Chiropractic Care – Consumer Reports

Oct 23

Chiropractic Care Ranks #1 in Back Pain Relief According to Consumer Reports Reader Survey

A recent reader survey by Consumer Reports rated chiropractic care as the most effective of 23 different treatment options for the provision of back pain relief. When the 14,000 back pain sufferers who responded were asked about satisfaction with their care provider, 59% described themselves as ‘highly satisfied’ with their chiropractor for treatment. The next runners up were physical therapists at 55% and acupuncturists at 53%. Specialist physicians followed at 44%, with only 34% of respondents finding their general practitioners as ‘highly satisfactory’ for helping with back pain relief.

Chiropractic Treatment the Clear Favorite of Readers

When it came to actual back pain treatments employed, chiropractic treatments came in the clear favorite with 58% favoring this option. This survey showed a strong preference for hands-on treatment for best lower back pain relief. Massage and physical therapy treatments received good reviews at 48% and 46% respectively. Spinal injections of various types were helpful to 51% of readers and 33% got relief from prescription pain medicines. Although almost all said they took some form of over-the-counter pain reliever, very few received significant relief of their low back pain.

Over the years in our New York City chiropractic center, I have been gratified to see so many patients find relief from their chronic back pain symptoms through a custom plan of chiropractic treatment including spinal adjustment. Many of my patients have been to five or more different health care providers and tried everything from prescription painkillers to intense physical therapy in their quest for effective back pain relief.


Reaching and Educating the Public

As chiropractic care has become a more accepted treatment option (by both insurance companies and the medical community) gradually more patients are turning to our Manhattan chiropractic services as a first or second line back pain treatment, rather than as a last resort. Ongoing research and documentation of actual, measurable relief from both chronic and acute muscular-skeletal injuries will enlighten the public about the very real advantages of getting professional chiropractic care early in the care seeking process.

Orly Avitzur M.D., Consumer Reports Medical Advisor and practicing neurologist, discussed the “wide variation in the management of lower-back pain” among practitioners and even from region to region. He cited the Dartmouth Atlas Project which showed a seven time higher incidence of back-fusion surgery among back pain patients in Bradenton, FL as compared to Newark, NJ! Dr. Avitzur cited this wide disparity of treatment methods as the inspiration for the Consumer Reports back pain treatment survey.


Speak Their Language

A powerful tool for reaching the public is through experiential research that describes how the patient actually ‘experiences’ a treatment in relation to symptom relief. Back pain sufferers are looking for treatment options that work and often will relate better to ‘real people’ who have been in their position. While controlled clinical trials are essential to reinforcing the legitimacy of the profession, large scale surveys such as this Consumer Reports readers poll speak directly to the main concerns of the chronic back pain suffer: What is my best option for getting real relief from my problem? Who should I see and what therapies work best? Do a lot of people with my problem get help from this treatment? Can this treatment really help with my pain and will I be able to get my quality of life back?

Many survey respondents mentioned their regret for not using back strengthening exercises and other preventive spinal health measures earlier. This may indicate a willingness to participate more actively in the recovery process and to take measures to prevent recurrence of the problem in the future.

Dr. Orly Avitzur seems to hold education of the medical consumer in the same high esteem as I do, stating that “having informed patients is the best medicine, since the work involved in getting better takes time, effort, trust, and cooperation.” Our prescription for effective relief: Exceptional chiropractic care teamed with a well-motivated patient armed with the facts.

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