Chiropractic Can Prevent Absenteeism in the Workplace from Chronic Pain
A report on the scientific literature
By Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
According to Cady (2014) over 100 million Americans experience chronic pain with common painful conditions including back pain, neck pain, headaches/migraines, and arthritis, in addition to other painful conditions such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, etc...In a large study in 2010, 30.7% of over 27,000 U.S. respondents reported an experience of chronic, recurrent pain of at least a 6-month duration. Half of the respondents with chronic pain noted daily symptoms, with 32% characterizing their pain as severe (≥7 on a scale ranging from 0 to 10). Chronic pain has a broad impact on emotional well-being and health-related quality of life, sleep quality, and social/recreational function.
Peterson ET. AL. (2012) reported, “The … prevalence of low back pain is stated to be between 15% and 30%, the 1-year period prevalence between 15% and 45%, and a life-time prevalence of 50% to 80%” (pg. 525). Apkarian Et. Al. (2004) reported that “Ten percent of adults suffer from severe chronic pain. Back problems constitute 25% of all disabling occupational injuries and are the fifth most common reason for visits to the clinic; in 85% of such conditions, no definitive diagnosis can be made.” (pg. 10410) The reference to no definitive diagnosis is reflective of allopathy, or in common terms, the medical community.
In contrast, Peterson ET. AL. (2012) reported “investigate outcomes and prognostic factors in patients with acute or chronic low back pain (LBP) undergoing chiropractic treatment. In chronic LBP, recent studies indicate that significant improvement is often fairly rapid, usually by the fourth visit, and that patients initially receiving treatment 3 to 4 times a week have better outcomes. Patients with chronic and acute back pain both reported good outcomes, and most patients with radiculopathy (neurogenic) also improved” (pg. 525). “At 3 months, 69% of patients with chronic pain stated that they were either much better or better. This is unlikely to be due to the natural history of low back pain because these patients have already passed the period when natural history occurs “(pg. 531). As a note, this author has been caring for chronic back pain sufferers for 34 years and my personal observation is that 90%+ of all patients feel better and have significantly increased function in a short amount of time. However, for the purposes of this article, I will utilize the published 69%.
Cady (2014) wrote “In addition to the pervasive personal suffering associated with this disease, chronic pain has a substantial negative financial impact on the economy. Direct office visits, diagnostic testing, hospital care, and pharmacy costs are only a portion of the picture, with combined medical and pharmacy costs averaging $5,000 annually per individual (Pizzi, 2005). Chronic pain results in a significant economic burden on the healthcare system, with estimated costs ranging from $560 to $635 billion 2010 dollars, more than the annual cost of other priority health conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes (Gaskin & Richard, 2012). Moreover, the estimated annual costs of the workplace impact of pain range from $299 to $335 billion from absenteeism and reduced productivity (Gaskin & Richard, 2012).” (pg. 1-2)
We have already established that 10% of adults suffer from chronic pain and that back pain constitutes 25% of that population and chiropractic helps 69% of chronic sufferers. Therefore if 25% of all chronic pain is back pain and chiropractic helps 69%, then the numbers extrapolate as follows:
Economic burden on the healthcare system:
$560-$635 billion x 25% (back pain) = $140-$159 billion
$140-$159 billion x 69% (chiropractic helps) = $97-$110,000,000,000 (billion)
Absenteeism and Reduced Productivity Costs
$299-$335 billion x 25% (back pain) = $75-$84 billion
$75-$84 billion x 69% (chiropractic helps) = $52-$58,000,000,000 (billion)
We also know that chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration. Whedon, Mackenzie, Phillips, and Lurie (2015) based their study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded, “No mechanism by which SM [spinal manipulation] induces injury into normal healthy tissues has been identified (Whedon et al., 2015, p. 5).
Unfortunately, the likelihood that a medical provider in any subspecialty will encounter chronic pain and its complications will only increase in the future as the population advances in age and body mass. In addition, based upon the statistics there needs no extrapolation as to who should be the primary spine care provider or first option to treat chronic back pain or any mechanical back pain (no fracture, tumor or infection). We have verified that allopathy (medical doctors) not being able to conclude a diagnosis 85% of the time, where chiropractic has verified diagnosis and solutions 69% (or my 90% +) in verified scientific outcomes.
The conclusions are not an indictment against medicine, it is a conclusion based upon science to put billions back into our economy while first helping those in chronic pain with a “best outcome” solution.
Arthritis Prevention and Chiropractic
Chiropractic prevents arthritis in accident victims, the elderly and the sedentary
A report on the scientific literature
By Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
According to the Arthritis Foundation (2007), "Forty-six million [46,000,000] Americans are currently living with arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability, and we are all paying a high price for it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the annual cost of arthritis to the United States economy was $128 billion in 2003 and increased by $20 billion between 1997 and 2003.
CDC attributes the dramatic increase to the aging of the population, predominantly baby boomers, and increased prevalence of arthritis. CDC also estimates an additional 8 million new cases of arthritis will be diagnosed in the next decade" (http://www.arthritis.org/cost-arthritis.php).
Arthritis, A.D.A.M., Inc. (2010, February 5), "...is inflammation of one or more joints, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. There are over 100 different types of arthritis...
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like when you walk. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness.
You may have joint inflammation for a variety of reasons, including:
- An autoimmune disease (the body attacks itself because the body immune system believes a body part is foreign)
- Broken bone
- General wear and tear
- Infection (usually cause by bacteria or viruses)...
With some injuries and diseases, the inflammation does not go away or destruction results in long-term pain and deformity. When this happens, you have chronic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and is more likely to occur as you age. You may feel it in any of your joints, but most commonly in your hips, knees or fingers. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include:
- Being overweight
- Previously injuring the affected joint
- Using the affected joint in a repetitive action that puts stress on the joint (baseball players, ballet dancers and construction workers are all at risk)
Arthritis can occur in men and women of all ages. About 37 million people in America have arthritis of some kind, which is almost 1 out of every 7 people" (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002223). With hypomobility (less mobility or movement), adhesions occur in a joint (the region where 2 bones connect).
According to A.D.A.M., Inc. (2010, March 30), "Adhesions are bands of scar-like tissue that form between two surfaces inside the body and cause them to stick together. As the body moves, tissues or organs inside are normally able to shift around each other. This is because these tissues have slippery surfaces.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Inflammation (swelling), surgery, or injury can cause adhesions to form almost anywhere in the body...Once they form, adhesions can become larger or tighter over time. Symptoms or other problems may occur if the adhesions cause an organ or body part to twist, pull out of position, or be unable to move as well.
Adhesions may form around joints such as the shoulder...or ankles, or in ligaments and tendons. This problem may happen:
- After surgery or trauma
- With certain types of arthritis
- With overuse of a joint or tendon
Adhesions in joints, tendons, or ligaments make it harder to move the joint and may cause pain...Adhesions in the pelvis may cause chronic or long-term pelvic pain.
Signs and tests
Most of the time, the adhesions cannot be seen using x-rays or imaging tests" (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002462).
Over time, with a sedentary lifestyle as seen in many portions of the population and increasingly with the elderly, joints become hypomobile. Hypomobility is also seen in trauma-related cases and repetitive use injuries, such as reading while looking down for extended periods, carrying heavy items, holding the phone between one's shoulder and ear, prolonged use of hands, wrists, back and neck, excessive use of computers, etc. As time progresses, internal scar tissue or adhesions continue to develop and further increases the loss of mobility.
Cramer, Henderson, Little, Daley and Grieve (2010), cite previous studies that have shown that adhesions have been found in numerous hypomobile (loss of normal movement) joints and that spinal adjusting separates the articular surfaces of the joint. The researchers inquired as to whether connective tissue adhesion developed in lumbar articular joints as a consequence to intervertebral hypomobility and utilized animal studies. They concluded that "...hypomobility results in time-dependent [adhesions]..." (Cramer et al., 2010, p. 508). In other words, internal scar tissue (arthritis) developed within the joints over time.
Cramer et al. (2010) sited previous studies that found the spinal adjustment separates the joints which could break up intra-articular adhesions. In other words, in their animal studies, spinal adjustments/manipulation increased the "Z gap" or spacing between the joints/bones and the mobility of the joints. If this applied in humans, the adjustments would then prevent further development of adhesions and degeneration and osteophytes, which is how the arthritic process progresses.
While arthritis affects approximately 1 in 7 Americans, the prevention of and/or correction of arthritis would relieve a great strain on our economy. While not all arthritis is a result of hypomobility, much of it is. If every person was under chiropractic care, we could not only positively affect the lives of every American, we could potentially rescue the economy of the United States and every other country and insurer in the world that assumes risk for an aging and hypomobile society.
1. Arthritis Foundation. (2007, January 17). Cost of arthritis increases to $128 billion annually. Retrieved from http://www.arthritis.org/cost-arthritis.php
2. A.D.A.M., Inc. (2010, February 5). Arthritis. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002223
3. A.D.A.M., Inc. (2010, March 30). Adhesion. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002462
4. Cramer, G. D., Henderson, C. N. R., Little, J. W., Daley, C., & Grieve, T. J. (2010). Zygapophyseal joint adhesions after induced hypomobility. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 33(7), 508-518.
Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care
1. Low Back Pain: Chronic, severe, moderate & non-specific
2. Neck Pain: Severe and moderate
3. Migraine Headaches
4. Headaches: Cervicogenic
5. Dizziness: Cervicogenic
6. Hip Pain: From Arthritis
A report on the scientific literature
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
In order to understand the vast importance of this study, it is critical to understand the context of the work. These conclusions were based on randomized clinical trials and evidenced based results. The studies which the conclusions were based upon come from the input of hundreds of sources.
Randomized Clinical Trials
According to the National Cancer Institute (2004), "Randomization is a process that assigns research participants by chance, rather than by choice, to either the investigational group or the control group of all phase III (and some phase II) clinical trials...Each study participant has a fair and equal chance of receiving either the new intervention being studied (by being placed in the investigational group), or of receiving the existing or 'control' intervention (by being placed in the control group)" (http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/learning/what-is-randomization).
"The goal of randomization is to produce comparable groups in terms of general participant characteristics, such as age or gender, and other key factors that affect the probable course the disease would take. In this way, the two groups are as similar as possible at the start of the study. At the end of the study, if one group has a better outcome than the other, the investigators will be able to conclude with some confidence that one intervention is better than the other. A randomized, controlled trial is considered the most reliable and impartial method of determining what medical interventions work the best" (National Cancer Institute, 2004, http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/learning/what-is-randomization).
Evidenced Based Healthcare/Practice
According to Schardt and Mayer (2010), "[Evidenced based practice] is the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision making process for patient care. Clinical expertise refers to the clinician's cumulated experience, education and clinical skills. The patient brings to the encounter his or her own personal and unique concerns, expectations, and values. The best evidence is usually found in clinically relevant research that has been conducted using sound methodology" (http://www.hsl.unc.edu/Services/Tutorials/EBM/whatis.htm).
"The evidence, by itself, does not make a decision for you, but it can help support the patient care process. The full integration of these three components into clinical decisions enhances the opportunity for optimal clinical outcomes and quality of life. The practice of EBP is usually triggered by patient encounters which generate questions about the effects of therapy, the utility of diagnostic tests, the prognosis of diseases, or the etiology of disorders. Evidence-Based Practice requires new skills of the clinician, including efficient literature searching, and the application of formal rules of evidence in evaluating the clinical literature" (Schardt & Mayer, 2010, http://www.hsl.unc.edu/Services/Tutorials/EBM/whatis.htm).
In a 2010 study by Bronfort, Haas, Evans, Leininger and Triano, the researchers both randomized clinical trials and studied evidenced based practice results utilizing guidelines found in scientific literature. In each case, they compared the results of manipulation (chiropractic spinal adjustments or extremity adjusting) to "sham" treatment and concluded that manipulation was effective for:
1. Low back pain, soreness or tension
2. Neck pain
3. Hip pain from arthritis
5. Headache localized in the neck or back of the head
6. Dizziness emanating from the neck
The following entities were included in the above study to help conclude the results of this research: The American College of Physicians/American Pain Society, The Journal of the AMA, the World Health Organization, Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, New Zealand Journal of Medicine and many others. Some clarified what was not yet conclusive while others certified chiropractic as a viable choice for care. The arguments as to whether chiropractic works or not has been long silenced. The only question that now arises is when will the more scientific literature be published?
Asthma is one area is that is lacking in research. As the author of this article and a chiropractic practitioner for 30 years, there has not been one asthma patient that didn’t respond to chiropractic care ranging from the acute to the chronic patient where most discarded their drugs and inhalers (as a result of the advice of their medical practitioners) because they didn’t need them anymore. During most of my career, there was no literature, it just worked. Today, we do not have to go simply on faith as there is much literature in the scientific community confirming the benefits of chiropractic.
This study along with many others concludes that a drug-free approach of chiropractic care is one of the best solutions for many problems and returning to a normal life. To find a qualified doctor of chiropractic near you go to the US Chiropractic Directory at www.USChiroDirectory.com and search your state.
1. National Cancer Institute. (2004, August 3).What is randomization? Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/learning/what-is-randomization
2. Schardt, C., & Mayer , J. (2010, July). What is evidence-based practice. Retrieved from http://www.hsl.unc.edu/Services/Tutorials/EBM/whatis.htm
3. Bronfort, G., Haas M., Evans R., Leininger, B., &Triano, J. (2010). Effectiveness of manual therapies: The UK evidence report. Chiropractic and Osteopathy, 18(3). Retrieved from http://www.chiroandosteo.com/content/18/1/3