My clients and I have been saying it for years, but workers’ compensation chooses to ignore it. Now, a recent study conducted by medical and healthcare professionals outside the chiropractic profession concludes chiropractic care to be more effective for common, work-related, low back pain, when compared to treatment by a physical therapist or physician. Overall, chiropractic patients illustrated lower medical expenses, fewer disability recurrences and shorter initial periods of disability.
Florida workers’ compensation law caps chiropractic care at 24 treatments or 12 weeks from the date of the first chiropractic treatment, whichever comes first, but has no limit on the number of injections, prescription medication or other forms of care under workers’ compensation.
In the study, researchers compared disability episodes across types of healthcare providers who treat claimants with new episodes of work-related lower back pain. After an analysis of 894 workers’ compensation cases, it was concluded that the preventive healthcare, predominantly and explicitly recommended by chiropractic doctors, is associated with lower disability recurrences. In this study, a recurrent disability is defined as the resumption of at least 15 consecutive days of temporary total disability payments following the health maintenance stage — the period following a patient’s recovery and restoration of optimal health.
Ten percent of patients experienced recurrent disability due to lower back pain between initial disabilities and the subsequent return-to-work or healthcare phase. The study concluded that those treated mostly by chiropractors showed consistently better outcomes, less use of opioids, and had fewer surgeries, with overall lower medical expenses.
Even with this study, I don’t expect to see changes in Florida’s workers’ compensation law. No changes will occur until the legislature and big business put the injured worker first when designing a law that takes away rights of the injured worker.
The study can be found at “Health Maintenance Care in Work-Related Low Back Pain and Its Association with Disability Recurrence,” (Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, April 2011, Vol. 53 Is. 4, p: 396-404)
Attorney Matthew Noyes has represented Florida workers’ compensation claimants for over 15 years. If you or a friend has been injured at work, there are some benefits that you are entitled to under Florida workers’ compensation. However, the procedure to obtain these benefits can be complex. Click here for a free case consultation with Attorney Matthew Noyes.