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Treating Back Pain in Baby Boomers Threatens to Bankrupt the Healthcare System
Date:3/26/2013

r chronic back pain averaging 9 years, which was able to achieve significant and sustained improvements in pain severity and function while withdrawing opioid usage. Townsend’s group notes that doctors treating back pain need to cooperate in developing multi-disciplinary guidelines that identify and encourage the delivery of the most efficient and cost-effective care.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) through its health plan has already taken steps in that direction. Realizing the high failure rate and extensive costs of surgery, the university has studied ways to increase success and minimize costs in treating chronic low back pain. On January 1, 2012, the health plan implemented a clinical initiative stating:

“To be considered for surgery, patients with chronic low back pain must have:

  •     Tried and failed a 3-month course of conservative management, which includes physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and medication.
  •     Completed UPMC Health Plan’s Low Back Pain Health Coaching Program.”
“This policy was developed using evidence-based literature and professional society guidelines, as well as the input of external medical professionals with expertise in the area”

To quote Dr. J G Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP, “The results of Chiropractic in the treatment of lower back pain have spoken for themselves in the reduction of time lost from work, reduction of healthcare costs and time off work, increased successful results, and patient satisfaction. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has taken the lead in what doctors should have always been focused on: what is best for the patient.”

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