Picking the right doctor could be useful.

A researcher out of Georgetown University recently concluded that, “Spinal medicine in the U.S. is a poster child for inefficient spine care.” I was relieved after reading it that he wasn’t referring to chiropractors. I have to admit that I smiled when it was stated that primary care physicians are inept at treating muscular skeletal complaints. A little icing on the cake was that they don’t read or follow guidelines and order unnecessary drugs that they were warned not to prescribe. It just gets better for chiropractors that primary physicians suggest surgery more than surgeons, so I’d say it is a safe bet they are very lost on the subject of back pain.

Incidents of low back pain increased 29 percent between 2000-2007. Chronic low back pain jumped to 64%. That equates to a 129% increase in real dollars spent to remedy it. ($15.6 billion to $35.7 billion) While on the subject of money, the average total health expenditure per person with spine problems in the United States was 73 percent greater than for individuals in other countries. The prescribing of drugs that don’t work was considered to be the greatest cost of these expenditures.

But now how much would you pay? Don’t answer yet. When not getting prescribed medication that do not work, you could be busy receiving surgery. There was a 77 percent increase in spinal fusions in the U.S. from 1996-2001, at approximately $34,000 each. When fusing a bone, there usually is a site from where they get the bone graft from and that location is usually on the patient and it can have nasty side effects, such as death, or said another way, post operative mortality at 6 weeks doubles. But if you’re not luckier enough to die you can be left with chronic pain.

A long time ago, Congress realized that 17.6% of all surgeries in the U.S. were unnecessary. Like everything else in our country that number has probably gotten bigger.

The third most common reason for a visit to a medical doctor is back pain. After reading the above, I think people would want to try a different way, a better way. It’s called Chiropractic.

Greg Malakoff Linkedin