Dr. Matthew Gianforte

The Evidence Based Approach to Back Pain

As the cost, disabled workers, and opioid addictions rise, the entire medical community is looking for the best approach to back pain. While many are looking for the “next big thing” in spine care, those who are on the forefront of spine care research are looking back to the 100 year profession of chiropractic care. When frequency of recurrence, time spent out of work, and improvement of spine related health issues is followed over time, chiropractic care is now considered the best Evidence Based approach.

Yet, only about 15% of Americans use chiropractic care while 80% of Americans suffers from back pain and opioid addiction related to pain medications has increased 500% over the past 7 years. A recent study verifying chiropractic are as the best first line therapy for spine issues, noted the solutions are not found in giving more prescriptions to an “already over-drugged society.”  The first referral for all spine issues besides fracture, tumor, or infection should be a functional chiropractor. Chiropractors have for decades been the most qualified practitioner to address mechanical problems of the spine, and there is no drug for mechanical a problem.

The Research

In a study including over 5,500 people the duration and recurrence of low back pain were followed to compare the outcomes from medical physicians (MD and DO), chiropractors, and physical therapy. Choosing a chiropractor first for spinal care resulted in the shortest duration of symptoms compared with medical doctors and physical therapy. Those who saw chiropractors first were less likely to be work disabled after 1 year compared to the other types of practitioners. Lower risk of recurrent disability was also proven to be with the care of a chiropractor. This study also concluded:

  • 250% decrease in disability duration of first episode with chiropractic care compared to medical physician’s care
  • 30% decrease in opioid use during care with chiropractic care compared to medical physician care
  • 21% decrease in weekly cost of medical care from chiropractic care compared to medical physician care.

The Lancet, one of the oldest and most respected medical journals, recently published a 3-part series on low back pain. This research working group was comprised of multiple medical disciplines including medical doctors and chiropractors. The studies found treatments that should be the very last options are most often the first line treatment given. It also uncovered a big gap between treatments that have been proven effective and the treatments that are actually used. The study notes the “limited use of recommended first-line treatments and inappropriately high use of imaging, rest, opioids, spinal injections and surgery,” when chiropractic care and exercise have more proven positive outcomes.

Just like any other profession, there are exceptional professionals that stand out in their field through their continued learning and high quality results, and there are those who simply get by doing bare minimum after their initial training. The team at LifeWorks Integrative Health is relentless in the pursuit if exceptional care and we strive to be the best at what we do. Not all chiropractors are created equal which is why we welcome you to work with us.  

Why Chiropractic Care?

The research regarding the best way forward for spine health proves the Evidence Based Approach for spine care is chiropractic treatment for any primary spine event. Entire hospital systems including emergency medicine, primary care physicians, and Orthopedists now refer directly to highly qualified, experienced chiropractors as the first treatment for spine issues, particularly low back pain. Many chiropractors more accurately read MRI related to morphology of the intervertebral disks than general radiologists. If you or someone you love suffers from back pain, consider these reasons to choose chiropractic care at LifeWorks Integrative Health first:

Proven Results

Within the chiropractic community evidence of positive outcomes such as pain relief, increased mobility, and improvement in overall health has been clearly proven and defined for decades. It some respects, it has taken the failure of the current healthcare system for other medical disciplines to collaborate with the chiropractic community in new and welcomed ways. Chiropractors get faster, more comprehensive, and longer lasting results for back pain than medical doctors and physical therapists.

Most Qualified

No other medical professional studies the spine as the foundational premise for whole body health. Chiropractors are in a role in the medical community that no other profession can accomplish when it comes to spine health. It is no different than seeing a cardiologist for your heart health or a therapist for your mental health or a dentist for your dental health. Chiropractors are the practitioner for spine health.  

Reduces Healthcare Burden

Two issues stand out in all medical literature as huge burdens on the current healthcare system. 1) Low back pain and 2) Opioid addiction. As medical professionals, community partners, government officials, and concerned citizens come together around the healthcare crisis in America is evident that two of the issues actively draining the resources of the conventional healthcare system are better suited for the care of chiropractors. A PCP is not the right fit for spine care, their offices are already over extended, and they are not specialized in the spine. Your visit to a PCP for back pain will most likely result in a referral out, a prescription, or both.

Best Hope For Opioid Crisis

As we have followed the opioid epidemic it is clear when the smartest, most innovative, and passionate healthcare, community and political professionals come together to find solutions, there are generally three conclusions made: 1) the prescription writing has to stop; 2) medical doctors do not have viable alternatives to prescriptions at their disposal; 3) chiropractors and other alternative therapies are the best option for managing and solving pain.

The evidence based approach to spine care is chiropractic care, and LifeWorks Integrative Health is your chiropractic team specializing in functional chiropractic and functional medicine. Our comprehensive team of chiropractors, physician assistant, registered nurse, and rehab specialists provide in depth assessments of your health issues and provide personalized care plans specifically for you. We are passionate about what we do, committed to your health, and relentless in the pursuit of providing the best healthcare available.


  1. Admin. “Chiropractic Verified as Primary Spine Care Providers – US Chiropractic Directory.” National Directory of Chiropractors and Chiropractic Clinics – US Chiropractic Directory,www.uschirodirectory.com
  2. Blanchette, Marc-André, et al. “Association Between the Type of First Healthcare Provider and the Duration of Financial Compensation for Occupational Back Pain.” Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, vol. 27, no. 3, 2016, pp. 382–392., doi:10.1007/s10926-016-9667-9.
  3. Buchbinder, Rachelle, et al. “Low Back Pain: a Call for Action.” The Lancet, vol. 391, no. 10137, 2018, pp. 2384–2388., doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(18)30488-4.
  4. Cifuentes, Manuel, et al. “Health Maintenance Care in Work-Related Low Back Pain and Its Association With Disability Recurrence.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, vol. 53, no. 4, 2011, pp. 396–404., doi:10.1097/jom.0b013e31820f3863.
  5. Clark, Stephanie, and Richard Horton. “Low Back Pain: a Major Global Challenge.” The Lancet, vol. 391, no. 10137, 2018, p. 2302., doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(18)30725-6.
  6. Foster, Nadine E, et al. “Prevention and Treatment of Low Back Pain: Evidence, Challenges, and Promising Directions.” The Lancet, vol. 391, no. 10137, 2018, pp. 2368–2383., doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(18)30489-6.
  7. Hartvigsen, Jan, et al. “What Low Back Pain Is and Why We Need to Pay Attention.” The Lancet, vol. 391, no. 10137, 2018, pp. 2356–2367., doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(18)30480-x.
  8. Herzog, Richard, et al. “Variability in Diagnostic Error Rates of 10 MRI Centers Performing Lumbar Spine MRI Examinations on the Same Patient within a 3-Week Period.” The Spine Journal, vol. 17, no. 4, 2017, pp. 554–561., doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2016.11.009.
  9. Kounang, Nadia. “Opioid Addiction Rates Continue to Skyrocket.” CNN, Cable News Network, 30 June 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/06/29/health/opioid-addiction-rates-increase-500/index.html.

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