When someone finds out that I’m a chiropractor they usually tell me, “I believe in chiropractic.” I often wonder if they say that to their dentist or medical doctor. I believe in medicine or dental care. I highly doubt it, so why do they say that they believe in what I do? As we begin the new decade, why does this still happen? This profession of chiropractic has been around since 1895. So what leads people to still ask others if they believe in chiropractic? There is a growing list of research studies demonstrating the clinical effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic services. I thought I would add summaries from a few of these studies to help those of you that need it.
The following clinical studies show improved findings in spinal pain after chiropractic treatment:
“In a randomized controlled trial, 183 patients with neck pain were randomly allocated to manual therapy (spinal mobilization), physiotherapy (mainly exercise) or general practitioner care (counseling, education and drugs) in a 52-week study. The clinical outcomes measures showed that manual therapy resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy and general practitioner care. Moreover, total costs of the manual therapy-treated patients were about one-third of the costs of physiotherapy or general practitioner care.” Korthals-de Bos et al (2003), British Medical Journal.
“Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians. Satisfaction scores were higher for chiropractic patients. A higher proportion of chiropractic patients (56 percent vs. 13 percent) reported that their low-back pain was better or much better, whereas nearly one-third of medical patients reported their low-back pain was worse or much worse.” Nyiendo et al (2000), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
A recent study shows decreased opioid use in patients receiving chiropractic care.
“Patients who saw a chiropractor as their initial provider for low back pain (LBP) had 90% decreased odds of both early and long-term opioid use.” Kazis et al. (2019), BMJ Open.
Chiropractic treatment has been shown effective in the management of headaches.
“The results of this study show that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches… Four weeks after cessation of treatment … the patients who received spinal manipulative therapy experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in all major outcomes in contrast to the patients that received amitriptyline therapy, who reverted to baseline values.” Boline et al. (1995), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
Cost comparison of chiropractic care compared to traditional medical treatment shows that “low back pain initiated with a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) saves 20 to 40 percent on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a medical doctor (MD), according to a study that analyzed data from 85,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) beneficiaries in Tennessee over a two-year span. The study population had open access to MDs and DCs through self-referral, and there were no limits applied to the number of MD/DC visits allowed and no differences in co-pays. Researchers estimated that allowing DC-initiated episodes of care would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million for BCBS of Tennessee. They also concluded that insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care for low back pain treatment may inadvertently pay more for care than they would if they removed such restrictions.” Liliedahl et al (2010), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
Recently there has been an increase in flu symptoms and people are asking questions about ways to prevent or reduce the effects of the flu by boosting their immune system. In my office, many patients ask if getting adjusted will help them prevent or reduce the incidence of the flu.
A study performed on patients with HIV found some amazing results. “The effects of six months of regular chiropractic care on the immune system function of HIV patients was measured. At the end of six months of care, the patients who had received regular adjustments had a 48% increase in the number of CD4+ T cells (p=0.06), whereas the patients who were not adjusted had an 8% decrease in CD4+ cells.” Chiropractic Research Journal 1994; 3(1): 32-39).
T cells are part of your immune system; the higher the number the better.
One of the most critical studies showing the positive effects chiropractic care can have on the immune system was performed by Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York’s Preventive Medicine. The study compared the general population to those with cancer and other serious diseases. In this three-year study composed of 107 individuals under chiropractic care for five or more years, it was concluded that these patients had a 200% greater immune competence than people who did not receive chiropractic care, and 400% greater than people with cancer or other serious diseases. The immune competence was also found not to diminish based on age.
Dr. Pero stated, “When applied in a clinical framework, I have never seen a group other than this chiropractic group to experience a 200% increase over the normal patients. This is why it is so dramatically important. We have never seen such a positive improvement in a group…”
Pero R. “Medical Researcher Excited By CBSRF Project Results.” The Chiropractic Journal, August 1989; 32.
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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene and the phone number is 208-966-4425.