Comparing the Satisfaction of

Low Back Pain

Patients Receiving

Medical vs. ChiropracticCare:

Results from the UCLA Back Pain


William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

The relationship between a patient and a doctor is a very important aspect of healthcare. Many patients call this “bedside manner." Researchers call it “patient satisfaction.” In a recent study published in the peer reviewed journal, American Journal of Public Health, and produced by the UCLA School of Public Health, the authors reported on the results of a comparison of patient satisfaction between patients that received chiropractic care and those that received medical care for lower back pain. The authors stated, “Results from observational studies suggest that back pain patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care than with medical care” (Hertzman-Miller et al., 2002, p. 1628).

“Our study was conducted in a large managed care organization in Southern California...for approximately 100000 members”
Hertzman-Miller et al., 2002, p. 1628). They go on to report, “Of the 681 randomized, 340 were assigned to the 2 medical groups and 341 were assigned to the 2 chiropractic groups” (Hertzman-Miller et al., 2002, p. 1630). Interestingly, the paper goes on to show “Chiropractic patients reported receiving more self-care advice than did medical patients, were more likely to report an explanation of their treatment, and visited their primary providers [their assigned chiropractor in this study] more often" (Hertzman-Miller et al., 2002, p. 1630). The results showed, “In this randomized trial, chiropractic patients were more satisfied with their back care providers after 4 weeks of treatment than were medical patients” (Hertzman-Miller et al., 2002, p. 1631). It should also be noted, “No deaths or serious adverse events occurred during the 4-week period” (Hertzman-Miller et al., 2002, p. 1630).

This paper in no way minimizes the importance of the medical physician as part of the team necessary to care for patients, understanding that there are diagnoses that mandate the services exclusively of the MD and other circumstances where concurrent care is required. However, when there is a choice based on overlapping care, common sense dictates a drugless treatment first, treatment involving drugs second and surgery last. Those patients, according to this study, who have chosen the chiropractic, drugless approach first, have reported a very high level of satisfaction with chiropractic care with no adverse events.

These studies along with many others conclude that a drug-free approach of chiropractic care is one of the best solutions for patients with low back pain. To find a qualified doctor of chiropractic near you go to the US Chiropractic Directory at and search your state.


1. Hertzman-Miller, R. P., Morgenstern, H., Hurwitz, E. L., Yu, F., Adams, A. H., Harber, P., & Kominski, G. F. (2002). Comparing the satisfaction of low back pain patients randomized to receive medical or chiropractic care: Results from the UCLA low-back pain study. American Journal of Public Health, 92(10),1628-1633.

Studin, M. (2009). U.S. Chiropractic Directory. Retrieved From