Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Is Chiropractic Care Cost Effective?

The U.S. currently spends more money per person for heathcare than any other nation. Sadly we have found that we are not very healthy as individuals. The World Health Organization ranks us 37th in the world behind Costa Rica and before Slovenia. It is obvious that we are not getting our moneys worth. Back and Neck pain has been estimated to be the 3rd most expensive condition to treat in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer. Since we spend so much it is just a matter of time before government steps in and says what is effective and what is not. There will be a huge fight over it because there are some very powerful groups that do not want change. So how does chiropractic stack up? There has been quite of bit of research on this subject and here are a few examples. In 2007 Guidelines were published by the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians. These guidelines found that chiropractic adjustments were effective for acute, subacute and chronic lower back pain. A 2011 study looked at the Guidelines and found chiropractic care to be cost effective for subacute and chronic lower back pain and there was insufficient evidence that it was effective for acute back problems. This same study found NO MEDICATIONS to be cost effective for lower back pain. A large study of BC/BS of 85,000 patients found chiropractic care to be 20-40% less expensive than traditional medical care. Another group associated with United Healthcare demonstrated that chiropractic care produced large improvements in disability at low episode costs. Another study in 2010 showed that chiropractors were able to help 60% of those patients who were scheduled to have back surgery. In the U.S. it is estimated that this alone could save $3 billion a year. There have been numerous studies showing that when doctors follow evidence based guidelines for lower back pain (of which spinal manipulation is a very effective treatment) significant costs are saved. Sadly it has also been proven that most MDs are not following established Guidelines for lower back pain. I believe that the average cost of a chiropractic treatment program is about $487. The average cost of a hospital based MRI is about $2500. You can see using a chiropractor as part of your healthcare team can help you put money back in your piggy bank.