Three times as many patients with low back pain visit a medical
doctor as a chiropractor for treatment, despite studies that
chiropractic patients report greater satisfaction than those
seeking medical care. Unlike general practitioners, doctors
of chiropractic specialize in the management of back pain
and other musculoskeletal conditions.
To determine differences in patient satisfaction and communication
with treatment provider between chiropractic and medical back-pain
patients, researchers focused on members of a managed care
organization in California. Members, who suffered from low
back pain, were divided to receive one of four forms of care:
medical; medical plus physical therapy; chiropractic; or chiropractic
plus therapeutic modalities (such as electrical nerve stimulation).
Satisfaction scores of 10-50 (50 indicating "most satisfied")
after four weeks were compared among treatment groups.
Satisfaction scores were significantly higher for chiropractic
patients than for medical patients (36.1 vs. 30.6, respectively).
Chiropractic patients also indicated receiving more advice
on self-care and better explanations of treatment. One-quarter
as many patients assigned to medical treatment reported being
given an explanation of treatment, compared to patients assigned
to chiropractic care (16% vs. 61%).
As this study in the American Journal of Public Health
shows, chiropractic continues to outperform traditional
medical care for back pain treatment. Talk to your doctor
of chiropractic about the other health concerns he or she
Hertzman-Miller RP, Morgenstern H, et al. Comparing the satisfaction
of low back pain patients randomized to receive medical or
chiropractic care: Results from the UCLA Low-Back Pain Study.
American Journal of Public Health 2002:92(10), pp.
For more information on back pain, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/backpain.html