Research Review: New Systematic Review Shows Chiropractic Care Leads to Lower Healthcare Costs for Spinal Pain

Patients Who Saw a Chiropractor Had Fewer Opioid Prescriptions, Surgeries, Hospitalizations, ER Visits, Specialist Referrals, and Injection Procedures

Study Conclusion: “Patients with spine-related musculoskeletal pain who consulted a chiropractor as their initial provider incurred substantially decreased downstream healthcare services and associated costs, resulting in lower overall healthcare costs compared with medical management…”

 In a recent systematic review study featured in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, compelling findings underscored the value of chiropractic care for patients experiencing spine-related musculoskeletal pain. The study revealed that individuals who initially sought treatment from a chiropractor saw a significant reduction in healthcare costs compared to those under medical management alone. Specifically, spinal pain patients who consulted chiropractors as first providers needed fewer:

  • Opioid prescriptions
  • Surgeries
  • Hospitalizations
  • Emergency department visits
  • Specialist referrals
  • Injection procedures

These findings prompt a reconsideration of healthcare policies and benefit designs. Given the growing recognition of chiropractic care’s role in the medical landscape, it is increasingly evident that chiropractors integrated into healthcare teams could yield substantial financial savings for patients and systems. To align with the evolving trends in healthcare, it may be advantageous for U.S. healthcare organizations and governmental agencies to explore avenues for reducing barriers to accessing chiropractic services. By embracing this shift, we can enhance patient outcomes while optimizing healthcare expenditure for management of musculoskeletal pain.

This paper is available free on the journal website here. The Clinical Compass recommends that all practicing chiropractors read the study and share it with stakeholders in your local region. This work was supported in part by the Clinical Compass and the NCMIC Foundation.

About the Clinical Compass

Clinical Compass is a chiropractic clinical and research collaborative that generates best practices research through consensus-based models. In addition, Clinical Compass maintains regularly updated evidence centers for 17 different clinical topics such as dry needling, opioids, and cost-effectiveness. To support the work chiropractic research and Clinical Compass, please donate here: Donate – The Clinical Compass.


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