The Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care

UPMC Health Plan Includes Chiropractic Coverage


Many who are contemplating visiting a chiropractor are unsure of what it will cost. There is good news concerning the cost of chiropractic care. Charges in a chiropractic office are generally very affordable. This article will review the topic.

Your first visit and follow-up visits

On your first visit to a chiropractor, the doctor will want to talk with you about the specific condition you are concerned with and your health generally. He will check you physically by feeling (called palpation) over the sore area for muscle spasm and tenderness, observing if you have normal movements of the affected area, and perform other physical tests. He may require x-rays of the site of your complaint. While a visit to a hospital emergency room might entail many x-rays, a chiropractor may need to take only a couple to adequately assess the condition. The first visit to a chiropractor will be much less than going to the emergency room and will be more like a typical visit to a family practice doctor.

Once the chiropractor has determined what is causing the health problem, he will generally perform “manipulations” or “adjustments”. Physical therapy such as electrical muscle stimulation, and stretching and strengthening exercises may also be given to assist in faster healing and long-term improvement and stability. These follow-up visits are typically less expensive than the first visit and are usually found to be very affordable.

Insurance coverage of chiropractic treatment

Most mainstream, responsible health insurance policies have approved coverage of chiropractic treatment for many years. The plans vary in degree of coverage per insurance company. When you go to the chiropractor for your initial visit, be certain to take your insurance card with you and your chiropractor and his staff can check with your insurance plan to verify exactly what your coverage is.
Also those who are injured in an automobile accident have coverage for chiropractic care in their policies in most states, including Pennsylvania.

Research studies show chiropractic to be cost-effective, and high in patient satisfaction

A research study in Oregon showed chiropractic treatment helped people who are unable to work due to low back injury to get back to work in a third of the time of medical treatment (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics).

A study in Utah showed medical treatment cost 10 times the amount of chiropractic care for lower back pain (Journal of Occupational Medicine).

Another study in 2005 showed that chiropractic care for low back and neck pain resulted in a reduction in the rates of surgery, advanced imaging, in-patient care and x-rays (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics).

Another study showed patients utilizing a chiropractor as a healthcare provider required 50% fewer drugs and pharmaceuticals and had a 50% fewer days spent in the hospital (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics).

Finally, chiropractic patients found more satisfaction with their treatment than patients who received medical care or physical therapy (American Journal of Public Health).

An ounce of prevention…

If you are experiencing neck pain, lower back pain, headaches, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, hip pain or shoulder pain early intervention is the best way to recover quickly, and will always be more cost effective than waiting. Most problems worsen over time and necessitate more treatment. Remember, procrastination is the thief of good health.

UPMC Health Plan  provides chiropractic insurance coverage for patients in the Pittsburgh area. To learn more about James Schofield DC visit his website.

Nurses Can Be Helped with Chiropractic Care

Nurses Can Be Helped with Chiropractic Care

The nursing profession can be very demanding. There are significant physical and emotional stresses that nurses can experience. This article will discuss the physical problems that can arise with the occupation of nursing and how care from a chiropractor can be of help.

Nurses who work in a hospital setting can experience physical exertions that can cause harmful effects to their health. A nurse is required to be on his or her feet for long hours. It is not unusual for a nurse to work 10 to 12 hour shifts several days in a row. The occupation also may require lifting, sliding, pushing and pulling heavy patients while they are in bed, in a wheelchair or on an operating table.

This can lead to stresses and strains to the lower back, neck and upper back, shoulders and hips. Injury can occur suddenly from one trauma or can accumulate over time from micro-traumas. Many nurses try to ignore their pain and work through it. Psychologically, nurses have a desire to help others while ignoring their own health.

Whatever the cause of the injury and complaint a physical solution and care from a chiropractor can generally be of help to a physical problem. Chiropractors focus on helping patients who have lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder and hip pain and headaches.

Usually these conditions are caused by misalignments and improper motion of the bones of the spine. A chiropractor will initially meet with the nurse to discuss information about the problem. A doctor of chiropractic can gain valuable details about the specific type of work performed. This can help determine exactly what caused the condition in the first place.

Next a chiropractor will perform a physical examination. He will gently feel or palpate the injured area to assess muscle spasm, swelling and spinal alignment. If there is a loss of range of motion of the spine or extremity joint that will be noted. Neurologically, the exam will show if there is a loss of strength or feeling in an area. Orthopedic tests can reveal if there is a spinal disc problem such as a protrusion or bulge.

Many times, imaging such as x-rays or MRIs are already available or can be performed to give further insight as to the exact nature of the condition.

Once the chiropractor has determined where the problem is and what is causing it he can develop a plan to help treat the problem. Chiropractors are experts at treating injuries to the spine and to the extremities.

Many nurses who have developed physical ailments due to their line of work have been helped by chiropractors. In addition, many nurses see chiropractors on an ongoing basis for maintenance care to avoid experiencing an injury and to enjoy a long healthy career.

UPMC Health Plan has coverage for chiropractic care in Pittsburgh. Dr James Schofield has helped many nurses with neck and back pain.


Should I Use Ice Or Heat?

Ice Reduces Inflamation

Many times people wonder whether to use ice or heat for a condition like neck pain or lower back pain. This can be a controversial topic. Often patients will be told by their family and friends to use the opposite of what I recommend to my patients.

In general, when pain is present there is inflammation so we should use ice or cold to reduce swelling and pain.

If heat is inappropriately utilized during this inflammatory phase of healing, an increase in blood supply to the already swollen, injured area often results in an increase of pain.

As long as pain is present, ice is usually safer and more effective.

When we use ice or cold in our office we use gel-filled packs. We put them in the freezer and they get quite cold. However, they are too cold to put directly on the skin, so we use at least one layer of cloth cover between the ice pack and the skin. Flannel is a great material to use between the ice pack and skin, but any comparable cloth cover will do. Never put the ice pack directly on the skin.

Where your pain is located will determine how long the ice or cold pack should be applied.

For instance, we would put it on the neck for neck pain for 10 minutes, on the mid back for mid back pain for 15 minutes, and on the lower back for lower back pain for 20 minutes.

It’s also important to apply the ice or cold pack with enough frequency. Three applications of ice per day will typically bring desired results.

Keeping a couple ice packs ready and available in your freezer will make it easy and convenient to use should an unfortunate mishap arise.

I tell my patients: “Ice is nice” and “Make friends with your ice pack”.

To view a short video about how to properly use a cold pack watch this. To learn more about Dr James Schofield visit this site.

Our Patients Speak–Joe Brandt


Joe Brandt & Dr James Schofield

I had constant shooting neck pain, including stiffness in my neck muscles. Dr. Schofield began a schedule of adjustments in conjunction with a home stretching program. I have followed up with periodic adjustments to ensure previous symptoms do not return. The biggest compliment I can give to Dr. Schofield is that I can live my life without having to be aware of neck pain or stiffness. Additionally, my improved posture and back strength have given me a more healthy and professional appearance. The many benefits of chiropractic far outweigh the minimal time and effort needed for treatments.

To find how chiropractic can help you with neck pain visit this site. See more success stories of patients who have benefited from chiropractic care.

Chiropractic Care Is Safe

Chiropractic Care Is Safe

The popularity of chiropractic healthcare continues to grow, not only in the United States but also the entire world. Yet, some wonder about the safety of chiropractic adjustments and manipulation. Although no healthcare procedure is 100% safe, chiropractic has been shown by numerous studies to be one of the safest of all forms of treatment. This article will discuss the topic of chiropractic safety.

We are all aware of the reports that over 100,000 deaths per year occur in the United States from medical errors. Everyone involved in providing healthcare should be doing everything possible to reduce and eliminate this problem.

The chiropractic profession has been acutely aware that we must first do no harm when it comes to the care and treatment of our patients.

For instance, the federal government accredits chiropractic schools (just as it does medical and dental schools) through the federally-recognized Council on Chiropractic Education. Chiropractic colleges require 10 semesters or five years of education beyond that taken in undergraduate college. Chiropractic students study anatomy, physiology, pathology, and all the basic health sciences that any licensed health practitioner learns. Also, each state has a Board of Chiropractic that administers examinations for those doctors wishing to practice in that particular state and is responsible for the guidance and quality of chiropractic health care delivered by their state’s practicing Doctors of Chiropractic.

A number of research studies have investigated the safety of chiropractic in the United States and in other countries. The good news here is that chiropractic has been shown to be one of the safest of all forms of treatment.

The Agency on Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services released guidelines for management of acute lower back pain. The AHCPR panel was made up of 23 members consisting of medical doctors, chiropractic doctors, nurses, physical therapists and other experts on spinal research. The guidelines developed provided doctors and therapists with information and strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of lower back problems. Their findings included:

  •  The risk of serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare;
  •  Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention;
  • Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressant medications, and colchine are not recommended for acute lower back problems.

In Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned a study called the Manga Report. The report is one of the largest analyses is of scientific literature ever undertaken to determine effective treatment for lower back pain. Lead investigator Pran Manga Ph.D found the treatments provided by Doctors of Chiropractic were exceptionally safe–much safer than the standard medical treatments of similar conditions. The Manga Report concluded:

  •  “There is no clinical or case-controlled study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low back pain. Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain.”
  •  “Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost effectiveness and patient satisfaction.”

Some patients as well as non-chiropractic doctors and therapists have heard stories questioning the safety of having adjustments and manipulations of the neck (called cervical spine). In 2007, Spine Research Journal published a study undertaken in the United Kingdom on the “Safety of Chiropractic Manipulation of the Cervical Spine”.

19,722 chiropractic patients were treated. 50,276 manipulations of the cervical spine were performed. The study looked to see if there were any serious side effects. The final analysis reported “The risk of a serious adverse event, immediately or up to seven days after treatment, was low to very low”.

When giving healthcare all practitioners are very concerned with not only providing the best, most current quality of health care, but should be equally vigilant about the safest ways to help patients with relief of pain and maintenance of health. Fortunately, studies give chiropractic care high marks in these efforts.

Visit here to learn more about choosing a chiropractor in North Hills Pittsburgh. Here is more information about Dr James Schofield’s chiropractic office.

Your Low Back Pain Is From Slipped Joints, Not Slipped Discs


backache illustration
Lower Back Pain

Many people experiencing lower back pain are told it is from a bad disc and need medications, injections or surgery. However, research has proven that those having low back pain in reality have spinal joint problems. This article will explain what is the cause of most lower back pain and what can be done about it.

Let’s, initially, put to bed and extinguish the idea that lower back pain is caused by a bad disc. A recent study performed at the Mayo Clinic and published in The American Journal of Neuroradiology confirms that MRI scans showing intervertebral disc problems are not the source of back pain. The researchers found that MRI scans showing disc problems are exceedingly common in pain free people. In other words, people who have no lower back pain can have an MRI that can show a disc bulge, protrusion and degeneration and still have no pain.

The researchers said that their study indicates that findings of narrowing of the disk space, disc degeneration, loss of disc height and other disc abnormalities are part of the normal aging process rather than pathological processes requiring intervention. They went further to say that most of the disk degenerative changes are no more significant than gray hair or crow’s feet around the eyes.

Let’s also clarify the term “slipped disc.” Medically a disc does not slip back and forth. It can bulge, protrude, herniate or degenerate. It does not slip back and forth or slip out of place. Slipped disc is a layman’s term similar to trick knee, cauliflower ear or double-jointed.

If the intervertebral discs are not the source of back pain what is? Again, much scientific research indicates that it is from the misalignment and improper motion of the spinal joints. There are 24 spinal bones called vertebrae which makes up our spinal column. Between each vertebrae there are joints which are called the facet joints. Because of the strain we put on our backs in the course of our everyday activities the facet joints undergo a significant amount of stress. Accumulation of this stress can cause these joints to become misaligned and not move properly. The medical term for this is “joint dysfunction.” When this occurs it creates the majority of the lower back pain that we experience day-to-day. In a sense, we could create a layman’s term and call this condition “slipped joints”.

The majority of people suffering from low back pain due to joint dysfunction can be helped by doctors of chiropractic. Chiropractic care should be the first line of treatment. It is successful in a significant majority of cases where people are suffering from low back pain.

The next time a person is heard saying “I have a slipped disc and need surgery” they should be told “You have slipped joints and need chiropractic treatment.”

Here are some tips to look for when choosing a Pittsburgh chiropractor for low back pain. Dr James Schofield has been providing chiropractic care for lower back pain in the Pittsburgh North Hills area for 33 years.



Your First Chiropractic Visit

Your First Chiropractic Visit

If you’ve not been to a chiropractor previously and are experiencing neck pain, low back pain, headaches, sciatica or other pain, you might have questions about what to expect and maybe even some concerns. Please relax. This article will give you information and an introduction about your first visit. 

Your Health History

Just as with any of your other health practitioners you will be asked to fill out some written information that gives your name, address and so on. You will also answer questions including:

  •  Where is your pain or complaint?
  •  When did it start?
  • What caused it to begin?

Next you will meet with your chiropractor so that he can talk further with you about your health condition. He will want to know if your complaint is keeping you from being able to sleep normally, do your usual job and work duties, perform chores at home or in the yard and enjoy hobbies, sports or social activities. It will also be helpful to know if you’ve been to other doctors as many people who come to chiropractors have already seen other health care practitioners with little or no success. Chiropractors pride themselves in being able to help people who have not had help elsewhere.

Checking You Physically

Your chiropractor is thoroughly trained in anatomy and physiology for the conditions he treats just as are all your other doctors. Therefore, he will check things such as:

  •  Your posture
  •  Your movements and range of motion of your neck, lower back and possibly your extremities
  •  Gently feeling the painful area to determine if you have muscle spasm, tenderness and swelling
  •  If you have muscle weakness
  •  If you have loss of feeling or numbness
  •  Determine if you have a pinched nerve, irritated nerves or misaligned spinal bones called vertebrae
  •  Methods to tell if you have a disc problem

Other Studies

If you’ve had x-rays, MRI, CT scans, or other diagnostic studies, your chiropractor will want to know. He may take x-rays in his office if he feels it will help him to know more about your condition and to rule out the possibilities of fracture, cancer, infection, or other non-chiropractic factors. Chiropractors have extensive training in the taking and reading of x-rays.

Determining Treatment

After your chiropractor has reviewed your written history, talked with you, checked you physically, and studied your x-rays and other information, he will put it all together and correlate the various data. Then he will be able to determine if you have a condition he can help. If so, he will answer all your questions including:

  •  What is wrong
  • What treatment will bring relief of pain and help correct the problem
  •  How long it will take for you to improve
  •  What it will cost and how insurance may pay

Of course, if he sees that you have a problem that is not a chiropractic condition and needs to be treated medically or by another type of healthcare practitioner, he will tell you that, too.

At that point, you can determine if you would like to begin treatment. Many times you can be treated on your initial visit. You will never be pressured or obligated to have treatment should you desire not to.

How Long Will You be at the Doctor’s Office on the First Visit

Usually you should give yourself an hour. If your condition is complicated or is more involved it may take longer. It’s important that the process isn’t rushed, but neither should it take all day.

Remember, your chiropractor has had undergraduate and Chiropractic School education, passed a national test as well as your state’s examination and takes ongoing continuing education just like your other doctors. By following through on your chiropractor’s advice you’ll usually find considerable relief of symptoms and restoration of health.

Here are some tips to look for when choosing a chiropractor in Pittsburgh. Dr James Schofield has been in chiropractic practice in the Pittsburgh North Hills area for 33 years.

Calvin’s Story

Calvin Chiang 1
Calvin Chiang & Dr James Schofield

“I had soreness, stiffness, and pain around my neck, upper and lower back. Dr. Schofield realigned my spine which can become misaligned over time. He also relaxed the tight muscles around the problem areas in my neck and back. It has helped me to sleep better giving me more energy throughout the day. Having energy is important in my busy day to day life. Dr. Schofield is a caring doctor who takes time to listen to the issues that you are having and takes interest to treat those problems. He always has good advice and often gives you alternative things to do at home to further prevent the problems from happening again. I have been going to his practice for many years and he is the best.” – Calvin Chiang

To learn more about the treatment of chiropractic care for neck pain visit our site. Here is some information to look for when choosing a chiropractor in Pittsburgh.