Doctors' Choice Physical Medicine

Low Back Pain… Save Yourself Some Cash

Chiropractic Can Save You Cash

A new study finds that care for low-back pain initiated with a doctor of chiropractic saves 40 percent on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a medical doctor. The study, featuring data from 85,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield beneficiaries, concludes 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

Published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, the new study, “Cost of Care for Common Back Pain Conditions Initiated With Chiropractic Doctor vs. Medical Doctor/Doctor of Osteopathy as First Physician: Experience of One Tennessee-Based General Health Insurer,” looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s intermediate and large group fully insured population over a two-year span. The insured 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.

Results show that paid costs for episodes of care initiated by a chiroporactor were almost 40 percent less than care initiated through an MD. After risk-adjusting each patient’s costs, researchers still found significant savings in the chiropractic group. They estimated that allowing  chiropractic initiated episodes of care would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million for BCBS of Tennessee.

What This Low Back Pain Study Means To You

Very simply, if you are going to receive treatment for your low back pain start with a doctor of chiropractic.  Since costs are less, if you have copays, you will have less copays to pay.

There are other benefits to starting treatment with a chiropractor.  Consumers Report found that treatment from chiropractors also had the highest level of patient satisfaction.