Back pain.....Who treats it most efficiently?

Back pain accounts for a major portion of American’s health care tab every year and it’s increasing.  If you go to your family physician, the typical route is often X-Rays, medication management, possible referral to PT, and surgery.  A study published in the July 2011 European Spine Journal revealed spinal manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) to be the MOST cost effective treatment for back pain.  How did the standard medications that your family doctors prescribe hold up?  They couldn’t find any evidence that it was cost effective.  In fact, when statistics from 1997 to 2006 were evaluated, the percentage change in medication cost per person in treating spinal care rose a whopping 139%!  (JAMA 2008). 

Here’s an article that was published in the USA Today:

My favorite part of this article was this:

"Patients expect doctors to have some kind of magic cure, and so doctors want to offer them something," Landon says. "Often it's easier to offer them something rather than explaining why more aggressive treatments and testing won't make them better in the long run."

This sums up WHY we don’t have better management of back pain in America.  Our system has always directed everyone to go their family physicians first, but it just doesn’t work for typical back pain as well as spinal manipulation.

Hopefully the day comes when everyone knows than when it comes to lower back pain, you should seek the help of a chiropractor FIRST.  That’s not to say that chiropractors should endlessly treat these patients, they should be able to quickly and efficiently clear up the problem, and if not, from there referrals can be made for medication management or further testing.  If this is how the system was run, we could avoid unnecessary expenses and delays in people getting better quickly and efficiently.


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