Chiropractic & MD Tx Compared (LONG) - Case Study 
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 Chiropractic & MD Tx Compared (LONG) - Case Study

******* WARNING: LONG     ********
******* Comparison Study: ********         Primary CASE STUDY
******* using n=1         ********
QUIT HERE IF YOU FIND THIS DISGUSTING=======================================
4 weeks ago I was in a moderately serious automobile accident (struck from
behind by drunk driver going 45-50 mph while stopped at a stoplight).  Car was
totaled (squished), the (driver's) seat I was sitting in was broken in 1/2 by
the impact; I have no memory of accident, except remember being taken to
hospital in ambulance.  X-ray'd until I glowed in the dark.  Released next a.m.
Yes, thank you, I'm much better now.

Perversely, since I'd become intrigued by comparisons of health care on
lately, I decided to visit for followup care BOTH (1) Cromwell Holistic Health
Center; AND (2) Family Practice Clinic of Middlesex Hospital.  Each knew that I
was seeing the other (& believed that the "other one" couldn't hurt me, but
also wouldn't help, interestingly enough). Each thought *it* was the "primary
care provider" & that I was using "the other one" as adjunct. (Oh, well.)

Prior to this little comparison study, I'd never seen a chiropractor before.
Neither had I ever been in an auto accident before, I might add.
Following is a comparison of the two sorts of health care I received:

->(both): sprained l. shoulder; sprained l. ankle; extensive bruises.
->(MD): compressed ulnar nerve; hairline fracture of l. tibia (diagnosed
        2 wks after accident, when pain & swelling hadn't subsided), soft
        tissue damage in l arm & l leg.
->(Chiropractor): whiplash "of entire spine", spinal subluxations (sp?)

                        # OF VISITS:
->(MD) 1 hospital ER; 2 additional hospital radiology; 3 ofc. visits
->(Chiropractor) 16 ofc visits (also sent for MD's X-rays)


                        (a) MEDS
->MD: NSAIDS (did take), Darvocet (didn't take)
->Chiropractor: several different bottles of vitamines (only took for 1 day)

                        (b) DEVICES
->MD: arm sling, ace bandage, ankle brace, cane, special foot-thing
        (fibre-splint (?) w. brace & shoe)
->Chiropractor: cervical pillow, lumbar pillow, re-usable heat/ice-gel bags

                        (c) OFFICE PROCEDURES & DISCUSSION
->MD: none, except diagnostic & demonstrative (how to use, wrap, apply devices)
->Chiropractor: daily in-office ice and/or heat treatments in darkened, quiet
        room w. New Age music playing; electronic muscle stimulat'n f. sprains;
        spinal adjustments about every other visit; 4 prescription therapeutic
        massages from professional sports massage therapist, 1/wk, starting 3rd
        week after accident; regular inquiries into my emotional health (am I
        having nightmares, becoming depressed, sleeping more or less than
        usual, able to ride in/drive cars w/out fear or panic; do i like my new
        car, are my neighbors & family being helpful, is the neighbor still
        walking my dog at night, etc., etc.?).

                        (d) ADVICE
->MD: put ice on everything that hurts for 1st few days; stay off foot until
        pain & swelling go down; consult neurologist if hand/fingers still numb
        2 wks after accident (they weren't); call if anything gets worse or
        doesn't get better
->Chiropractor: Out of every hour, spend 40 min sitting or lying down; 20 on
        ice & 20 on heat.  Only get up & about for 20 min of each hour.
        Elevate foot. Also gave me dr's note to get a refund on airline ticket
        for trip I was advised not to take. Saw me in office every day for 1st
        2 weeks, & 3x/wk for next 2 weeks.  Took weekly polaroid pix of my
        injuries for week-to-week comparison, to see healing progress.
        Suggested local car dealer "known" for good bargains (didn't take that
        advice). Also told me at end of 2nd week to go to my MD for another
        look at the non-improving foot (which I did do).

                COST (followup care only, not counting ER, ambulance or xrays):
->MD: $129 (including meds & devices)
->Chiropractor: $704 (& still climbing); (includes vitamins, devices & massage)


The treatments (& massages, etc.) I received at the Cromwell Holistic Health
Center certainly *felt* better than that/those which I got from the MD.  In
MD's office, waiting room was crowded, wait was typically 1/2-hr or more.
Chiropractor's office NEVER had more than 5-min wait & staff recognized me,
greeted me & called me by name from 1st visit on. On the other hand, the MD was
*considerably* cheaper.  I tend to think that none of what EITHER of them did
had any significant impact on my recovery.  But all those relaxing massages
under darkened lights in a warm room, & continued interest in my social/mental
state *certainly* FELT better than the crisp antiseptic (& cursory) exams in
MD's ofc.  Also, I might add, Chiropractor examined my whole body on the first
visit; none of the MD's (in the E.R. or in the office) actually had me remove
any clothes to examine me except those covering specific (small) body-parts
about which I was directly complaining at the moment (e.g. "roll up your left
pants leg").  I thought this was interesting. The MD personally explained
answers to all my questions (I like that).  The Chiropractor handed me a
brochure about whiplash when I asked questions (I DON'T like that).  The
Chiropractor (associated with the Holistic Health Center) *certainly* did pay
more attention to my mental/emotional state, which I appreciated.  (EX: when I
complained to the MD that I was (still) having nightmares about car accidents
every night, she replied that this was normal, but if it didn't decrease in the
next couple o' weeks she could prescribe some sleeping pills;  the Chiropractor
actually talked to me about nightmares, emotional sequelae to accident trauma,
etc. for about 15 minutes, & then inquired how I was doing every time I saw her
for the next several weeks.)   Interestingly, all three of: the ER MD, my
Family MD, & the Chiropractor, are women;  the professional masseuse is a man.
(Backwards from the usual sex-role stereotypes, I think.)


Philosophy Department;Wesleyan University;USA

Wed, 12 Apr 1995 22:00:02 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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