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Why Choose Chiropractic?

Safe & Effective

When choosing a type of treatment for any health problem, the most important factors are the safety of the treatment and the effectiveness of the treatment. Chiropractic has been shown in the medical research to be both safe and effective. Click the tabs below to read more about the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic treatment.

  • Safe
  • Effective

Chiropractic treatments are extremely safe for people of all ages. Unfortunately, some critics of chiropractic care have attempted to manipulate the public into thinking chiropractic treatments are dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chiropractic treatments are among some of the safest treatments used in the health care field.

Read what Canadian researchers stated after performing the largest analysis of scientific literature on the most effective and cost effective treatments for low back pain:

"Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction."

The Manga Report

"There is no clinical or case-control study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low back pain. Some medical treatments are equally safe, but others are unsafe and generate iatrogenic (doctor-induced) complications for low back pain patients. Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain."

"Indeed, several existing medical therapies of low back pain are generally contraindicated on the basis of the existing clinical trials. There is also some evidence in the literature to suggest that spinal manipulations are less safe and less effective when performed by nonchiropractic professionals"

"Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction."

  1. The Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain (The Manga Report). Pran Manga and Associates (1993) - University of Ottawa, Canada.

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The Agency on Health Care Policy and Research Study

On December 8, 1994, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the US Department of Health and Human Services released Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of acute low back pain. Their guidelines were developed after extensive study of diagnostic and treatment methods for acute low back pain.

The guidelines were created by the AHCPR panel to provide primary care clinicians with information and recommended strategies for the assessment and treatment of acute low back problems. The AHCPR panel was made up of 23 members consisting of medical doctors, chiropractic doctors, nurses, experts in spinal research, physical therapists, an occupational therapist, a psychologist, and a consumer representative.

Their findings included:

  • The risk of serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare;
  • Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention;
  • Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressant medications and colchicine are not recommended for acute low back problems.
  1. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Bigos S, et al. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Publication No. 950642 (1994) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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The New Zealand Commission Report

The government of New Zealand published a 377 page report which assessed the efficacy and safety of chiropractic care. The report was a result of almost 2 years of conducted hearings from recognized health care experts.

Their principal findings included:

"Chiropractors are the only health practitioners who are necessarily equipped by their education and training to carry out spinal manual therapy (spinal adjustments)."

"Chiropractors carry out spinal diagnosis and therapy at a sophisticated and refined level."

"Spinal manual therapy in the hands of a registered chiropractor is safe."

"The duration and training of a registered chiropractor are sufficient to enable him/her to determine whether there are contraindications to spinal manual therapy in a particular case, and whether that patient should have medical care instead of, or as well as, chiropractic care."

  1. New Zealand Report. Hasselberg PD. Government Printer, Wellington - 1979.

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Chiropractic treatment continues to demonstrate effectiveness in medical study after medical study. Here are just a few of the reports confirming the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment.

"Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction."

Chiropractic "Only Proven Effective Treatment" for Chronic Whiplash
Study Says 74% of Chronic Whiplash Patients Improved with Chiropractic

A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine1 not only points out the superiority of chiropractic care for chronic whiplash patients, but also examines which chronic whiplash patients respond best to chiropractic care. The authors begin the paper by explaining that:

"Conventional treatment of patients with whiplash symptoms is disappointing."

"A retrospective study by Woodward et al., demonstrated that chiropractic treatment benefited 26 of 28 patients suffering from chronic whiplash syndrome."2

The question was not whether chiropractic was beneficial for acute whiplash patients, but to determine "which patients with chronic whiplash will benefit from chiropractic treatment."
The authors interviewed "100 consecutive chiropractic referrals for chronic whiplash symptoms," seven of which were "lost to follow up." They were able to divide the remaining 93 patients into three symptom groups:

Group 1: patients with "neck pain radiating in a 'coat hanger' distribution, associated with restricted range of neck movement but with no neurological deficit";

Group 2: patients with "neurological symptoms, signs or both in association with neck pain and a restricted range of neck movement";

Group 3: patients who described "severe neck pain but all of whom has a full range of motion and no neurological symptoms or signs distributed over specific myotomes or dermatomes." These patients also "described an unusual complex of symptoms," including "blackouts, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting and chest pain, along with a nondermatomal distribution of pain."

The patients underwent an average of 19.3 adjustments over the course of 4.1 months (mean). The patients were then surveyed and their improvement reported as follows:

Group 1
24% - Asymptomatic
24% - Improved by Two Symptom Grades
24% - Improved by One Symptom Grade
28% - No Improvement

Group 2
38% - Asymptomatic
43% - Improved by Two Symptom Grades
13% - Improved by One Symptom Grade
6% - No Improvement

Group 3
0% - Asymptomatic
9% - Improved by Two Symptoms Grades
18% - Improved by One Symptoms Grade
64% - No Improvement
9% - Got Worse

In their discussion, the authors made these observations:

"Woodward, et al.,2 found improvement in chronic symptoms in 26 of 28 patients (93%) following chiropractic treatment. Our results confirm the efficacy of chiropractic, with 69 of our 93 patients (74%) improving following treatment."

"Our study suggests that such a group of nonresponders does exist, represented by group 3. The defining characteristics of patients in this group were the full range of neck movement in association with neck pain, bizarre symptoms, female sex and ongoing litigation. The mean age of the group at 29.5 (16-43) was lower than that of the other two groups (mean 36.8, range 18-65)."

"The results from this study provide further evidence that chiropractic is an effective treatment for chronic whiplash symptoms. However, our identification of a group of patients who fail to respond to such treatment, highlights the need for a careful history and physical examination before commencing treatment."

References

  1. Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, Bannister G. A symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment. Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-25.
  2. Woodward MN, Cook JCH, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Chiropractic treatment of chronic whiplash injuries. Injury 1996;27:643-645.

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The Manga Report

The Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned Manga Report represents the largest analysis of scientific literature on the most effective and cost effective treatments for low back pain. After reviewing all of the international evidence on the management of low back pain, lead investigator Pran Manga, Ph.D., found the treatments provided by Doctors of Chiropractic were exceptionally safe - much safer than for standard medical treatments of similar conditions.

"There is no clinical or case-control study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low back pain. Some medical treatments are equally safe, but others are unsafe and generate iatrogenic (doctor-induced) complications for low back pain patients. Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain."

"Indeed, several existing medical therapies of low back pain are generally contraindicated on the basis of the existing clinical trials. There is also some evidence in the literature to suggest that spinal manipulations are less safe and less effective when performed by nonchiropractic professionals"

"Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction."

  1. The Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain (The Manga Report). Pran Manga and Associates (1993) - University of Ottawa, Canada.

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The Agency on Health Care Policy and Research Study

On December 8, 1994, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the US Department of Health and Human Services released Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of acute low back pain. Their guidelines were developed after extensive study of diagnostic and treatment methods for acute low back pain.

The guidelines were created by the AHCPR panel to provide primary care clinicians with information and recommended strategies for the assessment and treatment of acute low back problems. The AHCPR panel was made up of 23 members consisting of medical doctors, chiropractic doctors, nurses, experts in spinal research, physical therapists, an occupational therapist, a psychologist, and a consumer representative.

Their findings included:

  • The risk of serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare;
  • Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention;
  • Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressant medications and colchicine are not recommended for acute low back problems.
  1. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Bigos S, et al. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Publication No. 950642 (1994) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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The New Zealand Commission Report

The government of New Zealand published a 377 page report which assessed the efficacy and safety of chiropractic care. The report was a result of almost 2 years of conducted hearings from recognized health care experts.

Their principal findings included:

"Chiropractors are the only health practitioners who are necessarily equipped by their education and training to carry out spinal manual therapy (spinal adjustments)."

"Chiropractors carry out spinal diagnosis and therapy at a sophisticated and refined level."

"Spinal manual therapy in the hands of a registered chiropractor is safe."

"The duration and training of a registered chiropractor are sufficient to enable him/her to determine whether there are contraindications to spinal manual therapy in a particular case, and whether that patient should have medical care instead of, or as well as, chiropractic care."

  1. New Zealand Report. Hasselberg PD. Government Printer, Wellington - 1979.

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Chronic Low Back Pain Study

This study has shown chiropractic to be more cost-effective than medical treatment when it comes to chronic low back pain. The study was published in October 2005 by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

The Significance of the Study
The study reveals that while both treatment types cost about the same, the chiropractic care resulted in better outcomes for patients. These outcomes were measured in terms of:

  • pain relief
  • satisfaction with care
  • disability scores.
A significant factor of this study is that it is the first time treatment costs and their associated outcomes for low back care have been compared within the U.S. health care system.

The study looked at 2780 patients who made their own choice to see either a chiropractor or a medical doctor for their pain. The patients were studied both 3 months and 1 year after their first visit to their chosen doctor.

Treatment Methods
At the medical doctor's, patients were given:
  • prescription drugs
  • an exercise program
  • self-care advice
  • a referral to physical therapy, as necessary (25% of patients).
At the chiropractor's, patients were given:
  • spinal manipulation
  • physical therapy modalities
  • exercise
  • patient education.

Findings
The study found that although office visit costs were higher for chiropractic treatment, total costs of chiropractic care per patient were 16% lower than for medical care. Total care included the office visits, plus diagnostic imaging and physical therapy. This study did not account for any over-the-counter meds, surgery or visits to the hospital that may have been associated with the cases. The study also showed that patients with chronic pain derived more benefit than those with acute pain from the chiropractic treatments. It also revealed that acute care patients who sought out a chiropractor enjoyed healthier physical outcomes than acute care patients of medical doctors.

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