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Chiropractic Treatment Before Spine Surgery for Chronic Lower Back Pain

May 1, 2012

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health Plan has adopted landmark guidelines for the management of chronic low back pain. As of Jan. 1, 2012, candidates for spine surgery must try and fail a three-month course of conservative management (including physical therapy, chiropractic therapy and medication) before receiving authorization determining the medical necessity of surgery. This, together with the plan’s Lower Back Pain health coaching program, is the first reported implementation of such a policy by a health care plan.

In addition to other relevant therapies that serve as an alternative to surgery, this landmark legislation shows faith in chiropractic. According to Gerard Clum, executive committee member of Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, “The UPMC should be congratulated for its leadership in establishing policies to assure that the least invasive and most likely to be successful care strategies, including chiropractic care, are applied for a meaningful period of time before surgical considerations are made.”

Adapted from: Chiropractic Before Spine Surgery for Chronic LBP,  Dynamic Chiropractic, May 20, 2012, Vol. 30 No. 11