Press Release

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 2012

Chiropractic Physicians Respond to Global Study on Disease and Disability

Arlington, VA.—The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) urges health care systems everywhere to find ways to effectively reduce the toll of musculoskeletal conditions, which are the second leading cause of disability worldwide according to a new global study published in The Lancet this month.

The Global Burden of Disease 2010, authored by an international group of experts assessing the world’s biggest health challenges, finds that the primary contributor to the world’s health burden has shifted from premature mortality to chronic diseases such as musculoskeletal disorders and mental health conditions. The study identifies low-back pain in particular as one of the major contributors to disability worldwide.

“Chiropractic physicians know how dramatically overall health and quality of life can be improved by successfully treating low-back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions,” said ACA President Keith Overland, DC. “We are hopeful that this major global study will spur greater efforts to address the burden and disability caused by musculoskeletal ailments. We advocate starting with conservative, non-drug approaches before moving to drugs and surgery. Research has shown that this approach is not only clinically effective but also cost-effective.”

The Lancet study shows that while people around the world are living longer, they are spending more years with illnesses--and musculoskeletal disorders are causing a large share of the disease burden. In every region studied, low-back pain and neck pain ranked high on the list of causes of years lived with disability (YLDs). Low-back pain is the leading or second leading cause of YLDs in 17 of the 21 regions examined.

According to the researchers, poor musculoskeletal health and poor mental health (including substance abuse) are major contributors to health loss, and monitoring progress in reducing the impact of these non-fatal ailments is as important for improving health as monitoring progress against the leading causes of death (heart disease and stroke). In addition, creating effective and affordable strategies to deal with the rising burden of non-fatal health outcomes should be an urgent priority for health care providers around the world.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), based in Arlington, Va., is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of patient care and ethics, and supports research that contributes to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients. Visit