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New LBP Study Reveals Chiropractic Is Superior to PT and MD Care

New LBP Study Reveals Chiropractic Is Superior to PT and MD Care

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011 (Mar 14)

Cifuentes M, Willetts J, Wasiak R.

From the Center for Disability Research at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety (Dr Cifuentes and Ms Willetts) and University of Massachusetts Lowell (Dr Cifuentes), Hopkinton, Mass; and Center for Health Economics & Science Policy at United BioSource Corporation, London, United Kingdom (Dr Wasiak)


This study is unique in that it was conducted by the Center for Disability Research at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Hopkinton, Mass; and the Center for Health Economics & Science Policy at United BioSource Corporation, London, United Kingdom.

Their objective was to compare the occurrences of repeated disability episodes between types of health care providers, who treat claimants with new episodes of work-related low back pain (LBP). They followed 894 patients over 1-year, using workers’ compensation claims data.

By controlling for demographics and severity, they determined the hazard ratio (HR) for disability recurrence between 3 types of providers:
Physical Therapists (PT),
Physicians (MD), and
Chiropractors (DC).

The results are quite interesting:

  • For PTs: HR = 2.0
  • For MDs: HR = 1.6
  • For DCs: HR = 1.0


Statistically, this means you are twice as likely to end up disabled if you got your care from a PT, rather than from a DC!


You’re also 60% more likely to be disabled if you choose an MD to manage your care, rather than a DC.


The authors concluded:In work-related nonspecific LBP, the use of health maintenance care provided by physical therapist or physician services was associated with a higher disability recurrence than with chiropractic services or no treatment.”

Isn’t that a mouthful???

3 comments to New LBP Study Reveals Chiropractic Is Superior to PT and MD Care

  • Maine Chiropractor

    It’s nice to have research validate what we already know to be true. I can’t tell you how many patients I have who were injured by another provider.

  • Amit

    Hi Frank,

    Your website is excellent. I have been following it for some time and the papers you post are very informative. Just wanted to say keep up the good work!

    RESPONSE:

    Thanks Amit!

  • I work at a WC clinic part time, and would have to say, some of the PT exercises given are VERY bad for unstable SIJ or hot facets….and the pts tell me they love the work I do with them. Glad to see this info coming out. How can we use this to push for more inclusion in WC arena?


    RESPONSE from Frank:

    Aye, there’s the rub! I also see patients who decline with aggressive PT care. It does NOT make sense to excersise an inflammed joint. You don’t run on a sprained ankle, do you? Most patients do not require exercises once adjusting has calmed their facet joints, unless their job demands or sport activities were a primary cause of the facet injury and they show poor core stabilization.

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