Methods: Cases were extracted from an insurance company database of patients reporting work-related low back injuries who were treated with either chiropractic or allopathic approaches. Cases were matched using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes 722 (intervertebral disk disorders), 724 (other and unspecified disorders of the back), and 847 (sprains and strains of other and unspecified parts). The data set included 76 chiropractic cases and 2386 medical cases.
Results: The total amount paid by the insurance company was 1.7 times higher for patients treated by doctors of chiropractic (DCs) compared with those treated by medical doctors (MDs), and the cost of clinical treatment was 3.3 times higher for the DCs than MDs.
Conclusion: The cost for treatment by DCs was greater than that of MDs for similarly classified conditions affecting the low back. The amount paid by the insurance company was primarily related to the number of services given by each provider.
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