Chiropractic Versus Medical Treatment For Musculoskeletal Pain

When you are experiencing pain in your spine, hips or shoulders, your first instinct is to do whatever it takes to get out of pain. You may reach for ibuprofen or call a doctor. Before you do either of these things, consider making an appointment with a Denver chiropractor.

How A Chiropractor Treats Pain Differently Than a Medical Doctor

Chiropractic seeks to unburden your spine from subluxations that are cutting off the flow of energy in your spine. Misalignments interfere with the proper functioning of the nerves. Depending on where the misalignment is in the spine, it can cause anything from headaches to asthma to sciatica, but for now, we’ll focus on musculoskeletal pain caused by subluxations.

Traditional Medicine will often treat the symptom of the pain with anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers. In more severe cases, they may prescribe surgery.

So how does chiropractic stack up against traditional medicine in treating musculoskeletal pain?

A study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics identified the differences in outcomes, patient satisfaction, and related health care costs in patients with spinal hip and shoulder pain when they initiated care with an MD as opposed to seeing a chiropractor.

The study included 403 patients who initially went to a medical doctor for their pain and 316 patients who first went to a chiropractor for the same areas of musculoskeletal pain. The patients who first consulted doctors not only had less reduction in their pain but they also were less likely to be satisfied with the care they received as well as the results of that care. The costs associated with the doctor visit versus the chiropractor were significantly higher as well. On average, patients who sought treatment by the chiropractor first paid on average $368 less than those who first consulted a traditional doctor.

The study concluded that “patients with spinal, hip, and shoulder pain had greater satisfaction levels as well as lower overall cost if they if they initiated care with chiropractors compared to those who first initiated care with MDs.”

First-Contact Care With a Medical vs Chiropractic Provider After Consultation With a Swiss Telemedicine Provider: Comparison of Outcomes, Patient Satisfaction, and Health Care Costs in Spinal, Hip, and Shoulder Pain Patients by Taco A.W. Houweling, DC, MRes, PhD, Andrea V. Braga, MD, MBA, Thomas Hausheer, DC, Marco Vogelsang, DC, Cynthia Peterson, RN, DC, MMedEd, PhD, B. Kim Humphreys, DC, PhD DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2015.06.015

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