Chi­ro­prac­tic treat­ment be­longs in con­ser­va­tive ap­proach to spine care

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

We ap­pre­ci­ate the ar­ti­cle “Re­think­ing spine care” (March 24, p. 14) and the im­por­tant is­sues it raises re­gard­ing the health­care sys­tem’s need to re­assess treat­ment of spinal prob­lems in light of new in­for­ma­tion on the sharp in­crease in the fre­quency of spinal surgery, as­so­ci­ated ru­n­away costs, and the dis­ap­point­ment and mixed re­sults that many pa­tients ex­pe­ri­ence.

The ar­ti­cle notes that some hos­pi­tals have im­ple­mented pro­grams re­quir­ing sur­gi­cal can­di­dates to un­dergo phys­i­cal ther­apy and psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­sel­ing prior to their pro­ce­dures. This con­ser­va­tive care ap­proach should in­clude all le­git­i­mate, ev­i­dence-based op­tions. In re­spect to spinal pain, par­tic­u­larly low-back pain, chi­ro­prac­tic ser­vices have been proven to pro­vide ef­fec­tive re­lief for many pa­tients and at a lower cost to pay­ers. One study (Liliedahl et al., 2010) look­ing at the records of 85,000 Blue Cross and Blue Shield ben­e­fi­cia­ries in Ten­nessee over a two-year pe­riod, found that low-back pain care ini­ti­ated with a chi­ro­prac­tic physi­cian saved 40% on health­care costs.

An­other (Keeney et al., 2012) ob­served that 42.7% of back pain pa­tients whose first provider was a sur­geon even­tu­ally un­der­went surgery, com­pared with only 1.5% whose first provider was a chi­ro­prac­tic physi­cian.

Back pain and the disability it causes is a prob­lem in the U.S. and glob­ally, and it only stands to worsen with the ag­ing pop­u­la­tion. If more health sys­tems part­ner with con­ser­va­tive care providers to screen and treat those pa­tients whose con­di­tions can be helped with­out surgery, we will see lower costs, bet­ter out­comes and more sat­is­fied pa­tients.

Anthony Hamm, D.C.

Pres­i­dent Amer­i­can Chi­ro­prac­tic As­so­ci­a­tion

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