Researchers at Osher Institute at Harvard investigated the effectiveness and cost-of-care based on patients’ choice of acupuncture, chiropractic, or massage therapy compared with usual care to treat acute low back pain.

“After 5 weeks, providing patients with a choice did not yield clinically important reductions in symptoms or functional status,” concluded these researchers.

That’s right. It didn’t matter what care they received.

However, there was significantly greater satisfaction among patients who were permitted to choose their care. This benefit came at a net increase in costs of $244 per patient. Patients received an average of 6 complementary treatment sessions, which comes to $40 per session.

The bottom line?
Some readers of this blog will dispute the researchers’ conclusions, but that’s not the point. All things considered, among equally effective treatments isn’t there value in offering patients options that “at least” provide them with greater satisfaction?

3/10/07 11:31 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.