The following is a compilation of some of the most powerful studies to date that demonstrate the validity, cost effectiveness, and safety of chiropractic health care. Take note that other countries have already adopted Chiropractic as primary means of health care, and virtually none of the studies were performed by chiropractors.
1. Bigos S, Bowyer O, et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guideline, Number 14, Rockville, MD: US Dept of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, AHCPR Pub. No. 95-0642, December 1994.
In this clinical practice guideline, a multidisiplinary panel created by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) recommends treating the pain of most acute low back problems with spinal manipulation in the first four weeks of symptoms, and/or non-prescription pain killers in conjunction with immediate mild exercise (such as walking or swimming), and conditioning exercises about two weeks later. The guideline states:
For patients with acute low back symptoms without radiculopathy, the scientific evidence suggests spinal manipulation is effective in reducing pain and perhaps speeding recovery within the first month of symptoms.
2. Manga P, Angus D, et al. The effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain. The Ontario Ministry of Health, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 1993.
The results of this intensive study of the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic (initiated and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health) showed that in addition to being cost-effective, chiropractic is more clinically effective than other accepted treatments of low-back pain. The findings include:
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 low back pain. Many medical therapies are of questionable validity or are clearly inadequate.
3. Meade TW, Dyer S, et al. "Low Back Pain of Mechanical Origin: Randomized Comparison of Chiropractic and Hospital Outpatient Treatment." British Medical Journal, Volume 300, Number 6737, June 2, 1990, Pages 1431-1437.
Research conducted in Great Britain, conducted by T. W. Meade, a medical doctor, compared chiropractic treatment and hospital outpatient treatment consisting of corset-wearing and standard physical therapy, for low back pain. The study concluded:
For patients with low-back pain in whom manipulation is not contraindicated, chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long-term benefit in comparison to standard hospital management.
A follow-up study by the same authors three years later concluded:
At three years the results confirm the findings of an earlier report that when chiropractic or hospital therapists treat patients with low back pain as they would in day to day practice, those treated by chiropractic derive more benefit and long-term satisfaction than those treated by hospitals.
CHIROPRACTIC’S COST EFFECTIVENESS:
4. Manga P, Angus D, et al. The effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain. The Ontario Ministry of Health, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 1993.Recognizing that low-back pain is one of the most costly causes of illness and disability in Canada, not only in terms of treatment but also as the most expensive source of Worker’s Compensation costs, this study was conducted to evaluate whether chiropractic health care could help ease the health care crisis in Canada. The findings include:
There is an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that chiropractic management of low-back pain is more cost-effective than medical management… The lack of any convincing argument or evidence to the contrary must be noted and is significant to us in forming our conclusions and recommendations. The evidence includes studies showing lower chiropractic costs for the same diagnosis and episodic need for care.
When discussing the safety of chiropractic care, the alternatives must be examined. Because chiropractors neither prescribe medication nor perform surgery, the drawbacks of these interventions must be considered when making an informed decision.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in April, 1998 found that in 1994, 106,000 Americans died as a result of taking medications which were properly prescribed and administered. An additional 2,216,000 suffered "adverse drug reactions".
1. Manga P, Angus D, et al. The effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain. The Ontario Ministry of Health, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 1993.
This previously mentioned study concluded:
There is no clinical or case-controlled study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low-back pain. Some medical treatments are equally safe, but others are unsafe and generate iatrogenic (physician-induced) complications for low-back pain patients. Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic spinal manipulation is safer than medical management of low-back pain.
PATIENT SATISFACTION AND UTILIZATION:
1. Maust A. The Chiropractic Patient in Rural, Health Professional Shortage Areas of the United States: An Exploratory Analysis. Research Dimensions Incorporated, Richmond, Virginia, December 1994.
The results of this survey of chiropractic patients in medically underserved areas indicates an astonishing 100 percent patient satisfaction rate with the care that they receive (69 percent satisfied and 31 percent very satisfied). When they first sought chiropractic care, 96 percent of the respondents indicated that they were in pain and 44 percent had gone to a medical doctor for the same condition, but did not find relief, before seeking chiropractic care. As a result of the chiropractic care, 74 percent responded that they definitely had less pain and 21 percent stated that the experienced relief.
2. Carey TS, Evans AT, et al. "Acute Severe Low Back Pain: A Population-based Study of Prevalence and Care-Seeking." Spine, Volume 21, Number 3, 1996, Pages 339-344.
In this study, 4,438 adult residents of North Carolina were contacted by telephone. Of those interviewed who had suffered at least one episode of severe acute low back pain in the previous year (1991), 13 percent sought care from a chiropractor, 24 percent sought care from a medical doctor, and 61 percent sought no care at all. The remaining 2 percent saw another type of practitioner. Of those who sought care for their back problems, the study found:
Compared to those who sought care from medical doctors, those who sought care from chiropractors were more likely to feel that treatment was helpful (99% vs. 80%), more likely to be satisfied with care (96% vs. 84%), and less likely to seek care from another provider for that same episode of pain (14% vs. 27%).