New Study Shows a 50% Reduction in Low Back Pain Healthcare Costs and Short-Term Disability Times With "Mechanical Care" Over Traditional "Community Care"

New Study Shows a 50% Reduction in Low Back Pain Healthcare Costs and Short-Term Disability Times With "Mechanical Care" Over Traditional "Community Care"

Published by Wichita Chiropractor Dr. Tracy A. Norris, DC, CCEP, Cert. MDT on Nov 23rd 2019

A review of JMMT (Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy Vol 27 Issue 5, 2019 “The cost impact of a quality-assured mechanical assessment in primary low back care”, Ronald Donelson, Kevin Spratt, W. Steve McClellan, Richard Gray, J. Mark Miller and Eric Gatmaitan) .

This new study compares the costs associated with care for low back pain comparing “mechanical care” (Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy®) and “community care” (varied medical providers) by comparing the analysis of administrative claims data in 2013. Over 5,000 claims were analyzed for one year for diagnostic codes for fractures, dislocations, or infections. The study measured the cost of care over one year’s time and the number of procedures (mri’s, injections, and surgeries).

Results: The average cost for mechanical care was over 50% lower than the average cost for community care. The utilization of MRI’s, injections and surgeries was lower with mechanical care by 49% for mri’s, 39% lower for injections and 78% lower for surgeries.

The 50% cost savings reflects a substantial reduction in health care costs with mechanical care over community care. It is well documented that the MDT clinical examination typically elicits patterns of pain response that in turn identify how most can rapidly recover with self-care with no need for other intervention. In addition to the cost savings, the average duration of short-term disability was 50% lower that community care. The alarming savings appears to be due to a substantial decrease in mechanical care’s utilization of expensive interventions.


A mechanical assessment will identify a certain specific pattern of symptom response that allows back pain to be classified into one of four subgroups. These examinations have been shown to have high inter- and intra-examiner reliability and each subgroup has specific treatments that demonstrate value and effectiveness by improving symptomatic, functional and/or mechanical baselines. The use of beneficial patterns of pain response or pain provocation to mechanical testing is common across musculoskeletal care for diagnostic purposes.

Dr. Tracy Norris at Wichita Pain Center is the only Wichita doctor Certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy®. To get your assessment contact us today!

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