What if we lived in a world where all back pain was treated by qualified chiropractors? What if anyone with back pain automatically gets referred to a chiropractor for care? What if insurance companies favored chiropractic care over opioid prescriptions and surgery? Of course, this sounds like a dream scenario to me. As a chiropractor and an advocate for the most effective way to bring suffering to an end for the millions of people who suffer from back pain, in the most cost-effective way, it only makes sense that this scenario should be a no-brainer.
Maybe Someday This Will Be The Way
If chiropractic care was the go-to treatment for back pain, those who suffer would suffer far less, they would save money and so would the insurance companies. In fact, the pain level for everyone involved would go way down. How can I say such a thing, you may ask? Research has shown that when back pain treatment is provided “solely by chiropractors” insurance claimants returned to work more quickly. Here is the exact statement:
“A study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute found that medical care costs less and claimants return to work more quickly when low back pain treatment is provided solely by chiropractors. Costs were also lower when chiropractors provided physical medicine services, but other types of clinicians handled evaluation and management. However, the difference was not as dramatic.” https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2022/05/20/668528.htm#
How The Research Was Conducted
I consider this research and findings so important that I want to make it available to as many people as possible as frequently as I can. Here is how the research was conducted. “WCRI researchers examined more than 2 million claims from 28 states with injuries dating from Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2017, to compare costs and claim duration for workers who were treated exclusively by chiropractors to workers who received no chiropractic care and workers who received services from both chiropractors and other types of providers. Claims that involved serious conditions needing immediate care, such as tumors and fractures, were excluded.” https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2022/05/20/668528.htm#
It’s important to note that there are some conditions that require other kinds of treatments and that those cases were not included in the research. As the results also concluded, “The average medical cost per claim for low back pain patients who were treated exclusively by a chiropractor for both physical medicine and evaluation and management was $1,366, 61 percent less than the $3,522 treatment cost for low back pain cases that received no chiropractic treatment.” https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2022/05/20/668528.htm#
Fewer Drugs And Expensive Diagnostic Tests
The WCRI study also showed that, “Injured workers treated exclusively by chiropractors also used fewer drugs and diagnostic imaging scans. Comparing a subset of claims with similar characteristics, the researchers found only 1% of claimants treated by chiropractors were prescribed opioids, compared to 10.3% of claimants who were not treated by chiropractors. In the chiropractic group, 4.3% of claimants received a magnetic-resonance imaging scan, compared to 18.9% for the non-chiropractic claimants.” https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2022/05/20/668528.htm#
From What If To What Is
I continue to support research and legislation that leads to less suffering physically and financially for patients, employers, and insurance companies. I am hopeful that the results of this study will result in new legislation that leads to a time when we find it difficult to believe that chiropractic was ever questioned about its effectiveness in successfully, responsibly, and safely treating back pain.