Recent Pilot project shows quicker access to treatment and faster
diagnoses for low back pain patients when using chiropractors in teams
with family physicians
TORONTO, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Low back pain is a major health issue in
Ontario. It affects 84 per cent of the working population at some
point in their life and is second only to the common cold as a cause of
lost work time. According to new research Ontarians and physicians are
open to new ways to deal with back pain. Less than one in five
Ontarians say their back pain is resolved quickly and easily, with a
majority being in favour of including chiropractors in teams with
family physicians for the management of their back pain - and family
New research from the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) conducted
by Environics Research Group shows the vast majority (93 per cent) of
family physicians frequently treat patients with low back pain and more
than half (55 per cent) find it challenging to treat these patients on
their own. Three-quarters (75 per cent) say they think their patients
suffering from low back pain could benefit from treatment options
offered by other healthcare professionals.
"Chronic low back pain patients are commonly referred to orthopedic
surgeons, even though about 90 per cent are not surgical candidates.
They are also often referred for unnecessary expensive diagnostic
services such as MRIs," says Dr. Robert Haig, Chief Executive Officer
of the Ontario Chiropractic Association. "We believe that by
collaborating with family physicians to deliver evidence-informed low
back pain care, we can provide patient-centred, positive results for
Ontarians. This is why we pilot tested the Ministry of Health long
Term Care funded 'Consulting Chiropractor' model of care."
The OCA pilot project evaluated the benefits of involving chiropractors
in a primary care team-based setting, by assessing patients with low
back pain, and discussing treatment options with the patient's family
Results of the pilot project showed that a 30-minute assessment from a
chiropractor resulted in a reduction in requests for MRIs and referrals
to surgical specialists as reported by the participating family
physicians. From the perspective of the participating family
physicians a quick turnaround between them and the chiropractor
resulted in increased patient confidence in diagnosis and treatment
Currently, Ontarians are seeking treatment from a variety of healthcare
providers for their back pain, such as chiropractors, physiotherapists,
specialist physicians and registered massage therapists. Three
quarters (74 per cent) think it would be a better use of our healthcare
dollars if professionals such as chiropractors were used more in teams
with family physicians.
"Across the province, family doctors are starting to work in innovative
and collaborative ways with other healthcare professionals. There is so
much more that we can do when we work in teams", says Jan Kasperski,
Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario College of Family Physicians.
"Back pain is a common problem that causes significant disability.
Better management of these patients by family doctors supported by the
expertise of various healthcare professionals such as chiropractors and
physiotherapists is a solution that will ensure Ontarians with back
pain will receive the best care possible."
Collaboration is already happening in a number of ways across the
province, with over 74% of family physicians referring to chiropractorsi , and that number is increasing.
"The Drummond Report and the Ministry's own Action Plan make it clear
that patient-centred, collaborative care is the way of the future,"
says Dr. Robert Haig. "We are encouraged by this language, and the
results of our recent studies demonstrate that this is what Ontarians,
and family physicians, want too."
Back Pain is a major health issue for Ontario
Low back is a major cause of healthcare expenditure with direct and
indirect costs amounting to $1.2 billion a year in Ontario alone.ii
At any given point in time, 15 per cent of the population suffers from
chronic low back pain. iii
Low back problems are second only to cardiovascular disease as a major
cause of chronic health problems & long term disabilityiv
About the Studies: Methodology
The Ontario Chiropractic Association conducted two separate studies, one
with Ontario residents and one with Ontario family physicians to gauge
their attitudes towards using other healthcare providers, including
chiropractors, as part of a multidisciplinary team to manage low back
pain. The physician study was completed online from April 26, 2012 to
May 7, 2012 using Environics Research Group's online physician panel. A
total of 100 general practitioners / family physician from Ontario
participated in the survey. A probability sample of the same size
would yield a margin of error of ±9.76 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
The Ontario resident survey was completed online from April 25, 2012 to
May 7, 2012 using Environics Research Group's online panel. A total of
1,231 Ontario residents participated in the study. A probability
sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±2.79 per
cent, 19 times out of 20.
About The Ontario Chiropractic Association
Founded in 1929, the Ontario Chiropractic Association represents the
professional interests of more than 3,200 Ontario chiropractors.
Chiropractic is a non-invasive, hands-on health care discipline that
focuses on treatment and preventative care for disorders related to the
spine, pelvis, nervous system and joints. Chiropractors are primary
care practitioners, trained to develop and carry out a comprehensive
treatment/management plan, recommend therapeutic exercise and other
non-invasive therapies, and provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle
counseling. More than two million Ontarians rely on chiropractic care
every year to help them get back to work and back to doing the things
they love. For more information about chiropractic care or to find a
chiropractor in your area, go to www.chiropractic.on.ca.
Notes To Editors
According to Health Force Ontario, 'Team Based Care' is the provision of
comprehensive health services to patients by multiple health caregivers
who work collaboratively to deliver quality care within and across
i Busse JW, Canga A, Riva JJ, Viggiani D, Dilauro M, Kapend PI, Harvey
M-P, Pagé I, Moore A, Gauthier CA, Price DJ. Attitudes towards
Chiropractic: A Survey of Canadian Family Physicians. Accepted for an
oral presentation at the 2011 Family Medicine Forum. Montreal, Canada.
November 3-5, 2011.
ii Ontario Chiropractic Association, 2004. Manga P, Angus D, et al.
(1993). The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic
management of low-back pain. Statistics Canada. Health status of
Canadians: Report of the 1991 General Social Survey, Ottawa, 1994.
iii Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD1, Vijay Singh, MD2, Sukdeb Datta, MD3, Steven
P. Cohen, MD4, and Joshua A. Hirsch, MD5, Comprehensive Review of
Epidemiology, Scope,and Impact of Spinal Pain, 2009.
iv Stokes J, Desjardins S, et al. Economic Burden in Health Canada.
Arthritis in Canada: An ongoing challenge. Ottawa: Health Canada, 2003 (Cat. # H39-4/14-2003E), pp.
SOURCE Ontario Chiropractic Association
For further information:
Ontario Chiropractic Association