Chiropractic as First Option for Back Pain Relief

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The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the value of chiropractic care, cites the results of a new study as further documentation of chiropractic care as a first option for back pain relief and surgical avoidance. “Early Predictors of Lumbar Spine Surgery after Occupational Back Injury: Results from a Prospective Study of Workers in Washington State,” observed reduced odds of surgery for those under age 35, women, Hispanics and those whose first provider was a chiropractor.”

“In total, 42.7 percent of workers who initially visited a surgeon underwent surgery, in contrast to only 1.5 percent of those who first consulted a chiropractor,” reports Gerard Clum, DC, spokesperson, F4CP, who indicates the important study was conducted by a collaboration of prestigious institutions, including Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, University of Washington School of Public Health, University of Washington School of Medicine, Ohio State University College of Public Health and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. “Back injuries are the most prevalent occupational injury in the US, and care is commonly associated with one of the most costly treatments – spine surgery. Chiropractic is clearly the most appropriate first treatment option for patients with back pain, and this study confirms the value.”

An additional study, “Health Maintenance Care in Work-Related Low Back Pain and Its Association with Disability Recurrence,” also examined chiropractic care for occupational back injuries and found similar outcomes. The study reported for work-related nonspecific low back pain, chiropractic care was associated with a lower disability recurrence, when compared to treatment by other medical interventions. Overall, chiropractic patients illustrated consistently better outcomes, less use of opioids, and had fewer surgeries, with lower medical expenses.

“As more data continues to surface touting the benefits of chiropractic care -- lower costs, less risks and higher satisfaction rates -- I expect that patients and practitioners will move toward considering chiropractic first, medicine second and surgery last,” says Dr. Clum, who closes with praise of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health Plan for already adopting this approach.