Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
N Engl J Med. 1995 Oct 5;333(14):913-7.

The outcomes and costs of care for acute low back pain among patients seen by primary care practitioners, chiropractors, and orthopedic surgeons. The North Carolina Back Pain Project.

Author information

  • 1Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7590, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients with back pain receive quite different care from different types of health care practitioners. We performed a prospective observational study to determine whether the outcomes of and charges for care differ among primary care practitioners, chiropractors, and orthopedic surgeons.

METHODS:

Two hundred eight practitioners in North Carolina were randomly selected from six strata: urban primary care physicians (n = 39), rural primary care physicians (n = 48), urban chiropractors (n = 32), rural chiropractors (n = 32), orthopedic surgeons (n = 29), and primary care providers at a group-model health maintenance organization (HMO) (n = 28). The practitioners enrolled consecutive patients with acute low back pain. The patients were contacted by telephone periodically for up to 24 weeks to assess functional status, work status, use of health care services, and satisfaction with the care received.

RESULTS:

The status at six months was ascertained for 1555 of the 1633 patients enrolled in the study (95 percent). The times to functional recovery, return to work, and complete recovery from low back pain were similar among patients seen by all six groups of practitioners, but there were marked differences in the use of health care services. The mean total estimated outpatient charges were highest for the patients seen by orthopedic surgeons and chiropractors and were lowest for the patients seen by HMO and primary care providers. Satisfaction was greatest among the patients who went to the chiropractors.

CONCLUSIONS:

Among patients with acute low back pain, the outcomes are similar whether they receive care from primary care practitioners, chiropractors, or orthopedic surgeons. Primary care practitioners provide the least expensive care for acute low back pain.

Comment in

PMID:
7666878
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk