Chiropractic Research

Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic treatment is both safe and effective. The following are excerpts from a few of the more recent studies. By examining the research supporting chiropractic care, you will find that chiropractic offers tremendous potential in meeting today's health care challenges.

For Acute and Chronic Pain

"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

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

In Comparison to Other Treatment Alternatives

"Acute and chronic chiropractic patients experienced better outcomes in pain, functional disability, and patient satisfaction; clinically important differences in pain and disability improvement were found for chronic patients."

Haas et al (2005), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

"In our randomized, controlled trial, we compared the effectiveness of manual therapy, physical therapy, and continued care by a general practitioner in patients with nonspecific neck pain. The success rate at seven weeks was twice as high for the manual therapy group (68.3 percent) as for the continued care group (general practitioner). Manual therapy scored better than physical therapy on all outcome measures. Patients receiving manual therapy had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or continued care, and manual therapy and physical therapy each resulted in statistically significant less analgesic use than continued care."

Hoving et al (2002), Annals of Internal Medicine

For Headaches

"Cervical spine manipulation was associated with significant improvement in headache outcomes in trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache."

Duke Evidence Report, McCrory, Penzlen, Hasselblad, Gray (2001)

"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."

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Boline et al. (1995)

Cost Effectiveness

"Chiropractic care appeared relatively cost-effective for the treatment of chronic low-back pain. Chiropractic and medical care performed comparably for acute patients. Practice-based clinical outcomes were consistent with systematic reviews of spinal manipulative efficacy: manipulation-based therapy is at least as good as and, in some cases, better than other therapeusis."

Haas et al (2005), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

Patient Satisfaction

"Chiropractic patients were found to be more satisfied with their back care providers after four weeks of treatment than were medical patients. Results from observational studies suggested that back pain patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care than with medical care. Additionally, studies conclude that patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care than they were with physical therapy after six weeks."

Hertzman-Miller et al (2002), American Journal of Public Health

Popularity of Chiropractic

"Chiropractic is the largest, most regulated, and best recognized of the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) professions. CAM patient surveys show that chiropractors are used more often than any other alternative provider group and patient satisfaction with chiropractic care is very high. There is steadily increasing patient use of chiropractic in the United States, which has tripled in the past two decades."

Meeker, Haldeman (2002), Annals of Int

Scrutiny of the health care profession is much greater today than ever before. Government ministries and independent researchers conduct scientific trials, track clinical results and survey patients to assess effectiveness and safety of treatment as well as cost efficiency.

Chiropractic has been one of the most rigorously assessed health care fields. In addition to many scientific trials, there have been at least six formal government inquiries into chiropractic worldwide over the past 25 years. The value of chiropractic care continues to prove itself through these tests with high marks for effectiveness, safety and cost efficiency and extremely high patient satisfaction ratings.

Doctors of Chiropractic serve over three million patients each year in Canada. More and more people are referring their friends and family members to chiropractors. And government regulators are becoming more aware of the importance of this health field, especially in treatment of such conditions as lower back pain.

The following research papers are listed on the College of Chiropractors of Alberta website. Report information can be downloaded by clicking on the associated links.

National Back Pain Survey (2003)

The Survey of Back Pain In Canada was conducted for the Canadian Chiropractic Association by Environics Research Group in April 2003. The national survey of 1,500 adult Canadians aged 18+ included 1,062 Canadian adults who have experienced back pain in the past 24 months and is representative of the age, sex and regional distribution of the Canadian population. The survey is accurate +/- 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Spokes of Chiropractic Progress (2003)

Why do 26 million Americans go to doctors of chiropractic each year? While some in the medical community can't answer that question-or don't care to know the answer-the facts are there: about 50 percent of working-age people have back pain each year, and back symptoms are the most common cause of disability for people under the age of 45. The result is billions of dollars in lost productivity. Surgery and drugs only add to those costs, as well as the duration of disability, but chiropractic can reduce costs and increase productivity by helping people get back to work sooner.

Utilization, Cost, and Effects Care on Medicare Program Costs (2001)

This study examines the utilization, cost, and effects of Chiropractic services on Medicare program costs. In the course of this investigation, service utilization and program payments for Medicare beneficiaries who were treated by Doctors of Chiropractic are compared with similar data for beneficiaries treated by other provider types.

The results strongly suggest that Chiropractic care significantly reduces per beneficiary costs to the Medicare program. The results also suggest that Chiropractic services could play a role in reducing costs of Medicare reform and/or a new prescription drug benefit.

RAND Study (2001)

Changing Views of Chiropractic . . . and a National Reappraisal of Nontraditional Health Care

For half a century, the American Medical Association waged war against chiropractic, an intervention that relies on spinal adjustments to treat health problems. Chiropractors were regarded as the modern-day equivalent of snake-oil salesmen.

Today, chiropractors are the third largest group of health care providers, after physicians and dentists, who treat patients directly. AMA policy now states that it is ethical for physicians not only to associate professionally with chiropractors but also to refer patients to them for diagnostic or therapeutic services.

Manga Report (1998)

This is a special report written for the OCA in its continuing dialogue with the Ministry of Health of Ontario which, like all provinces in Canada, is considering major health care reform. The principal conclusion of the report is that greater OHIP coverage of chiropractic services is part of the solution to a set of three interrelated problems:

  • (a) high health care costs for neuromusculoskeletal conditions and injuries
  • (b) inadequate and inequitable access to such services
  • (c) poor or worrisome health outcomes of medically managed neuromusculoskeletal diseases, illnesses or injuries.

Greater chiropractic coverage under public health insurance plans can improve health outcomes, significantly reduce health care costs, and improve accessibility to needed health services on the part of several socio-economic groups who under the current OHIP coverage do not have adequate access to care.

Manga Report (1993)

In 1993, the Ontario Ministry of Health funded a Canadian research project to study if chiropractic could help lower the costs of work-related injuries or improve the rehabilitation of disabled or injured workers.

This study specifically explored the effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back pain. Based on a historical review of the most significant clinical studies, the panel of researchers concluded that the approaches employed by chiropractic are the most effective forms of treatment. In fact, they found that much of the treatment not practiced by chiropractors had questionable value.

"Very Persuasive Evidence"

Besides revealing that chiropractic patients were able to return to work more quickly than those who received traditional treatment, chiropractic patients reported a high level of satisfaction with their care.

One of the most persuasive findings was the issue of safety. The study concluded that chiropractic care is safer than medical management of low back pain.

HQCA Survey 2006

Chiropractic care is identified among the highest scoring services in Alberta.

According to the 2006 Health Quality Council of Alberta Survey, chiropractic received a 90% overall satisfaction rate with over 67% of respondents indicating extreme satisfaction.

Respondents also indicated an overwhelming 95% satisfaction rating with regards to ease of access to chiropractic care.

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