April 26, 2012 — The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) commends a new effort by the American College of Physicians (ACP) to steer patients with back pain, as well as their doctors, to chiropractic and other low-cost, “high value” treatments before opting for more expensive choices such as surgery.
The campaign’s message reinforces ACA’s longstanding recommendation of cost-effective, conservative care as a first line of defense against pain.
This is not the first time that ACP’s evidence-based guidelines have supported the use of conservative care for conditions such as chronic lower back pain. In 2007, the Annals of Internal Medicine published low-back pain guidelines developed by the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians recommending that, for patients who do not improve with self-care, doctors should consider non-pharmacologic therapies such as chiropractic care, massage therapy and acupuncture.
ACP’s latest campaign, launched in mid-April, features a brochure about treating lower-back pain. The brochure states that imaging tests, which were found to be costly and often unnecessary, can lead to needless back surgery. In fact, surgery was named as a last resort-after all conservative options are exhausted. Patients were, however, advised to consent to imaging tests if they have signs of severe or worsening nerve damage or of a serious underlying problem.
“The healthcare crisis in the U.S. is leading many in the healthcare community to draw the same conclusions that doctors of chiropractic have had all along,” said ACA President Dr. Keith Overland. “We urge healthcare providers, whenever possible, to recommend preventive, conservative interventions for their patients before prescribing medications or performing surgery. Patients deserve to know that there are natural options.”
Aside from the expert structural care for which DCs are known, the services provided by chiropractors include exercise recommendations, guidance on risk avoidance, ergonomic and lifestyle counseling, nutritional recommendations, physical medicine services, acupuncture/meridian therapy, and much more. DCs engage their patients as partners in their healthcare and they educate and coach them to improved levels of function and wellness. These are major components in the successful prevention and management of any chronic condition.
Source: American Chiropractic Association, acatoday.org