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Chiropractic: It Satisfies

Three times as many patients with low back pain visit a medical doctor as a chiropractor for treatment, despite studies that indicate 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 can address.


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. 1628-1633.

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