers' Compensation Claimants in the State of Texas, chiropractic care was associated with significantly lower costs and more rapid recovery in treating workers with low-back injuries. They found: Lower back and neck injuries accounted for 38 percent of all claims costs. Chiropractors treated about 30 percent of workers with lower back injuries, but were responsible for only 17.5 percent of the medical costs and 9.1 percent of the total costs. These findings were even more intertesting: The average claim for a worker with a low-back injury was $15,884. However, if a worker received at least 75 percent of his or her care from a chiropractor, the total cost per claimant decreased by nearly one-fourth to $12,202. If the chiropractor provided at least 90 percent of the care, the average cost declined by more than 50 percent, to $7,632.



  • FLORIDA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION STUDY
  • A 1988 study of 10,652 Florida workers’ compensation cases was conducted by Steve Wolk, Ph.D. , and reported by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research. It was concluded that “a claimant with a back-related injury, when initially treated by a chiropractor versus a medical doctor, is less likely to become temporarily disabled, or if disabled, remains disabled for a shorter period of time; and claimants treated by medical doctors were hospitalized at a much higher rate than claimants treated by chiropractors.” Some of the study results were:

    • 51.3 percent shorter temporary total disability duration with chiropractic care

    • lower treatment cost by 58.8 percent ($558 vs. $1,100 per case) in the chiropractic group, and

    • 20.3 percent hospitalization rate in the chiropractic care group vs. 52.2 percent rate in the medical care group




  • WASHINGTON HMO STUDY
  • In 1989, a survey administered by Daniel C. Cherkin, Ph.D., and Frederick A. MacCornack, Ph.D., concluded that patients receiving care from health maintenance organizations (HMOs) within the state of Washington were three times as likely to report satisfaction with care from chiropractors as they were with care from other physicians. The patients were also more likely to believe that their chiropractor was concerned about them.



  • UTAH WORKERS’ COMPENSATION STUDY
  • A workers’ compensation study conducted in Utah by Kelly B. Jarvis, D.C., Reed B. Phillips, D.C., Ph.D., and Elliot K. Morris, JD, MBA, compared the cost of chiropractic care to the costs of medical care for conditions with identical diagnostic codes.  Results were reported in the August 1991 Journal of Occupational MedicineThe study indicated that costs were significantly higher for medical claims than for chiropractic claims; in addition, the number of work days lost was nearly ten times higher for those who received medical care instead of chiropractic care.

    This Compensation Board study found the total treatment costs for back-related injuries cost an average of $775.30 per case when treated by a doctor of chiropractic. When injured workers received standard medical treatment as opposed to chiropractic treatment, the average cost per case was $1,665.43. They also found the mean compensation cost paid out by the Utah Worker's Compensation Board for patients treated by medical doctors was $668.39, while the mean compensation cost paid for patients treated by chiropractic doctors was only $68.38.

    Cost Per Case Comparison of Back Injury Claims of Chiropractic Versus Medical Management for Conditions With Identical Diagnostic Codes
    J Occup Med 1991 (Aug);   33 (8):   847–852



  • PATIENT DISABILITY COMPARISON
  • A 1992 article in the Journal of Family Practice reported a study by DC Cherkin, Ph.D., which compared patients of family physicians and of chiropractors.   The article stated “the number of days of disability for patients seen by family physicians was significantly higher (mean 39.7) than for patients managed by chiropractors (mean 10.8).” A related editorial in the same issue referred to risks of complications from lumbar manipulation as being “very low.”



  • OREGON WORKERS’ COMPENSATION STUDY
  • A 1991 report on a workers’ compensation study conducted in Oregon by Joanne Nyiendo, Ph.D., concluded that the median time loss days (per case) for comparable injuries was 9.0 for patients receiving treatment by a doctor of chiropractic  and 11.5 for treatment by a medical doctor.



  • STANO COST COMPARISON STUDY
  • Miron Stano, PhD, a health care economist at Oakland University, conducted a study comparing the health-care costs for chiropractic and medical patients with neuromusculoskeletal conditions. The database he used came from the records of MEDSTAT Systems, Inc., a health benefits management consulting firm which processes insurance claims for many of the country's largest corporations. This June 1993 Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics study involved 395,641 patients, drawn from statistical information on more than two million beneficiaries. Results over a two-year period showed that patients who received chiropractic care incurred significantly lower health care costs than did patients treated solely by medical or osteopathic physicians.

    DISTRIBUTION OF TOTAL COST PER CASE FOR SELECTED ICD-9 CODES (MEAN VALUES) 

    ICD-9 CODE DIAGNOSIS TOTAL COST
    (MEDICAL)
    TOTAL COST
    (CHIROPRACTIC)
    722.10 Lumbar Disc $  8,175 $  1,065
    724.40 Neuritis/Radiculitis $  2,154 $     531
    846.00 Sprain/Sacroiliac $     813 $     537
    847.00 Sprain/Strain Cervical $     968 $     586
    847.10 Sprain/Strain Thoracic $     487 $     474
    847.20 Sprain/Strain Lumbar $     969 $     523
    Total Cost of Selected Cases
    $ 13,556 $  3,716
    Average Cost Per Case
    $  2,259 $    619


    Also of interest, for those patients receiving both medical and chiropractic care, the Stano/MEDSTAT results revealed:

    • 31 percent lower hospital admissions rates;

    • 43 percent lower inpatient payments; and

    • 23 percent lower total health care costs.



  • SASKATCHEWAN CLINICAL RESEARCH
  • Following a 1993 study, researchers J. David Cassidy, D.C., Haymo Thiel,  D.C., M.S., and W. Kirkaldy-Willis, M.D., of the Back Pain Clinic at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatchewan concluded that “the treatment of lumbar intervertebral disk herniation by side posture manipulation is both safe and effective.”



  • UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN STUDY OF 1985
  • In 1985 the University of Saskatchewan conducted a study of 283 patients “who had not responded to previous conservative or operative treatment” and who were initially classified as totally disabled. The study revealed that “81% ... became symptom free or achieved a state of mild intermittent pain with no work restrictions” after daily spinal manipulations were administered.



  • WIGHT STUDY ON RECURRING HEADACHES
  • A 1978 study conducted by J.S. Wight, D.C. , and reported in the ACA Journal of Chiropractic, indicated that 74.6% of patients with recurring headaches, including migraines, were either cured or experienced reduced headache symptomatology after receiving chiropractic manipulation.



  • 1991 GALLUP POLL
  • A 1991 demographic poll conducted by the Gallup Organization revealed that 90% of chiropractic patients felt their treatment was effective; more than 80% were satisfied with that treatment; and nearly 73% felt most of their expectations had been met during their chiropractic visits.



  • 1990 BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL REPORT
  • A study conducted by T.W. Meade, a medical doctor, and reported in the June 2, 1990, British Medical Journal concluded after two years of patient monitoring, “for patients with low-back pain in whom manipulation is not contraindicated, chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long-term benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management.” More importantly, this article contradicts other articles which maintained that spinal adjusting (manipulation) was only effective for "acute" low back pain . This article found: The benefit is seen mainly in those with chronic or severe pain . It also suggested that “introducing chiropractic into NHS practice should be considered.”



  • VIRGINIA COMPARATIVE STUDY
  • A 1992 study conducted by L.G. Schifrin, Ph.D., provided an economic assessment of mandated health insurance coverage for chiropractic treatment within the Commonwealth of Virginia.  This economic analysis found chiropractic care to be a lower cost option for back-related ailments. The researchers concluded that if chiropractic care was insured to the extent of other medical specialties, it would likely emerge as a first option for many patients with certain medical conditions. They also believed this could result in a decrease in the overall treatment costs for these conditions. The study reported that:

    • The low cost of chiropractic is due not to its low rate of use, but to its apparently offsetting impacts on costs in the face of high rates of utilization. Chiropractic is a growing component of the health care sector, and it is widely used by the population.

    • Formal studies of the cost, effectiveness, or both of chiropractic, usually measured against other forms of treatment, show it to compare favorably with them.

    • By every test of cost and effectiveness, the general weight of evidence shows chiropractic to provide important therapeutic benefits, at economical costs. Additionally, these benefits are achieved with apparently minimal, even negligible, impacts on the costs of health insurance.

    • The conclusion of this analysis is that chiropractic mandates help make available health care that is widely used by the American public and has proven to be cost-effective.

    Mandated Health Insurance Coverage for Chiropractic Treatment: An Economic Assessment, with Implications for the Commonwealth of Virginia
    Leonard G. Schifrin . The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, and Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia - January 1992.

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  • 1992 AMERICA HEALTH POLICY REPORT
  • A 1992 review of data from over 2,000,000 users of chiropractic care in the U.S., reported in the Journal of American Health Policy, stated that “chiropractic users tend to have substantially lower total health care costs,” and that “chiropractic care reduces the use of both physician and hospital care.”



  • 1985 UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN STUDY
  • In 1985 the University of Saskatchewan conducted a study of 283 patients “who had not responded to previous conservative or operative treatment” and who were initially classified as totally disabled. The study revealed that “81% ... became symptom free or achieved a state of mild intermittent pain with no work restrictions” after daily spinal manipulations were administered.




Further validation of chiropractic care evolved from an antitrust suit which was filed by four members of the chiropractic profession against the American Medical Association (AMA) and a number of other health care organizations in the U.S. (Wilk et al v. AMA et al, 1990).  Following 11 years of litigation, a federal appellate court judge upheld a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Getzendanner that the AMA had engaged in a “lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott” designed to restrict cooperation between MDs and chiropractors in order to eliminate the profession of chiropractic as a competitor in the U.S. health care system.   Judge Getzendanner rejected the AMA’s patient care defense, and cited scientific studies which implied that “chiropractic care was twice as effective as medical care in relieving many painful conditions of the neck and back as well as related musculo-skeletal problems."  Since the court’s findings and conclusions were released, an increasing number of medical doctors, hospitals, and health care organizations in the U.S. have begun to include the services of chiropractors.



In order to become a licensed doctor of chiropractic, an individual must meet stringent testing, academic and professional requirements.  Currently, an individual must complete the four major steps shown below in order to become a chiropractic practitioner:
 





CHIROPRACTIC TRAINING

Government inquiries (some of which are described in this brochure), as well as independent investigations by medical practitioners, have affirmed that today’s chiropractic academic training is of equivalent standard to medical training in all pre-clinical subjects.  High standards in chiropractic education are maintained by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) and its Commission on Accreditation, as  recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  Some Chiropractic colleges require a Bachelor's degree before enrollment.  A doctor of chiropractic’s training generally requires a minimum of six years of college study (two years of which are undergraduate course work) and an internship prior to entering practice.  Postdoctoral training in a variety of clinical disciplines and specialties is also available through accredited colleges and specialty councils.



CHIROPRACTIC LICENSING

Chiropractic is one of many occupations which are regulated by state licensing agencies. The requirements for chiropractic licensure vary from state to state (and country to country).  Some states require a Bachelor's degree as a prerequisite for licensure.  To assist the various regulatory agencies in assessing candidates for licensure, the National Board administers examinations to individuals currently in the chiropractic educational system or who have completed a chiropractic educational program. The National Board also offers an examination designed for previously licensed individuals.

A candidate for chiropractic licensure may request that transcripts of scores from National Board examinations be forwarded to licensing agencies which assess eligibility for licensure.  Scores from National Board examinations are made available to licensing agencies throughout the U.S. and in some foreign countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.




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