Back in May, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in which they found that the addition of chiropractic care to normal medical care improved health care outcomes for members of the armed forces. This is excellent news! Chiropractors and chiropractic patients already know the many benefits that come from chiropractic care, and it's always positive to have those benefits validated in a high-quality study in a respected journal.
From the study (and please note that "LBP" stand for low back pain):
In the US military, LBP is one of the most common reasons members seek medical care and one of the most likely conditions to interrupt combat duty. Common medical therapies for LBP, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, spinal fusions, and epidural steroid injections, demonstrate limited effectiveness; furthermore, many of these treatments have unacceptably high risk profiles.
The study's authors claim, rightly, that the strength of this study is that chiropractic care for these patients was not merely compared against medical care (a comparison that has been done many times in the past). Instead, since the military services have a large number of patients already receiving medical care, the authors investigated if the addition of chiropractic care for some of the patients would help them improve. The results were impressive:
Chiropractic care, when added to UMC [note from Dr. Johnson: "UMC" means usual medical care], resulted in moderate short-term treatment benefits in both LBP intensity and disability, demonstrated a low risk of harms, and led to high patient satisfaction and perceived improvement in active-duty military personnel. This trial provides additional support for the inclusion of chiropractic care as a component of multidisciplinary health care for LBP, as currently recommended in existing guidelines.
Retired Army Staff Sergeant Shilo Harris credits chiropractic care with saving his life.
Last month, Staff Sgt. Harris was featured in the Illinois-based The State Journal Register with his story of war wounds and injuries, his long path of surgeries and suffering, his dark journey with opioid medications, and his eventual recovery thanks to chiropractic care.
Here is his story in his own words:
October has been declared as Chiropractic Health Care Month in Illinois by Illinois governor Bruce Rauner. October has traditionally been considered to be the "birthday" of chiropractic, since the first modern chiropractic adjustment was delivered during October, 1895. Chiropractic now has a special place in the lives of people in Illinois and Peoria, as statistics show that about 2 million people in Illinois seek chiropractic care each year.
Here's the proclamation itself:
On this past Valentine's Day, the Annals of Internal Medicine, a respected medical journal, published clinical guidelines for low back pain. The guidelines are based on previously-performed studies of varying evidence qualities. They noted specifically that most low back pain does not require pharmaceutical intervention and can be helped with noninvasive treatment such as chiropractic care and massage. This continues the medical movement away from over-medicating conditions which can find resolution without major drugs or surgery, and confirms what we chiropractors see regularly: patients with low back pain improving every day.
Here are the main recommendations from the paper:
Recommendation 1: Given that most patients with acute or subacute low back pain improve over time regardless of treatment, clinicians and patients should select nonpharmacologic treatment with superficial heat (moderate-quality evidence), massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation (low-quality evidence). If pharmacologic treatment is desired, clinicians and patients should select nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or skeletal muscle relaxants (moderate-quality evidence). (Grade: strong recommendation)
I would add that although low back pain tends to improve over time in most patients regardless of treatment, it is also one of the highest-recurring conditions of the body. In other words, if you have had low back pain in the past, you're almost certain to get it again. This means that proper treatment is indeed necessary to strengthen the muscles of the low back, to properly align the spine, to protect your posture, and so on, to properly treat the condition and prevent its return for as long as possible. It is not appropriate to sit back, wait for the pain to go away, and then figure that you're just fine. When pain disappears, it doesn't automatically mean that everything's fine. Ongoing exercise, postural modifications, and even massage and chiropractic care can be a major benefit.
From the American Chiropractic Association:
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has launched a major grassroots campaign to enact federal legislation that would achieve full physician status for doctors of chiropractic in Medicare. The ACA invites all chiropractors and chiropractic patients to consider signing the following petition:
"Petition to White House and Members of Congress
Give Seniors the Medicare Coverage They Need and Deserve: Full Access to and Reimbursement for Services Provided by Doctors of Chiropractic
Studies have shown that essential services provided by doctors of chiropractic (DCs) can help aging Americans live healthier and happier lives, yet every day our nation's seniors are being unjustly denied full access to Medicare covered services by doctors of chiropractic that could improve their quality of life.
Why? Because the federal government continues to rely on an antiquated statute that discriminates against Medicare’s chiropractic patients by not covering medically necessary and mandated services delivered by DCs.
This needs to stop. Our aging population deserves the best health care this nation has to offer. And research has shown that safe and effective services provided by DCs are a part of the solution.
I urge you to pass legislation to correct this inequity in Medicare."
To sign this petition, please visit the Chiropractic in Medicare petition webpage.
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
All images used are under Creative Commons license.
Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, PC, proudly located in Peoria, IL.