The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) states that approximately 31 million Americans suffer from back pain at any given time. This adds up to over $50 billion in healthcare costs annually. And then that price tag more than doubles when you factor in lost wages and decreased job productivity.
For decades, chiropractors have not only been saying chiropractic maintenance care for back pain is beneficial, it’s also cost effective. A research project called "The Nordic Maintenance Care Program" was launched with the aim to increase knowledge regarding maintenance care, utilizing chiropractors in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. A leading chiropractic publication, Chiropractic Economics, explained that this team put in hard work from 2008-2018 with four objectives:
- To define the concept of maintenance care and the indications for its use.
- To describe chiropractors’ belief in maintenance care and patients’ acceptance of it.
- To establish the prevalence with which chiropractors use maintenance care and possible characteristics of the chiropractors associated with its use.
- To determine its efficacy and cost-effectiveness for various types of conditions.
One study specifically investigated the patient perspective of maintenance care; patients were interviewed and asked to explain why they would visit their chiropractor on a regular basis. Patients stated that the purpose was:
- To prevent recurrences (78%);
- To remain pain-free (68%);
- Maintenance care as a wellness approach (17%).
Regarding the spacing of maintenance care treatments, most visits were scheduled by patients within a range of 1-3 months.
A health-care register-based study found that health care use was smallest among the patients who received maintenance care from a chiropractor as opposed to those receiving care from other health care professionals.
A 2015 study by Simon Dagenais, et. al., gathered data from over 1300 studies. They discovered that compared to private health plans, chiropractic health care costs were lower. There are a lot of variables to control, but the bottom line is chiropractic maintenance care can be more effective and less costly than other forms of back pain care.