A release dated October 1, 2014, in Businesswire from the American Chiropractic Association announces that October is National Chiropractic Health Month. The release states that the objective of National Chiropractic Health Month is to be working with “…more than 130,000 doctors of chiropractic (DCs), chiropractic assistants (CAs) and chiropractic doctoral students nationwide to help educate the public and policymakers about the value of a ‘conservative care first’ approach to health care.”
The release notes that this approach to health care encourages emphasis on more cost-effective and safer approaches over potentially addictive medications for pain management and health enhancement. “People need complete information about their treatment options,” said ACA President Anthony Hamm, DC. “During National Chiropractic Health Month, DCs are encouraging patients to ask questions and learn about safe, effective conservative approaches that may help them avoid riskier and more costly treatments.”
The release states three reasons why “Conservative Care First” is an important strategy when dealing with health care issues.
- Chiropractic physicians are the highest-rated healthcare practitioners for low-back pain treatments with their patient-centered, whole-person approach that provides greater interaction and communication for appropriate diagnosis and developing more cost-effective treatment planning.
- Numerous recent studies have clearly shown the dangerous over reliance in the U.S. on prescription painkillers that simply mask pain. This has tremendously increased Americans’ risk for overuse and abuse of these drugs if taken for long periods, leading to more than 17,000 related deaths in 2010 (more than heroin and cocaine combined). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the abuse of prescription pain medications an “epidemic.”
- Recent evidence questions the overuse–and in some cases the effectiveness–of more invasive treatments such as spinal fusion surgery and spinal steroid injections for back pain. It is reasonable for patients to exhaust more conservative options before undergoing these costly procedures.
One of the benefits pointed out by the release for Conservative Care First, is a statistic showing the likelihood of surgery for workers with back injury. The release points out that when an MD or surgeon is the point of first contact for these injured workers, the rate of surgery is 42.7%. This is far more than the 1.5% who eventually have surgery when the point of first contact was a chiropractor. This translates into a much safer and more affordable outcome for injured workers.