Kaiser, Chiropractic, and Chronic Neck Pain
A Chiro.Org Editorial
I’m not enrolled in any of the Kaiser provider panels, so I have no vested interest in challenging their actions, but any time one Insurance Company explores a novel new way to reduce their costs, there’s always the chance that others will follow. Because Kaiser opened the conversation, asking whether chiropractic care actually provides benefits for those with neck pain, I draw your attention to the research we have gathered.
The Chiropractic and Chronic Neck Pain page contains numerous articles about the etiology of neck pain, as well as gathering many clinical trials, which have demonstrated the power of chiropractic management for neck pain.
The first study I’d like to draw your attention to is a paper published in the Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (2005). Although this study is not specific to neck pain per-se, the results, published by several M.D.s and a Ph.D. from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine is still most interesting.
Questionnaires were given to several hundred recruited patients who experienced severe neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) pain. The researchers used a broad selection of assessment tools, including Pain presence or absence, pain severity, pain quality (Neuropathic Pain Scale), pain interference (Brief Pain Inventory), pain site, quality of life (Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey [SF-36]), and the form of pain treatment used by the patient.
The following table tabulates the type of treatment each patient used, followed by the average pain relief they experienced from that treatment. It’s rated on a classical 1-10 scale, with 1 meaning little or no relief, and 10 suggesting complete pain relief. The results are quite staggering:
It may be uncomfortable for organized medicine to swallow, but this study revealed that chiropractic care was more effective for pain relief than nerve blocks, opioid analgesics , muscle relaxants, physical therapy, or acetaminophen (in that order). That’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?
I have tremendous respect for these authors because, even though the results were not very complementary to standard medical treatment (pain pills, muscle relaxants and physical therapy), they published the article anyway. Who can say how many similar studies were never published because they contained similar findings?
I hope you will spend some time reviewing the materials on the Chiropractic and Chronic Neck Pain page. If you know of other studies that we failed to include on this page, please e-mail me at Frankp@chiro.org so I can correct the oversight.