When older people experience back pain, they typically have two options – see a primary care physician (PCP) or visit a chiropractor. Many people choose to visit a PCP. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons to visit a PCP, according to the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. However, people are increasingly visiting chiropractors as an alternative option. A 2015 study analyzed the number of Medicare patient that sought chiropractic care for back pain. The study showed that in areas where chiropractors were common, the number of PCP visits for neck and back pain decreased by 8%. While that may not seem like a big number, the study estimated that across the United States, chiropractic care reduced 370,000 visits to a PCP.
Why is this important? Back pain is a common issue that costs about $85 billion annually in the United States. If people can substitute chiropractic care for PCP visits, that reduces the strain on PCPs. It can also save money. However, PCP and chiropractor visits may not be substituted for everyone. Many people can benefit from using both services, which allows them to receive more care and yet not over-strain either the PCP or the chiropractor.
The study demonstrates how traditional and alternative medicine can work in sync. It makes sense for patients to initially visit a PCP in order to rule out any life-threatening disease. Those that choose to come to a chiropractor first will also be screened for disease and may be referred back to a PCP for further evaluation if they don’t meet the criteria for beginning chiropractic care. After patients have been screened and deemed fit for chiropractic treatment, many choose to use a chiropractor instead of a PCP for back pain relief. The switch to chiropractors can be a good thing for PCPs too because it decreases their workload and allows them to focus on diagnosing disease instead of relieving back pain.
Although many people think of alternative and traditional medicine as opposing, they are often complementary. Traditional PCPs can provide medication for back pain relief and chiropractors can provide spine manipulation treatments and massage. Many people can benefit from taking advantages of element of both, such as taking medication and scheduling weekly massage. There is no formula that works for everyone, so people have to work with both their chiropractor and doctor to determine the best solution for them. To develop a unique wellness plan, patients can contact Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness to schedule an appointment.Share