Objective: The objective of this study was to compare patients' perspectives on the use of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) compared to prescription drug therapy (PDT) with regard to health-related quality of life (HRQoL), patient beliefs, and satisfaction with treatment.
Methods: Four cohorts of Medicare beneficiaries were assembled according to previous treatment received as evidenced in claims data: SMT, PDT, and 2 crossover cohorts (where participants experienced both types of treatments). A total of 195 Medicare beneficiaries responded to the survey. Outcome measures used were a 0-to-10 numeric rating scale to measure satisfaction, the Low Back Pain Treatment Beliefs Questionnaire to measure patient beliefs, and the 12-item Short Form Health Survey to measure HRQoL.
Results: Recipients of SMT were more likely to be very satisfied with their care (84%) than recipients of PDT (50%; P = .002). The SMT cohort self-reported significantly higher HRQoL compared to the PDT cohort; mean differences in physical and mental health scores on the 12-item Short Form Health Survey were 12.85 and 9.92, respectively. The SMT cohort had a lower degree of concern regarding chiropractic care for their back pain compared to the PDT cohort's reported concern about PDT (P = .03).
Conclusion: Among older Medicare beneficiaries with chronic low back pain, long-term recipients of SMT had higher self-reported rates of HRQoL and greater satisfaction with their modality of care than long-term recipients of PDT. Participants who had longer-term management of care were more likely to have positive attitudes and beliefs toward the mode of care they received.
Author keywords: Manipulation, Spinal; Analgesics, Opiod; Prescription Drugs; Low Back Pain; Medicare
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