January 26, 2013
The pratice of spinal adjusting has been around for thousands of years dating back to ancient China. Chiropractic was first officially started in 1895 by D.D. Palmer with the first chiropractic college opening in Davenport, Iowa. Since that time there have been millions of people (and animals) treated with spinal adjusting techniques with amazing success. Although the anecdotal success stories are millions strong, there have been few clinical studies measuring its effect.
Only over the past few decades have there been studies showing the benefit of chiropractic care over medical care in the treatment of low back pain. These studies have shown chiropractic is a safer alternative and has a higher satisfaction rate over medical treatments.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2004 showed multiple benefits of chiropractic care. The authors of the study reviewed 1.7 million health insurance claims, 700,000 claims of those with chiropractic coverage and 1,000,000 claims of those without chiropractic coverage over a four year period.
The outcome showed that when chiropractic was utilized there was a 28% reduction in medical costs (which was conservatively estimated to $16,000,000 in annual savings!), a 41% reduction in hospitalizations, a 32% reduction in back surgery, and a 37% reduction in medical imaging including x-ray and MRI. Wow!
One would think it would be a no brainer to include chiropractic coverage with equal benefits as standard medical care. Despite this the authors rightly state, "...there is growing evidence for the low risks associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in most cases and favorable evidence for its effectiveness in treating low back pain. In addition, patients treated for back pain by DCs tend to be more satisfied than patients treated by MDs. However, despite this evidence for safety, effectiveness, and growing public demand, health insurance coverage for chiropractic care continues to remain restricted, relative to other health services, particularly in the managed care sector." Can anyone explain this?
Comparative Analysis of Individuals With and Without Chiropractic Coverage: Patient Characteristics, Utilization, and Costs. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:1985-1992.