Chiropractic care could reduce workers compensation costs, study suggests
The Newfoundland and Labrador Chiropractic Association is touting a recent study that says seeing a chiropractor first for a workplace injury gets workers back on the job faster.
Dr. Darrell Wade, CEO of the association, said the September 2016 study analyzed data from more than 5,500 injured workers in Ontario.
“What it found was that the initial provider of care for back pain was a very strong determinant of the duration of financial compensation for at least the first five months of the claim,” he told CBC Radio’s On the Go.
The study, published in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, found that workers who saw a chiropractor first, rather than a physician or a physiotherapist, needed full compensation for a shorter time.
“What they found was that people who had seen a chiropractor first had seen about a 20 per cent less cost in these claims over those who visited their family physician,” he said.
The study involved more than 5,000 injured workers in Ontario, comparing time lost depending on which health care professional they saw first. (CBC)
A majority of workplace injuries are related to joints and muscles, making chiropractors a logical choice for the first visit, said Wade.
“Getting to the person who is most adequately equipped to treat your injury in the first place is what really accounts for the reductions in lost time from work and compensation costs,” he said.
In the study, done by researchers at the University of Montreal, just 11 per cent of the workers saw a chiropractor first, and Wade says that percentage would be less in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It does speak to a great potential for improvement in our system, were we to use chiropractors more as the front line for musculoskeletal injuries, in particular, back pain,” he said.
“All too often these patients are not getting to us until three months after an injury and at that point the chance of success decreases significantly.”