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States that give injured workers control over selecting their medical providers are among those with the highest prevalence of chiropractic care, which data shows can lead to lower workers compensation costs, according to a report released Tuesday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based organization, as part of a long-term project studying physical medicine as an alternative to opioids for musculoskeletal conditions, addressed the prevalence and access to chiropractic care for injured workers in 28 states. It found that such care “varied substantially” depending on the state.
The percentage of lower back pain claims with chiropractic care in the first 18 months following an injury ranged from 5% to 34%. States in the higher range included California, Minnesota, New York and Wisconsin—all of which allow injured workers to choose their medical providers. States in the lower range included Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina — all of which do not allow workers to choose providers.
The analysis showed that claims with care provided exclusively by chiropractors were associated with lower costs and shorter duration of temporary disability.