These times are tough for everyone. Even our government is feeling the financial pinch. One of the biggest portions of the government and our budget tends to be health care. There should be a method to save some money in those areas. A study demonstrates that people who chose a chiropractor as their primary care physician (PCP) spent a significantly lower amount of money on their healthcare.
In the state of MN chiropractors are considered PCP, and that means that Chiropractors specialize in a nonpharmaceutical and nonsurgical approach to healthcare. They have also undergone credentialing that exceeds the existing National Committee for Quality Assurance requirements for Complementary and Alternative Medicine providers. A chiropractor must have at least 120 credits of undergraduate education (most have an undergraduate degree). They then must be accepted into chiropractic school, and receive a doctorate in chiropractic. This takes most students of chiropractic 6-8 years depending on whether they took classes over the summer months.
Why is it then that chiropractic patients spend less money on healthcare? This study does not go into that issue, but I will try to elaborate. As a chiropractor I try to find out WHY a patient is having a certain condition BEFORE I try to help them get rid of their condition’s symptoms. This means that I am not just throwing water on a bonfire hoping the coals don’t flare back up much worse than before. Another way of putting it is that I try to find the source of the problem and not just treat the symptoms of the problem.
Let’s just take one example. Say a patient is having back pain. The intervention elsewhere may be some Ibuprofen or a muscle relaxer. Perhaps the back pain was coming from a vertebrae that was not functioning properly. The ibuprofen and muscle relaxer may have helped with the pain, but the function is still not ideal. This may lead to a posture problem in the hips. This changes the Q angle of the knee. Three years later the loss of proper function of that knee causes that knee to be shot. Now the patient has to get surgery. As a chiropractor I take great pride in getting rid of that back problem safely without drugs to cover up the actual problem. In the made up case I would have saved that patient the misery of knee surgery, and I would have saved the healthcare system loads of money.
Obviously this is just a hypothetical, but hopefully it leads the reader to the direction of why these patients in the study would save such large amounts money on healthcare. However, there is another factor that is in play here. Chiropractors actually receive more education hours about nutrition than medical doctors. That means that they are in tune with how to use the diet to PREVENT things like diabetes and heart disease. They can also use non-drug methods to support medical care of patients with these types of problems. Prevention is far more cost-effective than treatment of diseases. In fact my personal blog gives tidbits about nutrition on a weekly basis.
Chiropractic may not be the solution to saving our country from the healthcare burden, but according to peer-reviewed literature it should be explored more frequently to save more money. In this economy this ounce of prevention may be worth WAY more than a pound of treatment. That is my take on Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote.