A study published in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), documented that patients who initially saw a chiropractor for common back pain conditions saved a considerable amount of money in total costs than did those who initiated care with an MD.
In this study, researchers performed an actuarial review of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee's general health plans claims between October 1, 2004, and September 30, 2006. They looked at a group of people within the plan who had open access to MDs and DCs without needing referrals, and had no limits on the number of MD/DC visits allowed by the policy and who had no differences in insurance co-pays. The researchers then compared the costs of those who sought chiropractic care first for their episode compared to those who first went to an MD for their care.
The results of the study showed that the cost of care for those who went to a chiropractor first was almost 40 percent less than the cost for those who went to an MD first.
In their conclusion the authors of the study wrote, "This study provides a unique opportunity to evaluate an insured population with open access (including identical co-pays and deductibles) and an unlimited number of visits to providers via self-referral. Our results support a growing body of evidence that chiropractic treatment of low back pain is less expensive than traditional medical care."