David I. Graber, DC, DACBSP
There is a subtle, steady, and consistent wave of change in the consumer demand for healthcare going on in the country that is receiving far too little attention by the Chiropractic profession. While most of the news focuses on the sorry state of healthcare in the United States, the changes in coding (ie. ICD-10), HIPPA and compliance regulations, and the problems of Obamacare and Medicare, we are overlooking the development of the largest market demand for our services in the history of our profession. That is, the growing epidemic of low back pain (LBP) and neck pain (NP).
While we don’t want to be pigeonholed into solely caring for patients back and neck pain and we have a philosophy of health that is holistic and empowering, the market alone for spinal pain care is significant and growing.
The Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study found that out of 291 conditions studied LBP ranked #1 in terms of disability and 6th in terms of overall burden. Neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability as measured, and 21st in terms of overall burden. Estimates are that at any given time 10 -50% of people suffer from back pain! With an aging population, the sedentary lifestyle and psychosocial stresses on our younger generation, and the growing use of technology devices that encourage poor posture, there’s no indication that this situation will improve.
Chiropractic physicians have a treatment and prevention approach that is one of the few that offer effective relief and management for people with back and neck pain conditions that are mostly mechanical in nature. It doesn’t matter what philosophy you espouse, what theory of spinal dysfunction and adjustment you follow, how charismatic your personality is, or your use of any special equipment to achieve results with most cases of back and neck pain (though it can help in many situations). What does matter is your degree of clinical excellence! Your confidence and ability to deliver clinical results, and to educate and encourage spinal health in your patients are the foundation to serving the needs of these millions of people seeking help from their suffering and disability. The ANJC Council on Chiropractic Technique and Clinical Excellence will continue to be your ally in developing these critical skills!
Originally published in The New Jersey Chiropractor, Summer, 2015