The educational standard to become a Chiropractor can be overlooked. Chiropractors receive a curriculum consisting of 4,620 educational hours, a Physiotherapist receives 3,870 hours and a Medical Doctor receives 4,800 hours.
There is no other profession that receives as many educational hours in body manipulation (adjustments) than Chiropractors do in their undergraduate training.
How does this education translate into practise. Research has shown it makes a difference who you see for your back pain in chronicity and healthcare costs.
The American Speciality Health Plans (ASHP) found 12% cost savings with Chiropractic Care and Medical Management for back pain over that of Medical Management only.
A 12% saving is huge when one considers the numbers involved. The cohort size in the study sample was 1.7 million people over four years.
Yet Medical Doctors are not finding solutions for their patients with Chiropractors. NICE have not conducted a study to show the cost savings shown in the above study do or do not translate across the pond to the UK. Back pain affects 80% of people in the UK and is the biggest cause of lost productivity at work but because back pain doesn’t kill you the QALY misses it. In the NHS the quality affected life year is a measure that allows a comparison of different healthcare needs. Back pain doesn’t score highly on the QALY and thus doesn’t get the funding it should do relative to the number of people it affects. If back pain affected fewer people more severely then it’d probably be available to all on the NHS.
The other additional problem for back pain sufferers is that there are three different professions that offer manipulation. Something that can borderline uncivilised behaviour. Until greater political alignment occurs, the science will continue to be filed even when the results speak for themselves as being effective.
1. Fritz J.M. et al (2015) Importance of the Type of Provider Seen to Begin Healthcare for a New Episode of Low Back Pain: Associations with Future Utilisations and Costs. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice