Chiropractics: The Alternative To Pills

In the past several years insurance companies have become increasingly interested in forms of physical therapy that can replace the use of pain killer prescriptions. This focus on “outcome-based” approaches is part of an initiative to promote cost-cutting means towards health.

But apparently the public doesn’t need much convincing from insurance giants, as past research shows that more than 70% of older adults are already using some form of alternative medicine. This development is thought to be primarily motivated by a need to save money. It’s no secret that traditional western medical care can be prohibitively expensive. Alternative medicine offers a low cost alternative for many who are seeking remedies for chronic ailments, that would cost huge amounts of money if traditional channels were used. 

And it’s not just patients who are looking for lower cost alternatives for medical care. Doctors are also in favor of less expensive medical solutions. While expensive techniques like MRI scanning, EMG reports for nerve functioning, potent painkillers, and trigger-point injections can be highly effective, alternative methods only broaden the range of options doctors can put to use.

For example, decades of medical research now show that yoga is an effective method for relieving low back pain, managing knee osteoarthritis, and stress reduction. For doctors not to include this beneficial practice as a low cost supplement to other treatments would be negligent.

But yoga is only one method of alternative treatment for pain management. A whole spectrum of these types of treatments runs from physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, the cold laser, and acupuncture. A new development being used by medical professionals is to combine these alternative therapies into a regimen tailored to particular patients and their idiosyncratic symptoms. This synergy can insure that a patient is given a well-rounded treatment plan that doesn’t overlook any possibilities for healing. For example, someone complaining of low back pain can be given non steroidal anti-inflammatories and trigger-point injections supplied by a traditional western medical doctor combined with visiting a chiropractor, physical therapy, learning some yoga pastures, etc., to quicken recovery. Because these methods are comparatively inexpensive they provide a realistic alternative to extensive traditional care.

Some cases are so extreme that therapy like chiropractic or yoga at first appear far beyond the capability of the patient. Loren Fishman, MD relates his own experience with using alternative methods with a patient who came to see him with a hunched over back from years of sitting in front of a computer all day. To begin he gave her some injections for immediate relief, then sent her for a massage. For the long term he wrote up a plan for physical therapy that included adjustment to the spine, much like chiropractic care. By the end of a month the patient stopped coming for treatments because she had been cured.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Sohel Parvez Haque