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 Chiropractic: Chiropractic: An Alternative Healing Art Enters The Mainstream 

Additional developments include: An Australian study showed that patients who were treated by chiropractors lost four times fewer work days from low-back pain than those treated by medical doctors.[14]

A cost-comparison study in the Journal of Occupational Medicine demonstrated that the compensation costs for lost work time were ten times as high for those receiving standard, non-surgical medical care than for those who were treated by chiropractors.[15]

A study of Florida workerâs compensation cases indicated that patients receiving chiropractic care were temporarily disabled for half the length of time, were hospitalized at less than half the rate, and accrued bills less than half as high as patients receiving medical care for similar conditions.[16]

Preliminary results of a study on headaches showed spinal manipulation to be more effective than prescription medication for long-term pain relief. The chiropractic patients maintained their levels of improvement, while those treated with medication returned to their pre-treatment status in an average of four weeks after completion of treatment.[17]

The North American Spine Society (an interdisciplinary body consisting of expert practitioners and academics from the medical, osteopathic and chiropractic professions) rated spinal manipulative therapy in Category I, the highest rating, for treatment of lower back pain. Chiropractic adjustments were described as generally accepted, well-established, and widely used.[18]

AV MED, the largest health maintenance organization (HMO) in the Southeastern United States sent 100 medically unresponsive patients to a chiropractor. Eighty-six percent of this group were helped. As a result of two to three weeks of chiropractic care, all 12 patients medically diagnosed as needing disc surgery were able to avoid surgery, saving AV MED $250,000, and sparing the patients the risks and consequences of unnecessary surgery.[19]

A study published in the Western Journal of Medicine in 1989 found that chiropractic patients were more satisfied with their care than back pain patients of family practice physicians by a ratio of three to one. Interestingly, initial discussion of this study in medical journals generally assumed that the greater satisfaction rates among chiropractic patients were due entirely to allegedly superior doctor-patient relationships on the part of chiropractors. Left out of the analysis for the most part was the possibility that the difference may have been due in large measure to the greater effectiveness of chiropractic treatment methods. In fact, chiropractic manipulation has been shown to be far more effective than the bed rest and prescription medications routinely prescribed by family practice physicians and general practitioners for back and neck pain, as shown in the study that follows.[20]

A clinical trial found that bed rest plus nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (which together form the standard method with which family practice physicians and general practitioners treat low back pain) brought results worse than a placebo treatment.[21] This is particularly problematic in light of the fact that more people initially go to these primary care doctors for low back pain than to any other type of practitioner. Chiropractic treatment for lower back pain has been shown in many studies to be significantly superior to a placebo, and no reputable study has ever shown it to be worse than a placebo.

The November 1992 issue of Journal of Family Practice, the major journal for family practice physicians in the United States, included three strongly pro-chiropractic articles, which urged readers to "re-evaluate chiropractic" and "reconsider referrals to chiropractors for musculoskeletal problems." The first paper was co-authored by Peter Curtis, M.D., of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Geoffrey Bove, D.C., a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the same school. The other two articles were editorials supporting the Curtis-Bove article, one by noted researcher Daniel Cherkin, Ph.D., and the other by three Israeli medical doctors who supported the conclusions of Drs. Curtis and Bove.[22]

A study by the Gallup Organization determined that 90 percent of chiropractic patients rated their treatment as effective, and 80 percent were satisfied with the treatment they received and felt that most of their expectations were met.[23]

Chiropractors and the millions who have benefited from chiropractic care over the years believed all of this to be true from the beginning. Thatâs why they fought so hard for its full acceptance as a legitimate, recognized healing art. Finally, enough objective scientific data now exists to show that their faith in chiropractic was not misplaced.

As scientific research continues to validate the chiropractic approach, the case for full recognition and integration grows stronger year by year. This is the path required of all alternative healing methods seeking to cross the bridge from alternative to mainstream. As each alternative enters the mainstream, the stream itself is forever changed.

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 About The Author
Daniel Redwood DCDaniel Redwood, DC, is a Professor at Cleveland Chiropractic College - Kansas City. He is editor-in-chief of Health Insights Today ( and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the......more
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