Back Pain: Chiropractic vs. Medical Doctors–Who Get Better Results and Who is More Cost Effective?

Back Pain:
Chiropractic vs. Medical Doctors
Who Get Better Results and Who is More Cost Effective?

 Chiropractic Proves 300% more effective
Chiropractic Proves 50% More Cost Effective

 BY: Donald Capoferri DC, DAAMLP
William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

In 2010 a study of back pain patients insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee revealed patients receive nearly 3x better results at almost half the cost when consulting a chiropractor instead of a traditional medical doctor.

Statistics show that back pain, and more specifically lower back pain will affect 70-80% of all Americans.  Back pain is one of the top 10 most costly conditions treated in the United States.  Costs directly associated with examination and treatment are in excess $50 billion dollars per year.  Indirect cost of back pain include lost work day, reduced employee productivity and disability are $47 billion dollars.  That makes the total economic impact of lower back pain in excess of $97 billion dollars per year.

The study was conducted on 85,402 patients, all insured with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.  This insurer was chosen because it provided equal access to both traditional medical and chiropractic care. The population of patients were diagnosed with the following conditions: Spinal disc disorders, Lower back pain, muscle spasms, joint mobility restrictions, Sacroiliac joint sprain/strain and lumbar spine sprain/strain.  The results of the study revealed those patients who initiated care with a chiropractor had a 61% “very satisfied response” when surveyed.  Those patient who initiated care with a medical doctor had a 27% “very satisfied response.” The patients who initiated care with a chiropractor incurred 40% less cost than those choosing traditional medical care.

There is a growing body of evidence indicating that chiropractic care is more effective and less costly than medical care for back pain.  In contrast to this and many other studies indicating the efficacy of chiropractic care for back pain, only 7% of U.S. back pain sufferers consult a chiropractor.  Using the data from this study insurers nationally would realize billions of dollar of savings if the population of back pain patients initiated care with a chiropractor first. 

Insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care at this juncture with statistical evidence, are paying more for care and delaying necessary, effective care for no apparent reason other than politics or prejudice. If all restrictions for chiropractic access were removed carriers would save money and offer a significant public health benefit. The statistics speak for themselves.


Liliedahl R., Finch M., Axene D., Geertz C., (2010) Cost of Care for Common Back Pain Conditions Initiated with Chiropractic Doctor vs. Medical Doctor/Doctor of Osteopathy as First Physician:  Experience of One Tennessee-Based General Health Insure, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 33 (9) pgs. 640-643


Suffering From a Pinched Nerve? Here’s What You Need to Know

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 11.20.13 AMA nerve may become pinched as a result of a vertebral subluxation complex, which is nerd talk for a misaligned spinal bone. When spinal bones misalign, they also cause surrounding tissues that are attached to spinal bones to be stressed (tendons, ligaments, intervertebral disc). Any one of these tissues, or even the edema (fluid) produced to stabilize the misaligned bones, may place pressure on the spinal nerve root. This is what is commonly known as a “pinched nerve”.

The human body has several miles of nerve fiber, but only 18% of those nerves feel pain! Can a nerve be pinched and not be painful or cause noticeable symptoms? YES.

“The nervous system coordinates and controls every function of the human body”- Gray’s Anatomy (the book)

A pinched nerve MAY produce uncomfortable symptoms such as:

  • Muscle weakness/muscle pain
  • Sharp, burning, or aching pain
  • Numbness
  • “Pins and needles” or the “fallen asleep” sensations in arm, hands, legs , or feet
  • Sciatic type pain

However, a pinched nerve may cause no noticeable symptoms and can still lead to dysfunction of the body. This can lead down the path of taking unnecessary medications or having unnecessary surgeries.

Make an appointment for you and your family today at Bright Life Family Chiropractic in Grand Rapids, MI. We utilize state-of-the-art technology to assess the function of your nervous system. A properly functioning nervous system is pivotal to optimal health.

Blog post adapted from:

What You Need to Know About Taking Your Child to a Pediatric Chiropractor

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 11.10.34 AMIf you’ve ever suffered from a health condition, you probably came in to see us at Bright Life Family Chiropractic for help achieving your highest potential for health. If you’re thinking about taking your kids to see a pediatric chiropractor, there are several things you should know before you go.

  • Chiropractic Care is Safe. We see many parents who are concerned about bringing their children to a pediatric chiropractor because they aren’t sure whether it is safe. However, we encourage you to keep in mind that numerous studies have been done about the effectiveness of chiropractic care for children, and it has been found to be completely safe.
  • Chiropractic Care is Beneficial. Taking your child into our office to see a pediatric chiropractor is beneficial for two main reasons. First, regular chiropractic care can help your children grow up into healthy adults. Second, chiropractic care can help your children overcome common childhood conditions like constipation, colic, bed wetting, growing pains, ear infections, and more.
  • Chiropractic Care Should be Received Regularly. How often you bring your children into our office depends on how old they are and their personal situations. For example, if you recently had a baby, we may recommend bringing him or her into our office once every 4-6 weeks. In comparison, if your child is older, we may suggest that you bring him or her in once every 2-4 weeks or more depending on their specific health concerns. In order for chiropractic care to maximally benefit your children, you should plan on making it a regular part of their lives.

Active Vs. Maintenance Care

Road to Recovery

There are two types of chiropractic care:

ACTIVE CARE which includes Relief, Correction and Stabilization of a condition. This care requires frequent visits that reduce in frequency as the patient improves. In addition to the chiropractic adjustments, treatment during this phase of care usually requires additional services such as therapeutic modalities (EMS, IST and ultrasound) as well as physical therapy rehabilitative exercises. A doctor-prescribed treatment plan is necessary during this care phase and treatment intervals typically do not exceed 2 weeks. This is the only type of care that is considered by the insurance industry to be “medically necessary” and potentially covered by any insurance benefits.

MAINTENANCE CARE is meant to prevent future relapses and maintain the condition after active care has been completed. This is also known as Wellness or Preventative Care. This care requires periodic check-up visits in order to prevent future relapses and/or maintain the health status that was achieved during active care. Maintenance care visits are usually anywhere from 2 weeks intervals to 3 month intervals, although most patients would ideally benefit from monthly chiropractic check-ups to stay in optimal health and wellness. The insurance industry consideres maintenance/wellness/preventative chiropractic care to be “not-medically necessary” and therefore does not cover these types of visits – similar to your car insurance not covering oil changes and tune-ups which are required for proper vehicle maintenance. Our office has Wellness Care options for individuals who want to continue with the weekly or biweekly check-ups.

resized_550x317_Road_to_Recovery2 Source:

Life Restored

I often get asked what my favorite chiropractic story is..and my answer is every one is my favorite. Each story represents healing, and new chance at life. Each is just as awesome as the next.

I want to share with you another amazing testimonial. This patient had been in a car accident a little over a year ago, has been through countless doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments. After meeting with this gentleman a few times and explaining what chiropractic is, does and how it can help he finally “took a chance” on Dr. Erica.

Here is his story he sent to Dr. Erica in an email:

“Sorry for the delay. This started as a short text message, but the more I thought the more I wrote. So I really wanted to take a moment to write this note to you and Brittany. 

Six weeks ago I came to see you because of injuries from my car accident that had been plaguing me.

As a new father, I felt these injuries had robbed me of the first year experiences that every father and their child should be able to share together. My daughter and I should have tons of pictures of us interacting together that we can look at years later and reminisce about. I should be able to tell her stories about what she was like and what we did together while she looks at these pictures and see us together in them. Unfortunately, she will miss out on most of her “first year of life” pictures because they don’t exist. You see, while my daughter was gaining small experiences like taking her first steps, celebrating her first birthday, etc., I was forced to watch most of it from the sideline with very limited participation. The pain I was in wouldn’t allow me to bend over and pick her up when she fell taking her first steps. She ran around the house on her first birthday and I mostly sat back and watched as the pain increased when I got overly active. The list of challenges goes on and on.

Thanks to you and your massage therapists Brittany (who’ve I’ve seen the most), I have went the last eight days without any back pain! To some, this may not seem like much, but to me, this is a huge victory after living the last year in pain more days than not. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time! Yesterday after my office visit I came home and my daughter met me at the door. I had no hesitation when bending over to pick her up. We then went downstairs and got to play together like we’ve never been able to before. A few weeks ago I couldn’t crawl around with her and if I tried to I was in pain while doing it and I could only last a few minutes. Yesterday we played together for about an hour and she loved every bit of it!

I’ve said all of that to say this, it seems like you and Brittany work in an industry where heartfelt thank you’s are rarely given. I want both of you to know that I am someone who is beyond thankful for your services. You two have helped me get my life/health back! So please allow me to say THANK YOU for helping me get back on track! My family means the world to me and I know if my daughter could speak full sentences (she’s only 18 months) she would say thank you as well!

You are truly a Godsend and I am very happy you and I connected.

Thanks again, and I look forward to a long lasting relationship while we work together to help each other and help our community!”

I love this story. I love this story even more because he has been disconnected from life for the past year. Disconnected from his passion of motivating others, disconnected from his daily life habits, disconnected from his family and friends and living in fear with ‘this is what my life will be forever.’ This gentleman took a chance on chiropractic, and took a chance on me. His testimonial is beautiful, powerful and inspiring.

Thank you for giving me the chance to serve you.

Top 3 Chiropractic Myths, Busted…

Chiropractic continues to get a bad rap today, despite the numerous studies that prove it to be both an effective and better way to heal. Well, as a chiropractor and true advocate of the profession, I feel it’s high time to put many of the misconceptions surrounding our calling to rest. There are so many that it’d be impossible to address them all in a single blog post, so I will start with the three biggest ones…

Myth #1: Chiropractic is dangerous.

Truth: This could not be further from the truth. In fact, studies have shown that activities such as salon shampooing, gazing at the stars and dancing are much more dangerous than a mere adjustments.

Myth #2: Once you go to the chiropractor, you’ll always have to go.

Truth: The choice to go to the chiropractor for routine maintenance and continued health is yours.

Myth #3: Chiropractic care is not effective.

Truth: Millions of people have benefitted from chiropractic care, and millions more continue to benefit from it today. People such as Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, Michael Jordan, NFL Pro Athletes, Christie Brinkley and so many others rely on chiropractic to keep them strong, healthy and doing what they do.

Stay tuned for more “myth busters!”
Visit to learn more about the very real benefits of chiropractic care.

Source: ADIO Chiropractic,

9 Signs You Have Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is arguably the most important mineral in the body.
According to Dr. Norman Shealy

“Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency and it’s the missing cure to many diseases.” 

Not only does Magnesium help regulate calcium, potassium and sodium, but Magnesium (Mg) is essential for cellular health and is a critical component of over 300 biochemical functions in the body.

Even glutathione, your body’s most powerful antioxidant that has even been called “the master antioxidant,” requires magnesium for its synthesis.

Unfortunately, most people are not aware of this and millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it.

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

Once thought to be relatively rare, magnesium deficiency is more common than most physicians believe. Here’s why:

  • Soil depletiongenetically modified organisms (GMO) and the chemicals in our food have created a recipe for disaster. As minerals are removed, stripped away, or no longer available in the soil, the percentage of magnesium present in food has decreased.
  • Digestive disease, like leaky gut can cause malabsorption of minerals including magnesium. Today, there are hundreds of millions of people who aren’t absorbing their nutrients.  Also, as we age our mineral absorption tends to decrease, so the probability of having a deficiency increases across the board.
  • Chronic disease and medication use is at an all-time high. Most chronic illness is associated with magnesium deficiency and lack of mineral absorption. Medications damage the gut which is responsible for absorbing magnesium from our food.

Should you worry about magnesium deficiency? 

Maybe, maybe not, it all depends on your risk factors and presenting symptoms which are covered in this article. Also, approximately 80% of people have low levels of magnesium so the chances are you are probably deficient.

Take note of this… only 1% of magnesium in your body is in your bloodstream, so often you can have deficiency and it would not even be discovered by a common blood test.

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms 

Many people may be magnesium deficient and not even know it. But here are some key symptoms to look out for that could indicate if you are deficient:

leg cramps1. Leg Cramps

70% of adults and 7% of children experience leg cramps on a regular basis. But leg cramps can more than a nuisance; they can also be downright excruciating! Because of magnesium’s role in neuromuscular signals and muscle contraction, researchers have observed that magnesium deficiency is often to blame. (1,2)

More and more health care professionals are prescribing magnesium supplements to help their patients. Restless leg syndrome is another warning sign of a magnesium deficiency.  To overcome both leg cramps and restless leg syndrome you will want to increase your intake of both magnesium and potassium.

Man With Insomnia2. Insomnia

Magnesium deficiency is often a precursor to sleep disorders such as anxiety, hyperactivity and restlessness. It has been suggested that this is because magnesium is vital for GABA function, an inhibitory neurotransmitter known to “calm” the brain and promote relaxation.

Taking around 400mg of magnesium before bed or with dinner is the best time of day to take the supplement. Also, adding in magnesium rich foods during dinner like spinach may help.

woman with neck pain3. Muscle Pain / Fibromyalgia

A study published in Magnesium Research examined the role magnesium plays in fibromyalgia, and uncovered that increasing magnesium consumption reduced pain and tenderness and also improved immune blood markers. (3)

Oftentimes linked to autoimmune disorders, this research should encourage fibromyalgia patients because it highlights the systemic effects that magnesium supplements have on the body.

woman stressed at work

4. Anxiety

As magnesium deficiency can affect the central nervous system, more specifically the GABA cycle in the body, it’s side effects can include irritability and nervousness. As the deficiency worsens it causes high levels of anxiety and in severe cases depression and hallucinations.

Magnesium is needed for every cell function from the gut to the brain, so it is no wonder that it affects so many systems.

blood pressure monitor

5. High Blood Pressure

Magnesium works partnered with calcium to support proper blood pressure and protect the heart.  So when you are magnesium deficient, often you are also low in calcium and tend towards hypertension or high blood pressure.

A study with 241,378 participants published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition uncovered that a diet high in magnesium foods could reduce the risk of a stroke by 8%. (4) This is profound considering that hypertension causes 50% of ischemic strokes in the world.

page with diabetes definition6. Type II Diabetes

One of the 4 mains causes of magnesium deficiency is type II diabetes but it is also a common symptom. UK researchers, for example, uncovered that of the 1,452 adults they examined low Mg levels were 10.51 times more common with new diabetics and 8.63 times more common with known diabetics. (5)

As expected from this data, diets rich in Mg has been shown to significantly lower the risk of type 2 diabetes because of magnesium’s role in sugar metabolism. Another study discovered that the simple addition of magnesium supplementation (100 mg/day) lowered the risk of diabetes by 15%! (6)

man tired at work7. Fatigue

Low energy, weakness and fatigue are common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Most chronic fatigue patients are also magnesium deficient. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that 300 – 1,000 mg of Magnesium per day can help, but you do also want to be careful as too much Mg can also cause diarrhea. (7) If you experience this side effect you can simply reduce your dosage a little until the side effect subsides.

woma with painful headache 8. Migraine Headaches 

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to migraine headaches due of its importance in balancing neurotransmitters in the body. Double-blind placebo-controlled studies have proven that 360 – 600mg of magnesium daily reduced the frequency of migraine headaches by up to 42%. (8)

close up osteoporosis graphic representation9. Osteoporosis

The National Institute of Health reports that, “The average person’s body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, and about half of that is in the bones.” (9) This is important to realize, especially for the elderly, who are at risk of bone weakening.

Thankfully, there’s hope! A study published in Biology Trace Element Research uncovered that supplementing with magnesium slowed the development of osteoporosis “significantly” after just 30 days. In addition to taking magnesium supplement, you will also want to consider getting more vitamin D3 and K2 to naturally build bone density. (10)

Are you at risk?  

So who is most susceptible to a magnesium deficiency?

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), not every one is created equal in regards to metabolizing and assimilating magnesium. In fact, certain people are inherently at a greater risk of developing Mg deficiency.

Magnesium deficiency can be inherited genetically as an inability to absorb this important mineral.

Also, a diet low in high magnesium foods, or even emotional or work stress can drain magnesium from the body. Whether inherited, through a deficient diet, or even stress, a magnesium deficiency can lead to side effects of migraines, diabetes, fatigue and more!

My favorite magnesium supplement to take is Natural Calm. Natural Calm comes in many different flavors. My favorite is the Raspberry Lemon. Are you magnesium deficient? Do you take a magnesium supplement?