When Chiropractic is Covered, Everyone Benefits

Low back pain and other spine, muscle and joint (musculoskeletal) conditions, such as neck and shoulder pain, affect 11 million Canadians annually and are estimated to cost the Canadian economy upwards of $22 billion each year, with injuries costing an additional $15 billion annually.¹ Low back pain in particular is the leading cause of disability in Canada.²

People who live with chronic diseases also commonly suffer from musculoskeletal conditions that contribute to pain and limit mobility. An estimated 60 per cent of COPD patients suffer from chronic pain³ and musculoskeletal pain is up to twice as likely to occur in people with type 2 diabetes.⁴


Of the plan members surveyed in the 2019 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey:

42%

have chronic pain, such as back pain

67%

have a chronic condition and/or chronic pain

89%

of those with chronic pain would like to know more about how to manage it

Chiropractors play an important role in helping the millions of people living with MSK conditions, having spent four years at an accredited chiropractic institution after graduating from a university degree and receiving more than 4,200 hours of specialized clinical training.

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Research shows the following economic and patient benefits of chiropractic care:

Employees who access chiropractic care tend to incur fewer costs because they are less likely to be prescribed medications or end up with complex medical procedures.[5]

Manual therapy is a common treatment used by chiropractors. It shows an economic advantage compared to other interventions used for managing spine, muscle or joint  (musculoskeletal) conditions.[6]

Patients receiving chiropractic care have lower disability recurrences and for shorter durations compared to patients receiving care from other health care professionals.[7]

The level of chronic pain reported by plan members is surprising and scary.

– 2019 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey Advisory Board Members

Recent guidelines, including from the American College of Physicians, recommend non-pharmacological treatments that chiropractors provide, such as spinal manipulation, for treatment of acute, sub-acute and chronic low back pain.⁸ The 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain recommends optimization of non-opioid pharmacotherapy and non-pharmacological therapy, rather than a trial of opioids (and provides the example of spinal manipulation therapy for back pain, neck pain, knee osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, severe headaches or migraines).⁹

Common Conditions Chiropractors Help With

  • Back, shoulder and neck pain
  • Strains ad sprains
  • Headaches and whiplash
  • Work and sports-related injuries
  • Arthritis pain including osteoarthritis of the hip and knee
  • Restricted movement in the back, shoulders, neck or limb

How Chiropractors Treat Pain and Musculoskeletal Conditions

  • Education to understand the condition and how to prevent pain or injury
  • Exercises for at-home and supervised in the clinic to help reduce pain, improve function and independence
  • Soft tissue therapy, which involves using hands to work on muscles, tendons or ligaments
  • Spinal manipulation therapy: hands-on joint movement to relieve pain and improve motion
  • Nutrition education: diet recommendations that can help with injury recovery and muscle and joint health
¹ Canadian Institute of Health Research. (2014). IMHA strategic plan 2014-2018: Enhancing musculoskeletal, skin and oral health.
² GBD 2017 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with
disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017.
The Lancet. 8 Nov 2018: 392
³ Roberts, M., Mapel, D., Hartry, A., Worley, A., & Thomson, H. (2013). Chronic pain and pain medication use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 10(4), 290-298.
201303-040OC#.VBxR5fldVqU
⁴ Molsted, S., Tribler, J., Snorgaard, O. (2012). Musculoskeletal pain in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 96,
135-140.
⁵ Allen, H., Wright, M., Craigh, T., Mardekian, J., Cheung, R., Sanchez, R., Bunn, W. and Rogers, W. (2014) Tracking low back problems in a major self-insured workforce: toward improvement in the patient’s journey. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(6), 604-620.
⁶ Tsertsvadze, A., Clar, C., Court, R., Clarke, A., Mistry, H. & Sutclife, P. (2014). Cost-effectiveness of manual therapy for the management of
musculoskeletal conditions: A systematic review and narrative synthesis of evidence from randomized controlled trials. Journal of Manipulative and
Physiological Therapeutics, 37(6), 343-362.
⁷ Allen, H., Wright, M., Craigh, T., Mardekian, J., Cheung, R., Sanchez, R., Bunn, W. and Rogers, W. (2014) Tracking low back problems in a major self-insured workforce: toward improvement in the patient’s journey. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(6), 604-620.
⁸ Qaseem, A., Wilt, T. J., McLean, R. M., & Forciea, M. A. (2017). Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical
Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain. Annals of
internal medicine, 166(7), 514-530.
⁹ Busse, J. (2017). The 2017 Canadian guideline for opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.