Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic

The Manga Report (51) In 1993, the Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned and funded a study to examine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back pain. The report concluded that there is an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that chiropractic management of low back pain is the most cost-effective, and that there would be highly significant cost savings if more management of low back pain was transferred to chiropractors.

"There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of low-back pain was transferred from physicians to chiropractors... Users of chiropractic care have substantially lower health care costs, especially inpatient costs, than those who use medical care only."

This report also recommended that there should be a shift in policy to encourage chiropractic services for most patients with low back pain and that chiropractic services should be fully insured under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

In The Australian Study (50), This workers’ compensation study  published in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia compared chiropractic and medical management of 1,996 cases of work-related mechanical low back pain. The number of compensation days (paid days off from work) taken by claimants was found to be significantly lower, an average of 6.26 days for chiropractic patients and 25.56 days for medical patients.  The average cost was $392 and for medical management, $1,569, four times greater than chiropractic management.

 Also, in those patients who received chiropractic care there was a significantly lower incidence of progression to a chronic low back pain status.

UK Beam Trial 2004 (52) This study of physical therapy for low back pain shows convincingly that both manipulation alone and manipulation followed by exercise provide cost effective additions to care in general practice. Indeed, as we trained practice teams in the best care of back pain, we may have underestimated the benefit of physical therapy (spinal manipulation) when compared with "usual care" in general practice. The detailed clinical outcomes reported in the accompanying paper reinforce these findings by showing that the improvements in health status reported here reflect statistically significant improvements in function, pain, disability, physical and mental aspects of quality of life, and beliefs about back pain.