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: