Let's face it: cost is an important factor when we're considering our health-care options. We want quality care that works without racking up unnecessary medical bills.
A growing body of research shows that chiropractic is both effective and less expensive than more invasive medical treatments.
In a recent study, researchers analyzed the medical spending of over 12,000 adults with spine conditions. They discovered that people who use alternative therapies have lower annual health-care costs compared to patients receiving traditional treatments.
Chiropractic care contributed significantly to reduced costs since chiropractic accounted for 75% of alternative therapy use.
Earlier research has found that chiropractic prevented recurring disability in patients with back pain which could help to minimize medical spending.
Studies have also suggested that chiropractic cuts costs for patients by helping them avoid unnecessary procedures, tests, surgeries, and expensive drugs.
Instead, chiropractors work to harness the body's innate healing capabilities with a combination of natural, effective modalities.
1. Martins B, et al. The association of complementary and alternative medicine use and health care expenditures for back and neck problems. Medical Care 2012; 50 (12): 1029-1036. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318269e0b2.
2.Cifuentes M, Willetts J, Wasiak R. Health maintenance care in work-related low back pain and its association with disability recurrence. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011; 53(4): 396-404.
Lower back pain is incredibly common, and it can be very expensive to treat. According to one estimate, the direct and indirect costs of chronic back pain amount to $100 billion every year in the U.S. alone.
Low-Back Pain Is a Problem
The authors of a new study comment, "One factor explaining these enormous costs is the high rate of recurrence and chronic disability related to low-back disorders." They estimate that ten percent of low-back pain patients account for more than 80 percent of the costs related to back pain.
Study Low-Back Pain Prevention
Because of the huge costs of treating low-back pain, many studies have focused on prevention. One recent study examined the role of chiropractic adjustments in treating chronic lower back pain. The study involved 30 participants whose back pain had lasted at least 6 months. The study began with one treatment-free month, enabling the researchers to observe a 'control period' of untreated back-pain symptoms.
Following this initial period, half of the patients underwent intensive chiropractic adjustments, including 12 treatments in one month, followed by no treatments for the next nine months. The other group received the same initially intensive treatment, along with maintenance chiropractic sessions every 3 weeks for a period of nine months. At the end of this period, researchers examined both groups.
The study authors found that:
Both groups of patients experienced a reduction in pain. Even without follow-up visits, an intensive month of chiropractic treatments reduced pain levels.
Disability levels showed a different response. Patients who received no continuing treatment found that disability levels returned to pre-treatment levels, while those who received maintenance treatments saw continued improvements in their disability scores over the nine-month study period.
The authors conclude that their research appears to confirm the idea that low-back pain and disability are reduced following chiropractic spinal adjustments. They added:
"It also shows the positive effects of preventive chiropractic treatment in maintaining functional capacities and reducing the number and intensity of pain episodes after an acute phase of treatment. Maintenance chiropractic care involving spinal manipulation combined with other treatment modalities (exercises, pain management program) should be investigated. Such combined interventions may have a critical influence on pain, disability, and return to work."
Descarreaux M, Blouin JS, Drolet M, Papadimitriou S, Teasdale N. Efficacy of preventive spinal manipulation for chronic low-back pain and related disabilities: a preliminary study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2004;27:509-514.
More and more children are receiving chiropractic care and there's a good reason why: chiropractic provides safe, natural treatment for a number of conditions while promoting wellness.
Multiple studies point to the safety of chiropractic for kids. In a 2012 survey of European chiropractors, fewer than 1% of children experienced side effects from chiropractic treatments, and those side effects were all mild,1 This confirms the results of three other studies in which no serious side effects were reported in pediatric patients receiving chiropractic treatment.
Research suggests that chiropractic can safely relieve musculoskeletal pain in children. In a 2003 study, 62% of pediatric patients had substantial reductions in back pain after receiving chiropractic adjustments.3 Treatment of musculoskeletal conditions continues to be the number one reason why children receive chiropractic care.
But chiropractic does more than treat conditions, it can help children improve their health through wellness care. In a 2009 survey, one of the primary reasons why parents took their child to see a chiropractor was for wellness care.4
Current research shows that chiropractic can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones, release endorphins, and boost the immune system.
Whether you're hoping to ease your child's pain or improve their health, chiropractic can help.
1. Marchland A. Chiropractic care of children from birth to adolescence and classification of reported conditions: an Internet cross-sectional survey of 956 European chiropractors. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2012; 35 (5):372-380.
2. Humpheys BK. Possible adverse events in children treated by manual therapy: a review. Chiropr Osteopat. 2010;18: doi: 10.1186/1746-1340-18-12.
3. Hayden Ja, Mior SA, Verhoef MJ. Evaluation of chiropractic management of pediatric patients with low back pain: a prospective cohort study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003 ;26(1):1-8.
4. Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore NY 2009; 5(5): 290-5.
Keeping a food journal may take an extra 10 minutes from your day but it could help you keep a healthy weight. A new study found that self-monitoring behaviors, preparing meals at home, and eating at regular intervals enabled women to maintain weight loss for at least 12 months.
The study included 123 postmenopausal women who were overweight or obese who enrolled in a weight loss program. Tracking food increased weight loss by an average of 3.7%. While maintaining a food journal is researchers' "number one piece of advice" for weight loss other strategies like making meals at home, self-weighing, exercise, and keeping a consistent eating schedule can help. Though skipping meals may seem like it could boost weight loss by reducing caloric intake, it actually lowered weight loss by 4.3%. Eating out frequently, and particularly eating lunch out, decreased weight loss by at least 2.5%.
Another recent article from TheNew York Timesanalyzed methods for maintaining a regular exercise routine. It turns out that many people who regularly exercise don't do it for reducing health risks-- it simply makes them feel good.
Another reason to feel good about exercise and weight loss: both can relieve back pain naturally.
In an article written to educate the public about back pain, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has suggested that patients seek chiropractic and other conservative back-pain treatment before taking more invasive measures.
The article says that surgery is not usually needed for treating back pain and should only be considered when other conservative methods fail.
This recommendation reinforces what the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) teaches patients, as well. Chiropractic should be the first line of defense against musculoskeletal pain.
The article has been published online on the JAMA patient page titled "Low Back Pain," and discusses the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and prevention of low-back pain. The doctors who wrote the article go on to explain that the back is comprised of bones, nerves, muscles, and soft tissues like ligaments and tendons. Back pain can be a result of problems with any of these structures.
Because chiropractors are neuro-musculoskeletal experts, they are well equipped to manage and prevent low-back pain.
In an interview about the JAMA article, ACA President Keith Overland, DC, said that he and his colleagues at ACA were encouraged to see chiropractic suggested for back-pain treatment. He confirmed that in many cases, back pain can be alleviated without the use of drugs or surgery, "so it makes sense to exhaust conservative options first."
And chiropractic makes sense for reducing health-care costs as well. Dr. Overland went on to say, "Research confirms that the services provided by chiropractic physicians are not only clinically effective but also cost-effective, so taking a more conservative approach at the onset of low back pain can also potentially save both patients and the health care system money down the line."
If you have low-back pain, follow the advice of these reputable medical communities. See a chiropractor first.
American Chiropractic Association. JAMA suggests chiropractic for low back pain. Businesswire May 8, 2013. businesswire.com.
Goodman D, Burke A, Livingston E. Low back pain. JAMA Patient Page April 24, 2013; 309(16): 1738. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3046.
New research suggests that improved athletic performance could be among the benefits of manual therapy. A recent study sought to gain increased understanding about the potential benefits of spinal adjustments in college football players.
The research involved 115 football players at Virginia Tech who were provided with a total of 1,976 osteopathic manipulative treatments over the course of two football seasons. The players received adjustments in the cervical, lumbar, thoracic, and sacral sections of the spine. After each game, the players' performance was graded by their coaches.
Both offensive and defensive players showed improved performance following pre-competition manipulative treatments. While the association was relatively small, and not considered statistically significant, the positive correlation suggests that regular spinal adjustments could help athletes' long-term performance.
Chiropractic and Athletic Performance
Preliminary results from the study were recently published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association. A similar study, published earlier this year, showed that regular chiropractic treatments improved the performance of professional judo athletes.
Brolinson PG, et al. Precompetition manipulative treatment and performance among virginia tech athletes during 2 consecutive football seasons: a preliminary, retrospective report. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 2012: 112(9):607-15.
A new case study suggests chiropractic can provide significant relief of frozen shoulder syndrome.
What Is Frozen Shoulder Syndrome?
Frozen shoulder syndrome, or FSS, is a painful condition causing night pain and restricted shoulder range of motion. Medical treatments for FSS often include stretching or injections of medications and steroids. Unfortunately, these treatments do not always provide lasting results in many patients.
Chiropractic Treatment of FSS
To see if chiropractic could help, a recent case study evaluated the effects of chiropractic spinal adjustments in patients with FSS. After 1-2 months of chiropractic care, 98% of patients had significantly improved range of motion, and 32% of patients had completely regained normal shoulder adduction.
Chiropractic Lowered Pain Scores
Patients also experienced substantial improvements in pain, with the median average pain score dropping from a 9 out of 10 to a 2 out of 10.
Study Confirms Previous Research
This case study suggests chiropractic care is a viable option for patients with frozen shoulder syndrome. Earlier research has shown that manual therapies like chiropractic are effective for pain in the shoulder and upper back.
Murphy F. Chiropractic management of frozen shoulder syndrome using a novel technique: a retrospective case series of 50 patients. Journal of Chiropractic 2012; 11: 267-72.
Why Chiropractic is the Best Solution for Sciatica Pain
Sciatica and chiropractic
Sciatica pain is often so debilitating that it forces people to miss work and other normal activities. Of all patients with low-back pain, sciatica patients have the highest level of disability (1). In fact, patients with sciatica are disabled for an average of 72 days according to Norwegian public-health records.
Fortunately, a recent study offers hope to sciatica patients: chiropractic care can speed the recovery from sciatica flare ups and allow patients to return to work sooner (2).
The study evaluated 44 Norwegian workers after they came to the hospital with severe sciatica pain. Most of those patients had been experiencing pain for three or more weeks prior to their hospital visit.
The hospital chiropractor examined each patient to evaluate his/her posture and gait, range of motion, and palpation of the lumbar spine.
The chiropractic then performed various joint adjustments to the spine and other limbs that had been injured through patients compensating for pain. Ice treatment was also used to relieve soft tissue soreness.Patients were treated daily in the hospital and later three times a week for the first two weeks. Some patients needed additional follow-up treatment but typically did not exceed 14 treatments.
In matter of 21 days, 91% of patients returned to work full-time. Two patients returned to work part time. Researchers concluded this study demonstrates the potent benefits of collaboration between chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons. Chiropractic care can put an end to your sciatica pain so you can begin living your life fully again.
Arana E, Marti-Bonmati L, Vega M, et al. Relationship between low back pain, disability, MR imaging findings and health care provider. Skeletal Radiology 2006;35(9):641-7.
Orlin JR, Didriksen A. Results of chiropractic treatment of lumbopelvic fixation in 44 patients admitted to an orthopedic department. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2007;30:135-139.