For years, chiropractors have been treating back pain patients as well as, if not superior to, other health care professions.
In fact, all of the guidelines published around the world have recommended manipulative care as an initial or first step for the treatment of low back pain and more recently, for neck pain.
So why are there still some people who say things like, "I don't believe in chiropractic," "I'm not sure if that works," "if my MD recommends it, maybe I'll think about it."
Almost everyone has (or will have) to deal with a sore back that demands some form of health care service. Statistics indicate low back pain affects over 80% of the general population at some time in their lives.
Of that number, about 25% seek chiropractic care initially.
So, let's look at "the evidence" or research that supports chiropractic care. Are those who seek chiropractic care truly satisfied? You be the judge!
1) Consumer Reports May 2009 Consumer Reports Lists Chiropractic Patients As Most Satisfied Consumer Reports ~ May 2009
A study in the May issue of Consumer Reports shows hands-on therapies were tops among treatments for relief of back pain. The study, which surveyed more than 14,000 consumers, was conducted by the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. The report states that, "eighty-eight percent of those who tried chiropractic manipulation said it helped a lot, and 59 percent were 'completely' or 'very' satisfied with their chiropractor."
2) Military Medicine June, 2006 Chiropractic Services in the Canadian Armed Forces: A Pilot Project Military Medicine 2006 (Jun); 171 (6): 572-576
This article reports on satisfaction associated with the introduction of chiropractic services within a military hospital, through a Canadian Armed Forces Pilot Project. A 27-item survey was distributed that inquired about demographic information and satisfaction with chiropractic services to 102 military personnel presenting for on-site chiropractic services at the Archie McCallum Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The majority of military personnel (94.2%) and referring physicians (80.0%) expressed satisfaction with chiropractic services.
3) Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics July, 2006 Factors Associated With Patient Satisfaction With Chiropractic Care: Survey and Review of the Literature J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006 (Jul); 29 (6): 455-462
The results here generally confirm the findings elsewhere in the literature. Of the 23% of the adult population who have ever visited a chiropractor, overall rates of satisfaction are once again found to be quite high (83% satisfied or better) and the number dissatisfied is quite low (less than 10% dissatisfied or very dissatisfied). This is remarkable given the fact that much of the financial burden of the care is borne by patients, and the preponderance of care is for difficult chronic problems of back and neck.
4) Symptomatic Outcomes and Perceived Satisfaction Levels of Chiropractic Patients with a Primary Diagnosis Involving Acute Neck Pain J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006 (May); 29 (4): 288-296
A total of 115 patients were contacted, of whom 94 became study participants, resulting in 60 women (64%) and 34 men. The mean age was 39.6 years (SD, 15.7). The mean number of visits was 24.5 (SD, 21.2). Pain levels improved significantly from a mean of 7.6 (median, 8.0) before treatment to 1.9 (median, 2.0) after treatment (P < .0001). The overall patient satisfaction rate was 94%.
5) Patient Satisfaction With Chiropractic Physicians In An Independent Physicians' Association . J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (Nov); 24 (9): 556-559
Various aspects of chiropractic care were given a rating of "excellent" by the following percentage of respondents: Length of time to get an appointment (84.9%); convenience of the office (57.7%); access to the office by telephone (77.3%); length of wait at the office (75.7%); time spent with the provider (74.3%); explanation of what was done during the visit (72.8%); technical skills of the chiropractor (83.3%); and the personal manner of the chiropractor (92.4%). The visit overall was rated as excellent by 83.3% of responders, and 95.5% stated they would definitely recommend the provider to others.
6) Patient Satisfaction With Chiropractic Care in Los Angeles AHSR FHSR Annu Meet Abstr Book 1994; 11:11
This RAND Corporation Study found for overall care, 92% of the patients choose chiropractic care as either excellent or the best . Although the ratings on all the items are high, the highest ratings were given to the more personal qualities of the practitioner: courtesy, politeness, and respect shown to the patient (92%); interest shown in the patient as a person (91%); willingness to listen (89%); ability to put the patient at ease (89%). These results support those of previous studies on chiropractic suggesting the high satisfaction with chiropractic care is a result more of the personal health encounter than the therapeutic outcome. They also suggest other providers could learn much from the interpersonal art of chiropractors.
7) Patient Satisfaction With the Chiropractic Clinical Encounter: Report From a Practice-based Research Program Journal of the Neuromusculoskeletal System 2001: 9 (4): 109-117
The majority of patients were highly satisfied with their care; 85.0% reported that their chiropractor always listened carefully; 85.3% that the DC explained things understandably; 88.2% that the DC showed respect for what they had to say; and 75.6% that he/she involved them in decisions as much as they wanted. The median proportion of patients, per DC, with a chief complaint who said their doctor always spent enough time with them was 82% (IQR: 19%) and 82.3% reported that their chiropractors never recommended more visits than necessary.
8) Patient Evaluations of Low Back Pain Care From Family Physicians and Chiropractors . West J Med 1989 (Mar); 150 (3): 351-355 ~ FULL TEXT
Patients of chiropractors were three times as likely as patients of family physicians to report that they were very satisfied with the care they received for low back pain (66% versus 22%, respectively). Compared with patients of family physicians, patients of chiropractors were much more likely to have been satisfied with the amount of information they were given, to have perceived that their provider was concerned about them, and to have felt that their provider was comfortable and confident dealing with their problem.
Dr. Justin Snyder