Research: What Happens If You Go To A Chiropractor Before Going To A Medical Doctor?

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Now, before the medical folks get to riled up, I’m not proposing that we need to be primary doctors here.

This research paper tested spinal, shoulder, and hip problems. Not coughs and sneezes, etc..

My goal in highlighting research such as this is not to denigrate or put down the medical profession. I’ve said it a million times but I like to be vigilant in my support of the medical profession. The medical field has made astounding advances over the years and you simply cannot be overstated.

However, I believe that the medical field has never generated any really solid ideas as to properly managing more simple musculoskeletal disorders. If they are honest, they will agree that they have not received adequate orthopedic or neurologic training in regards to assessing musculoskeletal or biomechanical inconsistencies.

What happens when you go to the medical doctor for low back pain, neck pain, or even shoulder pain?

You may get x-rays if the pain is serious enough. You may get a proper orthopedic exam assuming the medical doctor was trained and has kept up with that training. What you will almost certainly get, assuming nothing is broken, is muscle relaxers, pain killers, and/or anti-inflammatories. If they deem the complaint serious enough, the “complaint can” may get kicked down to the Physical Therapist.

With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at this research that highlights the BIG THREE: patient satisfaction, cost, and effectiveness of treatment. Before I begin, I want to thank Dr. Craig Benton down in Lampasas, TX ( for bringing this research to my attention. This article can also be found on the most recent cover of Dynamic Chiropractic.

Why They Did It

The goal was to find out the differences in the effectiveness of chiropractic in relation to traditional medical treatment, to estimate patient satisfaction, and to estimate the costs differences for spinal, hip, and shoulder pain complaints.

How They Did It

  • The study included 403 patients that had seen Medical Doctors first.
  • ​The study included 316 patients that and seen a Chiropractor first.
  • Related health care costs were determined in a subsample of patients by reviewing the claims database of a Swiss insurance provider
  • A self-rated questionnaire was filled out by patients with spinal, hip, and shoulder problems who 4 months previously had contacted Swiss telemedicine provider regarding direction for their complaint.

What They Found

  • Patient that went to the Medical Doctor first had less pain relief.
  • Patients initially seeing the Medical Doctor first were much less likely to be satisfied with the care they got.
  • ​Patients initially seeing the Medical Doctor first were mush less satisfied with the outcome of the treatment.
  • ​The mean costs per patient over 4 moths were much lower for Chiropractic patients.

Wrap It Up

“Spinal, hip, and shoulder pain patients had clinically similar pain relief, greater satisfaction levels, and lower overall cost if they initiated care with DCs, when compared with those who initiated care with MDs.”

And, via my colleague, Dr. Craig Benton, “Just to clarify total MD care costs $1144.79. Total chiropractic costs $672.49.”

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY

Research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, in comparison to the traditional medical model, patients get good or excellent results with Chiropractic. Chiropractic care is safe, more cost-effective, it decreases your chances of having surgery, and it reduces your chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically. In addition, we can do it with minimal time requirements and minimal hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, we can likely keep it that way while raising your general, overall level of health!

We have seen time and time again the amazing effectiveness of chiropractic for issues such as neck out of alignment, hips out of alignment, back alignment, lower back alignment hip out of alignment, back out of alignment, etc… We have just about seen it all.Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.

And….SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!! We cannot make a difference without your help.

Till next time……

The Amarillo Chiropractor Blog is written by Dr. Jeff Williams.

Amarillo TX Amarillo Pain & Accident Chiropractic Clinic provides customized chiropractic care to the Amarillo, Canyon, Pampa, Happy, White Deer, Dumas, Groom, Conway, Panhandle, Claude, Clarendon, Borger, Tulia, Hereford, Fritch, Bushland, and Vega communities. Visit our main website at for customized Chiropractic in Amarillo TX.

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by Jeff S. Williams, D.C.
Chiropractor in Amarillo
Accident Chiropractic
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