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​Decreased Costs and Utilization of Medical Services with Chiropractic Care

Spectacular decreases in the utilization of medical services and their attendant costs were observed when Doctors of Chiropractic were used as first contact providers. In an Independent Practice Association (IPA) which permitted patients to select a doctor of chiropractic as their primary care physician, clinical and cost utilization based on 70,274 member-months over a seven-year period demonstrated decreases of 60.2 percent in hospital admissions, 59 percent hospital days, 62 percent outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 85 percent pharmaceutical costs when compared with conventional medicine. These were across the board savings, not merely back and neck cases.

 Sarnat RL, Winterstein J, Cambron JA: Clinical utilization and cost outcomes from an integrative medicine independent physician association: an additional 3-year update. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 May;30(4):263-9.

Blood Pressure Regulation and Upper Cervical Chiropractic Adjustment

The scope of chiropractic is as broad as the scope of influence of the human nervous system. This landmark study was a randomized, controlled trial of hypertensive patients. Those in the intervention group received a form of upper cervical chiropractic care (NUCCA). The authors wrote, “We conclude that restoration of Atlas alignment is associated with marked and sustained reductions in BP similar to the use of two-drug combination therapy.” This study received extensive positive exposure in the media.

Bakris G, Dickholtz M Sr, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C, Bell B: Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study. J Hum Hypertens. 2007 May;21(5):347-52. Epub 2007 Mar 2.

Benefits of a Comprehensive Wellness Program Implemented by Chiropractors

A retrospective study of a standardized, 18 week wellness protocol was shown to improve weight, heart rate, blood pressure, strength, body-mass index, and forced vital capacity. The wellness protocol (Creating Wellness) focused on diet, exercise, nutritional supplementation, and one-on-one coaching. The author also reported, “All of the participating clinics practice a form of chiropractic that involves management of vertebral subluxation. This application of chiropractic is not solely directed at spinal manipulation for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal pain syndromes. It is based on the contention that misalignments and/or abnormal motion of vertebral motion units may compromise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health and well-being.”

McCoy M: Evaluation of a standardized wellness protocol to improve anthropometric and physiologic function and to reduce health risk factors: a retrospective analysis of outcome. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Jan;17(1):39-44. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0113. Epub 2011 Jan 3.

Mental Health and Chiropractic

From the establishment of in-patient chiropractic sanitariums to publication of a text with contributions from two Nobel Laureates, doctors of chiropractic have a long history of providing care for persons with mental health issues. The PRISM (Psychological response in spinal manipulation) study was a systematic review of psychological outcomes in twelve randomised controlled trials. The authors reported a small improvement in psychological outcomes after spinal manipulation compared with verbal interventions and other physical treatments, with small and medium sized standardized mean differences (SMDs) in favor of manipulation compared to primary care and advice. The potential of chiropractic care to improve psychological outcomes deserves further exploration.

Williams NH1, Hendry M, Lewis R, Russell I, Westmoreland A, Wilkinson C: Psychological response in spinal manipulation (PRISM): a systematic review of psychological outcomes in randomised controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Dec;15(4):271-83. Epub 2007 Mar 8.

Chiropractic Research Part 1