Chiropractic Can Help Reduce the Toll of Pain and Prescription Drugs on Nation's Health Care System, Says ACA

New studies showing the staggering costs of headaches, back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions on the country's economy and the skyrocketing effect prescription drugs have on insurance premiums should convince the nation's employers and insurers to more fully integrate chiropractic care into employee health plans, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). A November 12 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that headaches and back pain are leading reasons for lost productivity and absenteeism in the workforce -- costing more than $61 billion each year. And the 2003 Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust, found that higher prescription drug costs are a major factor contributing to increases in health insurance premiums. "Over the years, studies have shown that chiropractic care is effective at treating headaches and back pain and can get workers back on the job more quickly than traditional forms of care," said ACA President Donald J. Krippendorf, DC. "At the same time, chiropractic also helps workers avoid expensive prescription drugs -- making it a perfect fit for employers looking to control health care costs." Back pain and headaches, in particular, are two conditions that doctors of chiropractic have successfully treated for decades -- and several studies have demonstrated chiropractic's effectiveness. Most recently, a study published in the July 15, 2003 issue of the medical journal Spine found that manual manipulation -- the primary form of treatment performed by doctors of chiropractic -- provides better short-term relief of chronic back pain than medication. In 2001, researchers at Duke University found cervical -- or neck -- manipulation appropriate for both tension type headache and cervicogenic headache and noted that "cervical spinal manipulation has a very low risk of serious complications" which may be "one of its appeals over drug treatment." Just a sampling of other studies include: A 1997 study published in Spine found "strong evidence that manipulation is more effective than a placebo treatment for chronic low-back pain or than usual care by the general practitioner, bed rest, analgesics and massage." A 1996 study published in the journal Medical Care found that first contact chiropractic care for common low back conditions costs substantially less than traditional medical treatment and "deserves careful consideration" by managed care executives concerned with controlling health care spending. In 1994, the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research found that "spinal manipulation is effective in reducing pain and perhaps speeding recovery" within the first month of acute low-back pain symptoms. A 1993 study conducted in Canada and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health found that "the overwhelming body of evidence" shows that chiropractic management of low-back pain is more cost-effective than medical management, and that "many medical therapies are of questionable validity or are clearly inadequate." For more information on chiropractic care and research on its effectiveness, visit ACA's Web site at The ACA, based in Arlington, VA, is the largest chiropractic organization in the country. The ACA promotes the highest standards of ethics and patient care, contributing to the health and well being of millions of chiropractic patients.

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