A study of Worker's Compensation Board Case data was conducted to ascertain comparative cost and effectiveness of chiropractic and non-surgical medical treatment of low-back injuries. Selected for the study were 227 patients (113 patients had been attended by chiropractic physicians and 114 patients by medical physicians) ranging in age from 16 to 67 years. Analysis of the data indicated a significant reduction in costs and time loss from work and, therefore, increased effectiveness of chiropractic treatment as compared to medical treatment of similar low-back injuries. This reduction was attributed to several factors: 1) chiropractic patients were more often treated by one physician as opposed to medical patients who were more often treated by two or more physicians; 2) length of treatment and initial to final diagnosis were significantly less for chiropractic patients; and 3) chiropractic patients did not incur other hospital costs as medical patients did. Total hospital costs were not used in the determination of medical costs. The reduction in the costs and time loss from work were also evident when those patients with or without prior injury were compared separately.
Author keywords: low-back injuries, worker's compensation, medical care, chiropractic care
Author affiliations: BWB: Director, Center for Lifelong Recreation and Athletics, Warener Pacific College, Portland, Oregon; AJC: Private chiropractic practice; Postgraduate Faculty, National College of Chiropractic, Lombard, Illinois
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