Index to Chiropractic Literature
Index to Chiropractic Literature
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ID 20330
  Title Colorado workers' compensation: Medical vs chiropractic costs for the treatment of low back pain
Journal J Chiropr Med. 2008 Dec;7(4):127-133
Peer Review Yes
Publication Type Article
Abstract/Notes Objective: Low back disorders (LBDs) are the most common complaint among workers; therefore, many questions arise about cost-effective treatment approaches. This investigation evaluated the differences in cost-related factors among a population of patients selecting chiropractic vs allopathic care for the treatment of nonspecific LBDs. The study hypothesis was that chiropractic care would be more cost-effective or equivalent to allopathic care for the noncomplicated LBDs.

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.

This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; click on the above link for free full text through PubMed Central.

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