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New study shows chiropractic is cost-effective in treating chronic back pain

Arlington, VA (Nov. 15, 2005) -- A new study finds that chiropractic and medical care have comparable costs for treating chronic low-back pain, with chiropractic care producing significantly better outcomes. A group of chronic low-back patients who underwent chiropractic treatment showed higher pain relief and satisfaction with the care and lower disability scores than a group that underwent medical care, according to an October 2005 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT).

Although several cost-effectiveness studies outside the United States have favorably compared chiropractic to medical care, this new study is one of the first to compare low-back treatment costs and outcomes within the structure of the American health care system. In the United States alone, back pain associated costs are estimated to reach $48 billion this year, and, at any given time, 80 percent of the U.S. population suffers from back pain statistics that make this study especially pertinent, according to the authors.

Specifics of the study:

The study involved 2780 patients with mechanical low-back pain who referred themselves to 60 doctors of chiropractic and 111 medical doctors in 64 general practice community clinics in Oregon and one in Vancouver, Wa. Chiropractic care included spinal manipulation, physical therapies, an exercise plan, and self-care patient education. Medical care consisted of prescription drugs, an exercise plan, self-care advice, and a referral to a physical therapist (in approximately 25 percent of cases). The costs of treatment and patients' pain, disability, and satisfaction with their health care were assessed at 3 and 12 months after the initial visit to the doctor.

The office costs alone for chiropractic treatment of low-back pain were higher than for medical care. However, when costs of advanced imaging and referral to physical therapists and other providers were added, chiropractic care
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15-Nov-2005


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