new pilot program shows that conservative heath care, including chiropractic,
may reduce overall health care costs in patients with musculoskeletal
disorders, such as back and neck pain. The pilot, conducted by Wellmark Blue
Cross and Blue Shield to measure quality of patient care for its members in
Iowa and South Dakota, also shows promising outcomes for the patients choosing
chiropractic and other conservative care.
cost-effectiveness and safety of chiropractic has been documented in several
studies. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is pleased that insurance
companies are starting to recognize the value that doctors of chiropractic and
other conservative providers can offer to their members," said ACA President
Glenn Manceaux, DC. "Especially during the health care reform debate, it's
important that chiropractic and other conservative care methods are taken into
serious consideration as a cost-effective alternative to the utilization of
expensive surgery and hospital-based care," he added.
conducted the Physical Medicine Pilot on Quality in 2008 for Iowa and South
Dakota physical medicine providers. A total of 238 chiropractors, physical therapists
and occupational therapists provided care to 5,500 members with musculoskeletal
disorders. According to Wellmark, data from participating clinicians show that
89 percent of the patients treated in the pilot reported a greater than
30-percent improvement in 30 days.
pilot compared data for Wellmark members who received care from doctors of
chiropractic or physical therapists with a member population with similar
demographics who did not receive such services. The comparison showed that
those who received chiropractic care or physical therapy were less likely to
have surgery and experienced lower total health care costs, according to
is widely recognized as one of the safest non-invasive therapies available for
the treatment of back pain, neck pain, headaches and other neuromusculoskeletal
complaints. A significant amount of evidence shows that chiropractic care for
certain conditions can be more effective and less costly than traditional
medical care. Recent research includes:
study published in the October 2005 issue of the Journal of Manipulative
and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) found that chiropractic and medical
care have comparable costs for treating chronic low-back pain, with
chiropractic care producing significantly better outcomes.
March 2004 study in JMPT found that chiropractic care is more effective
than medical care at treating chronic low-back pain in patients' first
year of symptoms.
study published in a 2003 edition of the medical journal Spine found that
manual manipulation provides better short-term relief of chronic spinal
pain than do a variety of medications.