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Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic

Over the last 30 years, researchers looked at what the most cost-effective healthcare options are for people with back and neck pain. What they have found is that often chiropractic care is cheaper than other choices when it comes to cost.

Chiropractic is a cost effective option and costs less in the long term than medical care or physical therapy

Cost of Treatment for Lower Back Pain

The Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned a report into the cost and effectiveness of treatment for low back pain which found that there was an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that chiropractic management of low back pain.


If you are concerned about the cost of your healthcare, know that the research suggests that chiropractic care is a great option to help you feel your best without breaking the bank. . It even ends up costing less than simple advice because you can get back to work quicker and have fewer long term problems associated with neck and/or back pain.


Video Transcript

Cost can be a big factor when we make decisions about our healthcare. Sometimes people will suffer in pain because they’re worried that they just can’t afford the care they need. Over the last 30 years researchers have been looking at what the most cost-effective healthcare options are for people with back and neck pain. What they have found is that often chiropractic care can be head and shoulders above other choices when it comes to cost.


In fact, way back in the early 1990’s researchers found that if patients with low back injuries saw a chiropractor the cost to their insurance companies was around 75% less than for patients who saw medical doctors.1 2 After these studies were released the Ontario Ministry of Health in Canada commissioned a report into the cost and effectiveness of treatment for low back pain which found that there was an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that chiropractic management of low back pain was the most cost-effective care option, and that there would be huge cost savings if chiropractors saw more of the low back pain patients in Ontario.


More recently researchers reviewed 9 years of claims data from an insurance scheme in North Carolina that included about 660,000 people and over 6 million back and neck pain claims. 3 4 They took into account things like the patients age, gender and health history, and then looked at how much each claim cost based on whether the care provider was a medical doctor, physical therapist or a chiropractor. They also looked at the cost of the claim if all they did was offer the patients advice, hoping that they’d just get better by themselves and not need any healthcare. What they found in these studies was that the claims for the patients who were seen by a chiropractor cost significantly less than the patients managed by another healthcare provider. In fact, by the final year of this 9 year study the cost of a claim was from 2 to 5 times more expensive when a chiropractor was not one of the care providers. And the claims managed by a chiropractor cost even less than the claims for patients who were given advice alone, because it would appear that those people ended up taking more time off work than the people who saw a chiropractor.

So what these big studies tell us is that for patients with neck or back pain, chiropractic care is a very cost effective option and costs less in the long term than medical care or physical therapy. It even ends up costing less than simple advice because people generally get back to work quicker and have fewer long term problems associated with their neck and back pain.


So if you are concerned about the cost of your healthcare, know that the research suggests that chiropractic care is a great option to help you feel your best without breaking the bank.


Video References

  1. Jarvis KB, Phillips RB, Morris EK. Cost per case comparison of back injury claims of chiropractic versus medical management for conditions with identical diagnostic codes. Journal of occupational medicine : official publication of the Industrial Medical Association 1991;33(8):847-52.

  2. Ebrall P. Mechanical Low Back Pain: A comparison of Medical and Chiropractic Management Within the Victorian WorkCare Scheme. Chiropr J Aust 1992;22(2):47-53.

  3. Hurwitz EL, Li D, Guillen J, et al. Variations in Patterns of Utilization and Charges for the Care of Neck Pain in North Carolina, 2000 to 2009: A Statewide Claims’ Data Analysis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2016;39(4):240-51.

  4. Hurwitz EL, Li D, Guillen J, et al. Variations in Patterns of Utilization and Charges for the Care of Low Back Pain in North Carolina, 2000 to 2009: A Statewide Claims’ Data Analysis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2016;39(4):252-62.

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