How Do MDs View Chiropractic?

In the mid-1980s, a political event spurred a change regarding the medical community’s outward disrespect of chiropractors when the AMA (American Medical Association) was sued for anti-trust violations and the chiropractors won!

For the first time, the public, open anti-chiropractic slander that appeared on billboards, in magazine articles, and in TV/radio advertisements against the chiropractic profession was prohibited.

In fact, prior to this, it was against the AMA by-laws for a Medical Doctor (MD) to publicly socialize with a chiropractor! This all seems pretty extreme but was truly occurring prior to the mid-1980s… BUT NOT ANYMORE!

In 1994, the United Kingdom and the United States almost simultaneously published official guidelines for the treatment of acute low back pain.

BOTH DOCUMENTS REPORTED THE USE OF SPINAL MANIPULATION, A PRIMARY FORM OF CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT, AS A FIRST CHOICE IN THE TREATMENT FOR ACUTE LOW BACK PAIN.

Now, for the first time, a non-chiropractic group had recommended chiropractic based on researched data that overwhelmingly supported spinal manipulation as an effective, safe, and less expensive form of care when compared to all the other treatment approaches that the healthcare consumer can choose from.

Research has continued to pour in and recently, similar recommendations were made in the treatment of chronic low back pain. Also, when reviewing the research pool, continued support of the 1994 guidelines for acute low back pain was again found to be valid with little change required.back-pain-lg[1]

According to the published guidelines, ALL patients with acute AND chronic low back pain should see chiropractors FIRST.

If this guideline was followed by everyone, there would be such a shortage of chiropractors, it would become one of the most desirable professions to seek vocationally.

Unfortunately, many MDs do not know enough about chiropractic to strongly recommend it to their inquiring patients. That is why our office goes out of its way to educate MDs in our community about the benefits of Chiropractic care.

Also, some programs at medical schools are now including “alternative medicine” courses in the curriculum of the undergraduate MD programs and, rotations in alternative or complimentary health services currently offered at some university / hospital settings as a post-graduate option.

This is reflected by an increasing population of MDs who actively seek out chiropractors to work with when their patients present with conditions like acute or chronic low back pain, neck pain, and/or headaches.

The MD/DC relationship is truly improving as noted by the inclusion of chiropractic into hospital programs, integration into the military bases and VA hospitals, routine coverage by most insurance companies, etc.

So rest assured, you’ve made a smart decision to choose Chiropractic care.

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What Type of Doctor Should You See For Acute or Chronic Back Pain?

Have you ever considered which type of doctor is best suited to treat back pain?

Since there are so many treatment options available today, it is quite challenging to make this decision without a little help.

To facilitate, a study looking at this very question compared the effectiveness between medical and chiropractic intervention.

 

Over a four-year time frame, researchers followed 2,780 low back pain patients who were treated using conventional approaches by both MDs (Medical Doctors) and DCs (Doctors of Chiropractic).

Chiropractic treatments included spinal manipulation, physical therapy, an exercise plan, and self-care education.

Medical therapies included prescription drugs, an exercise plan, self-care advice, and about 25% of the patients received physical therapy.

The study focused on present pain severity and functional disability (activity interference) measured by questionnaires mailed to the patients.

The authors of the study reported that chiropractic was favored over medical treatment in the following areas:

  • pain relief in the first 12 months (more evident in the chronic patients);
  • when LBP pain radiated below the knee (more evident in the chronic patients);
  • chronic LBP patients with no leg pain (during the first 3 months)

Similar trends favoring chiropractic were observed in regards to disability but they were of smaller magnitude.

All patient groups saw significant improvement in both pain and disability over the four-year study period.

Acute patients saw the greatest degree of improvement with many achieving symptom relief after three months of care.

This study also found early intervention reduced chronic pain and, at year three, those acute LBP patients who received early intervention reported fewer days of LBP than those who waited longer for treatment.

While both MD and DC treatment approaches helped, it’s quite clear from the information reported that chiropractic should be utilized first.

These findings support the importance of early intervention by chiropractic physicians and make the most sense for those of you struggling with the question of who to see for your LBP.

Chiropractic Care… Safe and Cost Effective

“Ever since I was in my early teens, I’ve had muscle and joint problems that would come and go but never put me down where I couldn’t function. I was very active and played basketball, tennis, and ran in track but over the last 10 years I’ve avoided a lot of activity due to my problems. Now, after having a couple of children and gaining some weight, I notice more frequent and intense back problems and I’m getting quite concerned over the changes that have been taking place and afraid to do things. I talked about this with my family and friends and some have recommended chiropractic, some recommend physical therapy, others suggest medication and one even suggested shots! Quite frankly, I’m totally confused as to what to do!”

This scenario may sound familiar to many people.

lower-back-pain-s1-factsThe choice of health care provision is a personal one, often influenced by those around you – family, friends, teachers, and more!

It seems like everyone is an “expert” with different opinions and their advice, often conflicting, can lead to confusion about what is best for you.

There are many ways to approach back trouble, regardless of the diagnosis or condition.

First, all health care providers are biased in that they naturally focus on their specialty. If you choose to consult with a surgeon, s/he will look at your condition from a surgical perspective. Various surgical options may be discussed, tests are usually recommended and the process begins.

When consulting with a family physician, the typical approach is pharmaceutical or drugs such as anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Nuprin, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Aleve, Tylenol, etc.), heat or ice, activity modifications (possibly rest or mild/moderate activity), and possibly referral for chiropractic or physical therapy.

In reviewing the various guidelines, it is recommended to start with the least invasive, safest, most cost effective approaches first.

Unless “red flags” like cancer, fracture, infection or progressive severe neurological losses are present, surgery is not a logical initial approach.

Chiropractic has been recommended as a first or initial choice as it has been found to be safe, highly satisfying, non-invasive, and cost effective.

The typical approach includes a thorough history, an examination that includes an analysis of posture, motion, function and includes the whole body.

For example, if one leg is short, the pelvis will tilt and spine is often crooked. That needs to be corrected for both long and short term results.

If the feet pronate and the arches are flat, the effects on gait/walking on the ankle, knee, hip and back can lead to trouble or perpetuate current problems.

Deconditioning or, being out of shape is an important aspect included in the chiropractic management process.

If these methods fail to bring about satisfying results, referral for more invasive approaches will be considered.