This white paper discusses the significance of the 2017 study published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine called “Association Between Utilization of Chiropractic Services for Treatment of Low-Back Pain and Use of Prescription Opioids”.

opioid use

The opioid statistics are staggering! One in every three Americans take opioid drugs and 1.9 million of them are addicted to the dangerous pain-relieving medications. A key factor in providing solutions to this crisis must begin upstream at the cause of the problem. 63.4% of opioid users started using the potent chemicals to treat a physical pain. If drugless solutions could be implemented to prevent the need for strong addictive narcotics, the challenges can be overcome from the beginning. Research from 2018 looked at the benefits of Chiropractic care and opioid use. Pain relief resulting from services delivered by a Doctor of Chiropractic allowed patients to use lower or less frequent doses of opioids, leading to reduced risk of adverse effects. The research findings are as follows;

  • The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the association between the utilization of chiropractic services and the use of prescription opioid medications.
  • Whedon examined roughly 33,000 adults with low back pain from the New Hampshire All Payer Claims Database.
  • The authors chose New Hampshire because health claims data were readily available for research, and in 2015, New Hampshire had the second-highest age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States.
  • The study population comprised New Hampshire residents aged 18-99 years, enrolled in a health plan, and with at least two clinical office visits within 90 days for a primary diagnosis of low-back pain. The authors excluded subjects with a diagnosis of cancer.
  • Of roughly 33,000 adults registered as having low back pain, slightly over a third of them saw a chiropractor.
  • Of the one-third who saw a Chiropractor, 38 percent had at least one opioid prescription.
  • Of those who did not see a chiropractor, 61 percent had at least one opioid prescription.
  • Those whose opioid prescription was integrated with chiropractic care had an average of 3.9 fills.
  • Those who did not receive chiropractic adjustive care averaged 8.3 fills per patient.
  • The adjusted likelihood of filling a prescription for an opioid analgesic was 55% lower among recipients compared with non-recipients
  • Average charges per person for opioid prescriptions were also significantly lower among recipients of chiropractic care.
  • Among New Hampshire adults with office visits for non-cancer low-back pain, the likelihood of filling a prescription for an opioid analgesic was significantly lower for recipients of services delivered by a Doctor of Chiropractic compared with non-recipients.

This research is one of many that will continue to point out the much-needed benefits in which chiropractors deliver to a sick and suffering culture of people constantly directed to more pills. And not only did the people who had received Chiropractic care achieve greater results, the cost was less than the medical route. An astonishing 115 people die each day from opioid drugs. What was intended for good is now potentially harming more people than they are helping. Over 4 billion dollars was spent on opioid drugs for Medicare recipients alone in 2016. This equates to over two thousand eight hundred dollars per Medicare recipient for opioid medications alone. The madness must stop. And Chiropractors play a special role in turning the tides on pain care and provide solutions the public wants and needs.

A partnered approach to opioid management, guideline concordant care and the stepped care model of pain management.

Dorflinger L, Moore B, Goulet J, Becker W, Heapy AA, Sellinger JJ, Kerns RD.

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