Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pilot Project Has Family Docs Consulting With Chiropractors

 Photograph by: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images, The Windsor Star

The results of a pilot project by the Ministry of Health to get family doctors to work with chiropractors in family care teams showed doctors requested fewer MRIs and made fewer referrals to surgeons for their patients with low back problems.

The ‘Consulting Chiropractor’ pilot project had chiropractors do 30-minute assessments of patients with low back pain and discuss the treatment options with the patient’s family doctor. Environics Research Group and the Ontario Chiropractic Association then polled participating family physicians.

Aside from fewer tests and referrals, the doctors reported that having the chiropractor in their team made for quicker turnaround and boosted patients’ confidence in the diagnosis and treatment options.

“Back pain is a common problem that causes significant disability,” said Jan Kasperski, who heads the Ontario College of Family Physicians, in a statement on Tuesday. “Better management of these patients by family doctors supported by the expertise of various healthcare professionals such as chiropractors and physiotherapists is a solution that will ensure Ontarians with back pain will receive the best care possible.”

According to the OCA, about three quarters of family doctors in Ontario are already referring their patients to chiropractors and more than 80 per cent of Ontario’s working population is affected by low back pain, which is the second-most popular cause of lost work time after the common cold.

Data from the OCA shows low back pain costs $1.2 billion each year in Ontario alone in direct and indirect costs. Low back pain is second only to heart disease as the main cause of chronic health problems and long-term disability.

Also listen to this Audio Clip from

Working Together

Matt Galloway spoke about the co-operation between doctors and chiropractors, with Bob Haig, he is CEO of the Ontario Chiropractic Association, and with Jan Kasperski.  She is CEO of the Ontario College of Family Physicians.

Listen audio (runs 8:56)