Workers Comp Claims Show Chiropractic Care Associated with Lower Cost and Faster Return to Work

Despite being experts in lower back pain, chiropractors are often overlooked when it comes to workers’ compensation claims in states where the insurance company or employer directs who the employee sees for an injury.  However, a report issued by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) shows that employees, employers and insurers could all benefit from increased utilization of chiropractic care.

Researchers with the WCRI reviewed over 2 million claims from 28 states, including TN, where the injury occurred between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2017.  After excluding claims involving conditions such as tumors and fractures, they assessed both cost and claim duration and compared the differences between workers who received only chiropractic care, those who received a combination of chiropractic and other types of providers and those whose care did not involve any chiropractic care.

What they observed indicates chiropractic care as a primary treatment for low back injuries can be good news for all involved!  Table 4.5 on page 47 of the 122 page report displays the comparisons.   (Note: Indemnity costs refers to the costs of defending or prosecuting suits or claims in a lawsuit.  This includes attorney fees, consultants fees, expert witness fees and other costs associated with the lawsuit.)

In short, the group that received “chiropractic care only” had:

  • lower medical costs (both physical medicine, and evaluation & management)
  • lower indemnity payments

  • shorter disability

  • received fewer opioid prescriptions, MRIs and pain management injections.

While the group that received care from both chiropractors and other types of providers, had somewhat higher costs, those rates were still lower than for those who had no chiropractor involved in their treatment.

These findings are in line with numerous other research studies regarding the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic care.  They are also a demonstration of the recommendations issued by both the American College of Physicians and the World Health Organization (WHO) advising non-pharmacologic treatment such as: heat therapy, massage, acupuncture and SPINAL MANIPULATION and reserving medications be utilized only when those treatment did NOT work.  (for more information regarding those guidelines, click here for ACP guidelines  and here for WHO guidelines)

The guidelines issued by the American College of Physicians and the World Health Organization (WHO) were not specific to work-related conditions.  While this WCRI study reflected data from workers’ compensation claims, chiropractic care should be considered for non-work-related conditions and injuries as well.

Whether you are suffering from an injury, battling the degeneration of aging or are experiencing back pain from life’s daily activities, talk to your local chiropractor about how safe, natural chiropractic care can help you stay healthy and active without pain.  If you do not have a chiropractor, you can use our “Find A Doctor” button to find a TCA member doctor near you at


Chiropractic Care for Workers with Low Back Pain. Dongchun Wang, Kathryn L. Mueller, Donald R. Murphy, and Randall D. Lea. May 2022. WC-22-17

Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.  Control Workers’ Compensation Costs While Improving Employee Productivity And Engagement Through Chiropractic Care.  October 2022

Law Insider.  Indemnity Costs definition  Accessed 4/25/2023

World Health Organization Highlights Spinal Manipulation for Low Back Pain Over Drugs or Surgery Posted: June 17, 2019

American College of Physicians Recommends Spinal Manipulation as a Primary Treatment for Low Back Pain  Posted: February 23, 2017