In 2008, a study published in the journal Spine sought to identify EARLY PREDICTORS in an effort to reduce the number of low back pain (LBP) patients who go on to experience long-term disability. Researchers followed 1,885 low back injury claimants for a year and then later reviewed data collected during the first three weeks following their injury to identify anything that might predict a greater risk of work-related disability one year later.
According to their findings, the factors that increase the risk of work-related disability include: injury severity, the type of healthcare provider from which they initially sought treatment; worker-reported physical disability, the number of pain locations, work-related stress; no available option for job accommodation (such as light duty); and a prior injury involving a month or more off work.
Of note, one VERY important factor mentioned in the study was the type of healthcare practitioner (HCP) the injured worker first consulted with for treatment. Those who sought chiropractic care initially were far less likely to become disabled (only 5%) than those who first visited doctors who specialize in primary care (12%), occupational medicine (26%), or “other” disciplines (23%).
Studies have also noted additional benefits by seeking chiropractic care for work-related musculoskeletal injuries versus other forms of healthcare delivery, as chiropractic care reduces the likelihood for extended time off work, results in less total healthcare costs, higher quality of life, fewer medications, fewer emergency department visits, and higher levels of patient satisfaction.
In addition, LBP Guidelines published in the United States and around the world consistently recommend spinal manipulation as a FIRST form of care for most types of low back pain based on these findings. We all have the option of seeking the type of care that we believe will best solve our problem. But with the findings reported in this and many other studies, evidence STRONGLY supports that seeking chiropractic IS the logical FIRST choice!