Chiropractic vs. traditional care for preventing back pain

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If you’re searching for back-pain relief, you may wonder, “What makes chiropractic different from traditional treatments?”  While chiropractic care has many advantages, from its natural approach to its safety, a key benefit of chiropractic lies in its ability to prevent back pain from recurring.

In the past, doctors believed acute back pain came in discrete episodes that lasted no longer than 90 days. Recent research suggests though that acute back pain often reoccurs, meaning that if you have one episode of back pain, you’ll likely experience another episode of back pain later in life. This has prompted researchers to investigate ways to break the cycle of back pain.

A 2011 study suggests that chiropractic can prevent recurring back pain better than traditional treatments.In the study, researchers analyzed the data of a major US insurance company to determine the course and costs of treatment for nearly 900 cases of back pain.

They discovered that patients receiving traditional care relied more heavily on pain medications and were disabled for longer periods of time than chiropractic patients. Those under a physician’s care were disabled for an average of 119 days versus 58 days for physical therapy patients and just 49 days for chiropractic patients.

The researchers also examined the period after the initial episode of back pain to determine whether patients suffered from recurring pain. Chiropractic patients were less prone to recurring disability compared to patients in the physician and physical therapy groups. 16.9% of physical therapy patients had recurring disability versus 12.5% of physician patients and just 6.2% of chiropractic patients.

Chiropractic helps prevent future episodes of back pain by addressing the root cause of your pain, rather than masking the symptoms. If you’ve suffer from back pain or have chronic symptoms, chiropractic could help.


Cifuentes M, Willetts J, Wasiak R. Health maintenance care in work-related low back pain and its association with disability recurrence. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011; 53(4): 396-404.

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