Seeing a chiropractor first saves United Health Care millions of dollars in the treatment of back pain.


Optum Health has collected data over the past two years regarding the cost of treating back pain at the NASEM (National Academy of Sciences ) titled: “The Role of Nonpharmacological Approaches to Pain Management,” outlining the tremendous efficacy and cost savings associated with chiropractic and other forms of conservative care for spinal episodes; and the two-year plan to impact the 125 million consumers.


Dr. Elton said that it is time to recognize we no longer need any data to show using a chiropractor as a first contact for a lower back pain episode is much cheaper than any medical specialist or primary care provider for lower back pain.   Using a primary medical doctor for the initiation of the episode segments the care, adds costs and medication, and according to the Annals of Internal Medicine should be a secondary approach.


The data proves action needs to be taken now to make it less expensive to see a non-pharmacological care provider such as a Doctor of Chiropractic. He even goes on to say that barriers such as co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs should be waived for better access.


Dr. Elton believes it is time for action on this data which shows the immediate need for patients to be steered to the most cost-effective providers with the least risk first.   He also believes that patients should be able to access those providers whose offices are convenient for them to get to quickly and easily through an online portal.

Chiropractic treatment has been found to save patients and insurance companies money in several ways:

  1. Reduced need for medication: Chiropractic care is a non-invasive and drug-free approach to treating musculoskeletal pain, which means patients are less likely to need expensive prescription medications to manage their symptoms.

  2. Lower healthcare costs: Research has shown that patients who receive chiropractic care for back pain have lower overall healthcare costs than those who receive traditional medical care, due in part to fewer hospitalizations and surgeries.

  3. Improved productivity: By relieving pain and improving mobility, chiropractic care can help patients return to work more quickly after an injury or illness, which can reduce lost wages and other costs associated with missed work.

  4. Prevention of future injuries: Chiropractors not only treat existing injuries but also work with patients to prevent future injuries through education on proper posture, ergonomics, and exercise. This can help reduce the risk of costly injuries and illnesses in the future.

Overall, chiropractic treatment can be a cost-effective and safe option for patients and insurance companies alike, providing relief from pain and reducing the need for more expensive medical interventions.