How Does Chiropractic Care Compare?

When you’re in pain, you want the safest and most effective treatment that will get you healthy fast. However, you’re faced with multiple options for care that can be overwhelming – physical therapy, acupuncture, prescription medication…in some cases even surgery! Where does chiropractic stack up? In the growing list of interventions citing pain relief for your neck and back pain, find out how chiropractic care compares to other options.

Chiropractic Care vs Prescription Medications

Studies examining the relationship between receiving chiropractic care and opioid usage demonstrated that pain medication usage decreased with chiropractic care. Utilizing chiropractors decreased the likelihood of taking opioid medications by 64%. Chiropractic treatment in these studies included spinal manipulative therapy, exercise, patient education, massage and acupuncture and studied the low back and neck. Opioid usage was linked to over 90,000 deaths in 2020 by the CDC. Additionally, opioid usage merely treats the symptoms rather than underlying cause. This analysis demonstrates chiropractic care to be a safe method of treating neck and low back pain.

Chiropractic vs Medical Care

Another study examined the effectiveness of chiropractic in conjunction with medical care. It found that the pairing of these modalities resulted in a decrease in low back pain intensity and overall disability score. Chiropractic treatment in this study consisted of spinal manipulative therapy, rehabilitative exercise, interferential current therapy, ultrasound therapy, cryotherapy, superficial heat, and other manual therapies. Patients in this study also reported a higher satisfaction rate with chiropractic treatment compared to medical care. Ultimately, chiropractic treatment is an effective approach for reducing low back pain.


Chiropractic vs Surgery

Back injuries are the number one cause of work place injuries in the United States. With this in mind, researchers examined the likelihood of having a spinal surgery following a work place injury. Patients that saw a chiropractor for their injury resulted in a 1.5% surgery rate, compared to those who saw a surgeon having a 42.7% surgery rate. Ultimately, patients whose saw a chiropractor at the onset of their pain were less likely to have surgery.

Chiropractic Care vs Physical Therapy

Another study compared the effectiveness of chiropractic to physical therapy when treating low back pain. Findings illustrated that chiropractic was cheaper and resulted in a higher disability adjusted life year score. Ultimately, patients did not require as many sick days due to low back pain with chiropractic treatment. Effects remained at one and five months post treatment. Chiropractic differs from physical therapy in having multiple components of treatment. Patients receive manual therapy and spinal adjustments, which constitute as passive therapy. Physical therapy and chiropractic are similar in both providing rehabilitative exercises, which is active therapy.

How can I stay informed?

As a patient, you want quick reliable access to information that will help guide you towards the best provider for your needs. Chiropractors are educated, skilled musculoskeletal practitioners that follow evidence based treatment guidelines. For patients with low back pain seeking non-pharmacologic treatment, the American College of Physicians suggest seeking care including spinal manipulation, among other conservative treatments. Chiropractic provides a more hands on approach to treating musculoskeletal conditions of the spine and extremities.


If you’re unsure if chiropractic care can benefit you or if you have other questions, schedule an appointment with us today for a consultation.


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