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Study Finds Naturopathic Care for Chronic Low-Back Pain to be Efficacious, Cost-Effective
Date:3/12/2008

Workplace study shows naturopathic care resulted in an improvement in

health-related quality of life, lower costs, and reduced absenteeism

BOULDER, Colo., March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Naturopathic care is more cost-effective than a standardized physiotherapy-education regimen in the treatment of chronic low-back pain, according to a study in the March/April 2008 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by InnoVision Health Media.

Workers aged 18 to 65 years with clinical diagnoses of low-back pain of at least 6 weeks' duration were recruited from a warehouse site of a large corporation. Seventy-five participants were randomly assigned to receive 3 months of 30-minute, semi-weekly, onsite naturopathic-care visits (acupuncture, exercise and dietary advice, relaxation training, and a back-care educational booklet) or 3 months of 30-minute, bi-weekly, onsite control-group visits (standardized physiotherapy advice and the back-care educational booklet). All participants were told to continue their pain medications as needed. Participants' use of other adjunctive care (chiropractic care, massage, physiotherapy) was monitored.

Naturopathic-care participants had reduced absenteeism and tended to reduce adjunctive care -- resulting in savings in out-of-pocket costs of $1096 per participant. Conversely, control-group participants had slightly increased absenteeism and tended to increase adjunctive care. The naturopathic-care group experienced a statistically significant (P=.006) increase in quality-of-life years over the study period; the control group did not. Furthermore, naturopathic care resulted in a net reduction of 6.7 absenteeism days. Under the healthcare coverage limits set by the employer and assuming the employer paid the full cost of naturopathic care, the intervention cost $154 per absentee day avoided, compared to employer costs of lost productivity of $172 per day, and had a r
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SOURCE Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
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