The Impact of Chiropractic Care On Health
Why Maintenance Care Makes Sense

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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A Chiro.Org Editorial

Coulter and researchers at the RAND Corporation [1] performed an analysis of an insurance database, comparing persons receiving chiropractic care with non-chiropractic patients. The study consisted of senior citizens >75 years of age.

Recipients of chiropractic care reported better overall health, spent fewer days in hospitals and nursing homes, used fewer prescription drugs, and were more active than the non-chiropractic patients.

As part of a comprehensive geriatric assessment program, the RAND Corporation studied a subpopulation of patients who were under chiropractic care compared to those who were not and found that the individuals under continuing chiropractic care were:

  • Free from the use of a nursing home     [95.7% vs 80.8%];
  • Free from hospitalizations for the past 23 years     [73.9% vs 52.4%];
  • More likely to report a better health status;
  • More likely to exercise vigorously;
  • More likely to be mobile in the community     [69.6% vs 46.8%].

Although it is impossible to clearly establish causality, it is also reasonably clear that continuing chiropractic care is among the attributes of the cohort of patients experiencing substantially fewer costly healthcare interventions.

In another study, Van Breda et al [2] interviewed 200 pediatricians and 200 chiropractors, to determine what, if any, differences were to be found in the health status of their respective children, because their families were being raised with 2 very different health care models.

He found that there is a “definite correlation between chiropractic care and superior health.”   In fact, this study “showed that children raised under chiropractic care are less prone to infectious processes such as otitis media and tonsillitis, and that their immune systems are better able to cope with allergens, such as pollen, weeds, grasses, etc. compared to children raised under allopathic care.   There is also a significant decreased history of antibiotic use among the ‘Chiropractic’ children, indicating a lower susceptibility to bacterial infections, as a result of their greater immune system response.”

The authors found that:

  1. There is a “definite correlation between chiropractic care and superior health.”

  2. 69% of the chiropractic children never experienced otitis media, compared to 80% of medical children who did.   That is a reduction of 258% between groups!

  3. There is a significant decreased history of antibiotic use among the chiropractic children, “indicating a lower susceptibility to bacterial infections as a result of greater immune system response.”

The following chart is quite revealing:

Review the Abstract from this study:

Two hundred pediatricians and two hundred chiropractors that were selected were surveyed to determine what, if any, differences were to be found in the health status of their respective children as raised under the different health care models. With usable responses of 35% from the chiropractors and 36% from the pediatricians, analysis of the results indicates a definite correlation between chiropractic care and superior health. While the 'medical' children had a history of fewer childhood diseases, they also had received a considerably higher percentage of childhood immunizations (94%), as compared to the 'chiropractic' children (25%). The 'chiropractic' children showed a 69% otitis media free response, while the 'medical' children only had a 20% otitis media free response. Pediatricians were more likely to feel that every child would have been on a course of antibiotics at least once, and some suggested that almost 100% of children suffer from otitis media, whereas many chiropractors reported that their children had never been on antibiotics, and the occurrence of infectious diseases was significantly less among the latter sample. The results of the study confirm the benefits of the chiropractic model of health care on the health status of children.

Another, more recent study is unique, because it was conducted by researchers at the Center for Disability Research at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety (University of Massachusetts) and the Center for Health Economics & Science Policy at United BioSource Corporation, London, United Kingdom. [3]

Their objective was to compare the occurrences of repeated disability episodes between different 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), or
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 Physical Therapists (PT), rather than from a chiropractor.

And, you are also 60% more likely to be disabled if you choose a Physicians (MD) to manage your care, rather than a chiropractor.

The authors concluded that:

“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.”


  1. Coulter ID, Hurwitz EL, Aronow HU, Cassata DM, Beck JC.
    Chiropractic Patients in a Comprehensive Home-Based Geriatric Assessment, Follow-up
    and Health Promotion Program

    Topics In Clinical Chiropractic 1996 (Jun): 3 (2): 46–55

  2. A Comparative Study of the Health Status of Children Raised Under the Health Care Models of
    Chiropractic and Allopathic Medicine

    Journal of Chiropractic Research 1989;   5 (Summer):   101–103

  3. Cifuentes M, Willetts J, Wasiak R.
    Health Maintenance Care in Work-Related Low Back Pain and Its Association With Disability Recurrence
    J Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011 (Apr); 53 (4): 396–404


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