Article Title

A descriptive report of management strategies used by chiropractors, as reviewed by a single independent chiropractic consultant in the Australian workers compensation system


Background: In New South Wales, Australia, an injured worker enters the workers compensation system with the case often managed by a pre-determined insurer. The goal of the treating practitioner is to facilitate the claimant to return to suitable duties and progress to their pre-injury status, job and quality of life. Currently, there is very little documentation on the management of injured workers by chiropractors in the Australian healthcare setting. This study aims to examine treatment protocols and recommendations given to chiropractic practitioners by one independent chiropractic reviewer in the state of New South Wales, and to discuss management strategies recommended for the injured worker.

Methods; A total of 146 consecutive Independent Chiropractic Consultant reports were collated into a database. Pain information and management recommendations made by the Independent Chiropractic Consultant were tabulated and analysed for trends. The data formulated from the reports is purely descriptive in nature.

Results: The Independent Chiropractic Consultant determined the current treatment plan to be "reasonable" (80.1%) or "unreasonable" (23.6%). The consultant recommended to "phase out" treatment in 74.6% of cases, with an average of six remaining treatments. In eight cases treatment was unreasonable with no further treatment; in five cases treatment was reasonable with no further treatment. In 78.6% of cases, injured workers were to be discharged from treatment and 21.4% were to be reassessed for the need of a further treatment plan. Additional recommendations for treatment included an active care program (95.2%), general fitness program (77.4%), flexibility/range of movement exercises (54.1%), referral to a chronic pain specialist (50.7%) and work hardening program (22.6%).

Conclusion: It is essential chiropractic practitioners perform 'reasonably necessary treatment' to reduce dependency on passive treatment, increase compliance to active care programs and reduce the progression to chronic pain states. It is recommended that common findings be integrated in further research, to improve the management of treatment for patients with an occupational injury.



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