Chiropractic Reduces Opioid Use by 55% in Low Back Pain

A report on the scientific literature  

In the United States, of the adults who were prescribed opioids, 59% reported back pain.1 According to Statistia, the percentage of adults in the United States in 2015 with low back pain was 29.1% (  and in 2017 that number was 49% for all back-pain sufferers reporting symptoms (

Peterson ET. AL. (2012) reported:

[The] Prevalence of low back pain is stated to be between 15% and 30%, the 1-year period prevalence between 15% and 45%, and a life-time prevalence of 50% to 80%” (pg. 525).

While acute pain is a normal (author’s note: pain is never normal) short-lived unpleasant sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury with a reflexive desire to avoid additional injury, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists and fundamentally changes the patient’s interaction with their environment. In chronic pain it is well documented that aberrant signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. (

Baliki Et. AL. (2008) stated:

Pain is considered chronic when it lasts longer than 6 months after the healing of the original injury. Chronic pain patients suffer from more than pain, they experience depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and decision-making abnormalities that also significantly diminish their quality of life (pg. 1398).

Chronic pain patients also have shown to have changes in brain function in sufferers with Alzheimer’ disease, depression, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder giving further insight into disease states. In addition, chronic pain has a cause and effect on the morphology of the spinal cord and the brain resulting in a process termed “linear shrinkage”, which has been suggested to cause ancillary negative neurological sequella.

Apkarian Et. Al. (2004) reported that “Ten percent of adults suffer from severe chronic pain. Back problems constitute 25% of all disabling occupational injuries and are the fifth most common reason for visits to the clinic; in 85% of such conditions, no definitive diagnosis can be made.” (pg. 10410)

Whedon, Toler, Goel and Kazal (2018) reported the following:

One in 5 patients with noncancer pain or pain related diagnosis is prescribed opioids in office-based setting… primary care clinicians account for 50% of opioid prescriptions (Pg. 1). 1 day of opioid exposure carries a 6% chance of being on opioids 1year later, increasing to 13.5% by 8 days and 29.9% by 31 days. Among drug overdoses in the United States in 2014, 28,647, 61% involved an opioid. Opioids were involved in 75% of pharmaceutical deaths in 2010 and in 2015 over 22,000 deaths involved in prescription opioids were recorded-an increase of 19,000 deaths over the previous year (pg. 2).

Perhaps a portion of this phenomena is related to the training of medical primary care providers regarding musculoskeletal conditions. Studin and Owens reported (2016):

Day Et. Al. (2007) reported that only 26% of fourth year Harvard medical students had a cognitive mastery of physical medicine (pg. 452). Schmale (2005) reported “Incoming interns at the University of Pennsylvania took an exam of musculoskeletal aptitude and competence, which was validated by a survey of more than 100 orthopaedic program chairpersons across the country. Eighty-two percent of students tested failed to show basic competency. Perhaps the poor knowledge base resulted from inadequate and disproportionately low numbers of hours devoted to musculoskeletal medicine education during the undergraduate medical school years. Less than 1⁄2 of 122 US medical schools require a preclinical course in musculoskeletal medicine, less than 1⁄4 require a clinical course, and nearly 1⁄2 have no required preclinical or clinical course. In Canadian medical schools, just more than 2% of curricular time is spent on musculoskeletal medicine, despite the fact that approximately 20% of primary care practice is devoted to the care of patients with musculoskeletal problems. Various authors have described shortcomings in medical student training in fracture care, arthritis and rheumatology, and basic physical examination of the musculoskeletal system (pg. 251).

With continued evidence of lack of musculoskeletal medicine and a subsequent deficiency of training in spine care, particularly of biomechanical orientation, the question becomes which profession has the educational basis, training and clinical competence to manage these cases?  Let’s take a closer look at chiropractic education as a comparison. Fundamental to the training of Doctor of Chiropractic according to the American Chiropractic Association is 4,820 hours (compared to 3,398 for physical therapy and 4,670 to medicine) and receive a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology. As a result, all accredited Doctor of Chiropractic degree programs focus a significant amount of time in their curricula on these basic science courses. So important to practice are these courses that the Council on Chiropractic Education, the federally recognized accrediting agency for chiropractic education requires a curriculum which enables students to be “proficient in neuromusculoskeletal evaluation, treatment and management.” In addition to multiple courses in anatomy and physiology, the typical curriculum in chiropractic education includes physical diagnosis, spinal analysis, biomechanics, orthopedics and neurology. As a result, students are afforded the opportunity to practice utilizing this basic science information for many hours prior to beginning clinical services in their internship.

Whedon, Toler, Goel and Kazal (2018) continued:

Recently published clinical guidelines from the American College of Physicians recommended nonpharmacological treatment is the first – line approach to treating back pain, with consideration of opioids only is the last treatment option or if other options present substantial harm to the patient. Recent systematic review and meta-analysis found that for treatment of acute low back pain, spinal manipulation provides a clinical benefit equivalent to that of an NSAID’s, with no evidence of serious harm. Spinal manipulation is also shown to be an effective treatment option for chronic low back pain (pg. 2).

A retrospective claims study of 165,569 adults found that utilization of chiropractic services delivered by Doctor of Chiropractic was associated with reduced use of opioids. More recently, it was reported that the supply chiropractors as well as spending on spinal manipulative therapy is inversely correlated with opioid prescriptions in younger Medicare beneficiaries. This finding suggests that increased availability and utilization of services delivered by Doctor of Chiropractic could lead to reductions in opioid prescriptions. It has been reported that services delivered by Doctor of Chiropractic may improve health behaviors and reduced use of prescription drugs… Pain management services provided by Doctor of Chiropractic may allow patients use lower less frequent doses of opioids, leading to lower costs and reduce risk of adverse effects loops getting together (pg. 2).

Although chiropractic has been clinically reporting for over 100 years positive outcomes for a vast array of conditions inclusive of low back pain the American Medical Association (AMA) has been a significant opponent historically. Although the AMA’s position has been well chronicled through lawsuits such as Wilk v. American Medical Association, 895 F.2d 352 (7th Cir. 1990)

(, in 2017 it appears they have reversed their position. In the August 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association’s “Clinical Guideline Synopsis for Treatment of Low Back Pain” under the heading MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS, spinal manipulation is recommended as a first – line therapy, with a strong recommendation. As the AMA did not list Chiropractic specifically and based upon clinical guidelines of other highly regarded medical institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic, physical therapy is probably high on their list as first-line of referral for spinal manipulation (This is a  topic for another article and nomenclature utilized by chiropractic). When considering the treatment of mechanical spine issues comparatively between chiropractic and physical therapy the outcomes are overwhelmingly in chiropractic’s favor as reported by Studin and Owens (2017)

Mafi, McCarthy and Davis (2013) reported on medical and physical therapy back pain treatment from 1999 through 2010 representing 440,000,000 visits and revealed an increase of opiates from 19% to 29% for low back pain with the continued referral to physical therapy remaining constant. In addition, the costs for managing low back pain patients (not correcting anything, just managing it) has reached $106,000,000,000 ($86,000,000,000 in health care costs and $20,000,000,000 in lost productivity).

Mafi, McCarthy and Davis (2013) stated:

Moreover, spending for these conditions has increased more rapidly than overall health expenditures from 1997 to 2005…In this context, we used nationally representative data on outpatient visits to physicians to evaluate trends in use of diagnostic imaging, physical therapy, referrals to other physicians, and use of medications during the 12-year period from January 1, 1999, through December 26, 2010. We hypothesized that with the additional guidelines released during this period, use of recommended treatments would increase and use of non-recommended treatments would decrease. (p. 1574)

The above paragraph has accurately described the problem with allopathic “politics” and “care-paths.” Despite self-reported overwhelming evidence of chiropractic vs. physical therapy outcomes for spine, where there were 440,000,000 visits and $106,000,000,000 in failed expenditures, they hypothesized that increased utilization for recommended treatment would increase. The recommended treatment, as outlined in the opening two comments of this article, doesn’t work and physical therapy is a constant verifying a “perpetually failed pathway” for mechanical spine pain.

Whedon, Toler, Goel and Kazal (2018) reported the concluded:

In 2013, average annual charges per person for filling opioid prescriptions were 74% lower among recipients compared with non-recipients (author’s note: recipients are referring to those patients receiving chiropractic care). For clinical services provided at office visits for low back pain, average annual charges per person in 2013 were 78% lower among recipients compared with non-recipients. The authors have similar between – Cohort differences in charges in 2014: annual charges per person were 70% lower with opioid prescriptions and 71% lower for clinical services among recipients compared with nonrecipients. The Adjusted likelihood find prescription for the opiate analgesic in 2014 was 55% lower among recipients compared with nonrecipients.

…the Adjusted likelihood of filling a prescription opioid analgesic was 55% lower for recipients of services provided by Doctor of Chiropractic compared with non-recipients (pg. 4)

The above reports evidenced based outcomes verifying chiropractic must be considered as the first-line of referrals, or Primary Spine Care Providers for mechanical spine diagnosis (no fracture, tumor or infection). The evidence also reveals that chiropractic outcomes exceed those of physical therapy and medicine for mechanical spine diagnosis. Unfortunately, it has taken 10,000’s of opioid related deaths to bring chiropractic to the forefront and start to eradicate the medical dogma against chiropractic and consider chiropractic as the 1st referral option for spine.



  1. Hudson, Teresa J., Edlund, Mark J., Steffick, Diane E., Tripathi, Shanti P., Sullivan, Mark D. (2008) Epidemiology of Regular Prescribed Opioid Use: Results from a National, Population-Based Survey Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 2008, Vol.36(3), pp.280-288
  2. Percentage of adults in the U.S. with low back pain from 1997 to 2015 (2018) retrieved from:
  3. Percentage of adults in the U.S. who were prone to select symptoms as of 2017 (2018), Retrieved from:
  4. Whedon J., Toler A., Goehl J., Kazal L. (2018), Association Between Utilization of Chiropractic Services for Treatment of Low Back Pain and Use of Opioids, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2018 Feb 22. doi: 10.1089/acm.2017.0131. [Epub ahead of print]
  5. Treatment of Low Back Pain, Wenger H., Cifu A., (2017) Treatment of Low Back Pain, Journal of the American Medical Association, 318 (8) pages 743-744
  6. Studin M., Owens. W., (2016), Chiropractic vs. Medicine: Who is Most Cost Effective and Renders Better Outcomes for Spine? Retrieved from:
  7. Whedon J., Toler A., Goehl J., Kazal L. (2018), Association Between Utilization of Chiropractic Services for Treatment of Low Back Pain and Use of Opioids, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2018 Feb 22. doi: 10.1089/acm.2017.0131. [Epub ahead of print]
  8. Treatment of Low Back Pain, Wenger H., Cifu A., (2017) Treatment of Low Back Pain, Journal of the American Medical Association, 318 (8) pages 743-744
  9. Studin M., Owens. W., (2016), Chiropractic vs. Medicine: Who is Most Cost Effective and Renders Better Outcomes for Spine? Retrieved from:
  10. Wilk vs. American Medical Association, Retrieved from:
  11. Studin M., Owens. W., (2017), The Mechanism of the Chiropractic Spinal Adjustment /Manipulation: Chiropractic vs. Physical Therapy for Spine, Part 5 of a 5 Part series (2017) Retrieved from:


Chiropractic Provides an Evidenced-Based Solution to Seasonal Allergies

Researchers estimate that fifty million people in the United States suffer from allergies. Other parts of the world report percentages resembling those in America. Allergies represent the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. Hay fever (Allergic rhinitis) creates a common condition that causes symptoms such as sneezing, a stuffy/runny nose, and watery/itchy eyes. Most allergy sufferers experience these allergies seasonally. Symptoms of seasonal allergies occur in spring, summer and/or early fall and usually result from allergic sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses, weeds, or airborne
mold spores.

Year-round allergic rhinitis generally results from sensitivity to house dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches, or mold spores. Most allergy sufferers turn to allergy drugs (usually Zyrtec, Allegra, or Claritin) for relief. Pharmaceutical drugs may treat allergy symptoms but do so with a risk of side effects that include: drowsiness, mouth and throat dryness, abnormal heart rhythms, sleep troubles, digestive issues, skin problems, headaches, and nervous system dysfunction.

A medical study published in 2004 linked allergies to tiny misalignments in the spine. When the misalignments were addressed with manual adjustments by a health professional, allergy symptoms improved in more than 70% of patients. Several other recorded results included:

• 98% of patients with dermatitis, allergies and asthma suffered from
vertebral misalignments
• Correction of spinal misalignments improved itching symptoms of
chronic dermatitis by 88% and skin appearance of dermatitis patients
by 72%
• Allergy symptoms improved in over 70% of patients who received
• Vertebral misalignment is a common factor in patients with
dermatitis and asthma
• Dermatitis patients receiving no adjustment experienced no

Research experts discovered a new link between the brain and immune system in 2015. A popular magazine published the findings in an article titled, “They’ll Have to Rewrite the Textbooks.” Advanced research produced findings relevant to modern health care involving the connection between Chiropractic care and major diseases, including allergies. The health of the spine directly influences the health of the brain and nervous system. Every Chiropractic adjustment influences immunity. Chiropractors address small misalignments in the spine known as subluxations. Subluxations interfere with nervous system function and negatively influence immunity. Chiropractors focus on the health of the nervous system rather than the symptoms of a specific disease. Improved immunity, including allergy relief, radiates from Chiropractic offices all over the world through the benefits of drug free adjustments designed to repair the cause of allergies and other ailments stemming from the nervous system. Millions of people suffer from a lowered quality of life during allergy season.

Chiropractic offers the long-term solution.

The Internet Journal of Orthopedic Surgery 2003 Vol. 2.1
“Relationship Between Vertebral Deformities and Allergic Diseases”
Y. Takeda, S. Arai

Boosting immunity without drugs, lotions or potions.

With the cold and flu season in full swing what can you do to boost your immune function and stay healthy? With the flu vaccine being less that 10% effective there are other ways to help improve your resistance.

Colostrum exists as one of the strongest immune-boosting substances in world. This potent form of breast milk delivers a vital immune system boost to newborn babies in the first 72 hours of life. The potency stems from a specific ingredient called IgA (ImmunoGlobulin A). Increased IgA in the blood and lymph tissue boosts immunity throughout the entire body. The body fends off infections with ease with the presence of increased levels of IgA.

Proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep all positively influence adequate IgA levels. The health and condition of the spine also plays a direct role on immunity. A study from 2011 proved that spinal adjustive care increases IgA levels by 139%. The study surveyed these boosted IgA levels in a stressed population of people. Blood measurements were assessed before and after spinal adjustments and compared to a control group determined to be experiencing the same significant stress. Those receiving spinal adjustments experienced an average increase in IgA of 139% compared to the group that did not receive adjustments.

The link between the spine and brain explains the reason for this elevation in the immune system. Chiropractic pursues the improvement of the brain and immune system. Many health care providers associate Chiropractic care as a form of pain assistance, but research continues to prove that spinal adjustments positively impact the entire central nervous system by reducing interference between the brain and spinal cord. Chiropractors and patients have witnessed improved immunity and health for over a century.

If ten people walked into a room containing the rhinovirus (common cold), not all ten people would develop cold symptoms. The body maintains an incredible ability to resist infections, even when exposed directly to an adverse stimulus. Chiropractic teaches about the body’s ability to resist the virility of a virus or bacteria through proactive immune defense. Other health care providers emphasize the use of chemicals and drugs to assist a weakened body.

Chiropractic accentuates the defense capabilities found in a body strengthened to suit an environment. Adjustments remove interference to the nervous system and allow vital communication and function to flow freely from the brain and other organs. A healthy body produces IgA and other substances that form the body’s natural defense and enable every family member to experience elevated health and vitality.


The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association – March 2011;111(3):143-7
“Impact of osteopathic manipulative treatment on secretory immunoglobulin a levels in a stressed population.”
G. Saggio, S. Docimo, J. Pilc, J. Norton, W. Gilliar

Patients under Chiropractic care have a 57% reduction of opioid use!

Cedar Park, TX

Opioid prescriptions skyrocketed from 112 million in 1992 to nearly 249 million in 2015. Experts refer to this shift as the Opioid Epidemic. Opioid pain-relieving drugs result in over thirty-two thousand deaths every year in the United States. Opioid addictions become a larger health threat as more people than ever seek relief from pain at the expense of quality of life and terminal addiction. Serious side effects of opioid use include sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, physical dependence, tolerance, and respiratory depression.

Most opioid prescriptions treat a form of muscle or skeletal pain. Military servicemen and women rank among those most plagued with opioid dependency. Training injuries and on-duty traumas account for the most significant reasons most begin opioid drug use. Real and identifiable pain exists without a safe and effective path towards resolution. Any treatment or strategy designed to alleviate pain without the use of dangerous drugs carries the potential to save millions of lives per year. Research proves that Chiropractic works.

A former Dartmouth MD conducted a study that showed patients with back pain who experienced Chiropractic care reduced opioid use by 57% compared to patients who did not utilize spinal adjustive care. This minor study requires further investigation on a larger scale but introduces another avenue of evidence that further proves what Chiropractors see in practices across the country every week. Pain reduction, improved movement, and increased function serve as side effects to the larger process of improving the structure of the spine and nervous system.

Understanding the purpose of Chiropractic helps clarify the outcomes of countless scientific studies. Harvard University described Chiropractic as, “A health care system that holds that the structure of the body, particularly the spine, affects the function of every part of the body. Chiropractors try to correct the body’s alignment to relieve pain and improve function to help the body heal itself.” This definition describes the unique purpose and benefits that Chiropractic delivers, particularly as spinal care relates to helping patients avoid or overcome opioid addictions.

Chiropractic began in 1895 with a mission to help people get and stay well without the use of drugs or surgery. Everyone deserves to live comfortably in their own body. Chiropractic provides relief from pain and pharmaceutical side effects by pursuing the optimal function of the body. Research attached to prestigious names like Harvard and Dartmouth provide a strong starting point when educating the public about Chiropractic. Drugs and surgeries create dependencies and addictions that rob citizens of precious life quality.

Chiropractic research and results help provide a catalyst for health care change in every family and local community.

Contact our office if you would like further information on how we can assist in your healthcare needs.

Harvard Health Recommends Chiropractic Care

Where to turn for low back pain relief

In most cases, a primary care doctor or chiropractor can help you resolve the problem.

Low back pain is one of the most common complaints on the planet. And you may wonder where to turn when you start experiencing some of those aches or twinges in the lower part of your back. Take heart. “In most cases, you won’t need a specialist,” says Dr. Robert Shmerling, a rheumatologist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

When pain strikes

There are many causes of low back pain. Some of the most common include an injury to a muscle or tendon (a strain), an injury to a back ligament (a sprain), and a herniated or “slipped” disc (when the soft material inside of a disc between spinal bones leaks and irritates nerves). Many of these issues will eventually resolve on their own.

But some causes of low back pain, such as a narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), may require a specialist. “A referral makes sense when conservative measures have failed to address your back pain, symptoms aren’t improving or are getting worse, or there’s a suspicion that surgery might be needed,” says Dr. Shmerling.

Where to turn

Since you shouldn’t try to diagnose your own back pain, make your first call to a professional who can assess your problem, such as a primary care physician or a chiropractor. “Both can serve as the entry point for back pain,” says Dr. Matthew Kowalski, a chiropractor with the Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “And 35% to 42% of people with their first episode of back pain will consult a chiropractor.”

Chiropractors use posture exercises and hands-on spinal manipulation to relieve back pain, improve function, and help the body heal itself. They often work in conjunction with other doctors, and they can prescribe diet, exercise, and stretching programs. “A well-trained chiropractor will sort out whether you should be in their care or the care of a physical therapist or medical doctor,” Dr. Kowalski explains.

The next step

If you do need a specialist on your team, there are many experts who can help, depending on your needs. You may be referred to any of these:

A neurologist, a doctor specializing in treatment of the nervous system. “Back pain is commonly associated with lower-extremity symptoms, such as numbness and tingling. These symptoms can also be caused by neurological conditions that are not spine-related, such as multiple sclerosis. Neurologists are great at sorting this out and offering solutions,” says Dr. Kowalski.

A physiatrist, a doctor with expertise in physical medicine and rehabilitation. “This may be helpful for back pain related to a sports injury, if surgery is not needed, and when medications are not working,” says Dr. Shmerling.

A rheumatologist, a doctor who treats diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones. “Referral is most appropriate when there is inflammation of the joints in the back, or if the back pain might be related to an inflammatory disease, such as psoriatic arthritis,” explains Dr. Shmerling.

A physical therapist, a licensed therapist who can help you strengthen back and core muscles to absorb pressure on the spine.

A pain management physician, a doctor who can prescribe medications, provide injections, and consider other approaches. “People with symptoms that aren’t responding to treatment are great candidates for pain management, such as injections or procedures to smaller joints in lower back,” says Dr. Kowalski.

An orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon who primarily does spine surgery, if surgery is likely needed for severe, unrelenting pain that may be due to a disc or spinal column problem.

Keep in mind

It may take several types of tests, such as x-rays, MRIs, and blood tests, to determine the exact cause of your back pain.

And you may need more than one expert managing your back pain. It just depends on the situation. “Most people who see more than one expert have more than one problem or have not improved with prior treatments,” says Dr. Shmerling.

But for back sprains, strains, and herniated discs, a visit to your primary care physician or chiropractor may be all it takes to feel better. Make that initial call if back pain is interfering with your day.

For more information, check out the Harvard Special Health Report Back Pain: Finding solutions for your aching back.

RAND Report: Chiropractic Scores Big in the Military

RAND Corporation research report on availability, documentation, coding, credentialing / privileging practices, and demand for CAM services at military treatment facilities (MTFs) shows chiropractic enjoying substantial success within MTFs in terms of availability, utilization and effectiveness.

The report is based on a survey of MTFs commissioned by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury and conducted from August-October 2015. The survey had an impressive 94 percent response rate from the 142 MTFs, yielding numerous positive findings regarding

  • More than half (55 percent) of the 110 MTFs that offer CAM services provide chiropractic care.
  • Chiropractic is by far the most frequently utilized service (14,000 estimated visits per month – “nearly double the utilization figures for acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnosis and massage combined”). Overall, DCs see almost 3 percent of all MTF-directed outpatient care.
  • Back pain and chronic pain are the most common reasons for chiropractic use within MTFs.
  • Chiropractic patients are more likely to adhere to care than any other CAM patient (61 percent showing “high adherence” and 22 percent “moderate adherence”). Acupuncture is second at 56 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
  • More than half (51 percent) of MTFs report reductions in medication use by patients receiving chiropractic care (second only to acupuncture at 61 percent).
  • The Military Health System boasts more than 100 FTE [full-time equivalent] staff and contract chiropractors, making DCs the fourth most common provider type after medical physicians (370), clinical psychologists (350) and social workers (206).
  • Almost two-thirds of MTFs say chiropractic improves patient satisfaction and patients’ quality of life (65 percent and 63 percent, respectively); 57 percent say it improves functional status; 55 percent say it improves work performance; and 45 percent say it improves sleep.


FDA recommends Chiropractic and Acupuncture

The FDA has proposed that doctors learn about acupuncture as an alternative treatment for pain

As a Doctor of Chiropractic practicing since 1998, we have seen a steady rise in opiate prescription for patients that we have co-managed. With the unfortunate death toll now at over 183,000 people just since 1999, new guidelines from the FDA now recommend Chiropractic and Acupuncture as a front line approach before prescription of opiates.

Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999,1,2  and so have sales of these prescription drugs.3 From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to PRESCRIPTION opioids.1,2

Chiropractors and acupuncturists who have lobbied for a bigger role in treating pain have won a preliminary endorsement from federal health officials.

The Food and Drug Administration released proposed changes Wednesday to its blueprint on educating health care providers about treating pain. The guidelines now recommend that doctors get information about chiropractic care and acupuncture as therapies that might help patients avoid prescription opioids.

“[Health care providers] should be knowledgeable about the range of available therapies, when they may be helpful, and when they should be used as part of a multidisciplinary approach to pain management,” the agency wrote in the proposal.

The suggested changes come as chiropractors and other alternative medicine providers have stepped up lobbying Congress and state legislatures to elevate their role in treating chronic pain. They’ve scored several big victories in recent years.

As opioid crisis flares, naturopaths and chiropractors lobby for bigger roles in treating pain

In Oregon, the state Medicaid program decided to cover chiropractic care for lower back pain starting in 2016. Other states are considering similar moves. And earlier this year, the chiropractic industry cheered when the American College of Physicians recommended non-surgical treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, and chiropractic care as the first options for treating lower back pain.

The FDA’s draft blueprint isn’t final — and drug makers, doctors, and alternative medicine providers will all have a chance to weigh in. The FDA will take public comments through July 10.

The blueprint released this week is part of a strategy the FDA rolled out in 2011 to address a crisis of prescription drug abuse. The FDA required opioid manufacturers to provide education for health providers who prescribe their pain medications — but didn’t mention chiropractic care or acupuncture in its initial blueprint for what that education ought to look like.

Now, the agency is seeking to give prescribers more information on a broader range of approaches to manage pain, including non-pharmacologic therapies, said Sarah Peddicord, a spokesperson for the FDA.

Read the original article on STAT. Copyright 2017.

If you or someone you care about is dealing with chronic pain, please forward this.  It just may save their life.  Dr. Jeffrey Swanson at Cedar Park Chiropractic and Acupuncture has 19 years experience treating and managing patients.  Feel free to contact us at 512-335-0641

The 1%. Great hotels, private jets, and..hospitals?


Bottom Line: The Four Seasons, the Ritz-Carlton, The W, and….your local hospital.  Wait, what?!?  What do they have in common?  All of them charge you an arm and a leg for a visit, but some you would rather visit than others. Let’s face it, heading to the hospital is expensive. Did you know a recent study showed that people who use chiropractic care reduced their hospital stays by 59%?
Why it Matters: Hospital visits are unbelievably expensive. We have all heard the stories of the $400 aspirin. Well, it’s no fluke that people who are under the care of a chiropractor are more active and more engaged in staying healthy. And staying healthy can save you money.

Next Steps: Congrats! You are in the right place, but your friends may not be. Take this handout and give it to a friend who has children. Getting their family under chiropractic care may end up saving them a ton of money. Looking out for each other’s health. That’s what friends are for!
Science Source: Clinical Utilization and Cost Outcomes from an Integrative Medicine Independent Physician Association: An Additional 3-Year Update Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics May 2007

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Sick of Wasting Money on Medications?

Bottom Line: Sick of spending money on medications that don’t fix your problems? Well, new research has shown that utilizing chiropractic care can decrease the money you spend on medications by up to 85%! We both know that a dollar saved is a dollar earned.

Why it Matters: See people dance through fields of dandelions on television? You know, the standard big pharma interpretation of “health” costs a lot of money. However, all that money spent on commercials does not necessarily make you have a greater quality of life. Top research papers have shown conservative care, such as chiropractic, to reduce pain and improve quality of life. So, not only is saving money a benefit of chiropractic care, but you also can look forward to spending more time doing the things you love, with the people you love.

Next Steps: Take this copy of Research That Matters and share it with a friend who is sick and tired of taking too many medications. It could be their first step towards getting their life back. There may be a better, more natural way for them to find relief with chiropractic care.  Dr. Jeff Swanson has helped countless patients in Cedar Park and Austin since 1999 achieve health without medications or invasive procedures.

Science Source: Clinical Utilization and Cost Outcomes from an Integrative Medicine Independent Physician Association: An Additional 3-Year Update Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics May 2007

If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jeff Swanson at Cedar Park Chiropractic, contact us at 512-335-0641.  Our office is location is 345 Cypress Creek Rd. #103 Cedar Park, TX 78613 or online at

Chiropractic Patients Recover Faster, Spend Less Money

Back pain is an expensive health problem for both patients and businesses. A 2012 study reported that we spend about $635 billion on pain every year, with a significant amount of that spent on back pain. Over the years, quite a few studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective for back pain than medical care, plus chiropractic patients spend less money on their care than medical patients do.

Because back pain is such a common problem, a group of Canadian researchers recently investigated the role that the type of primary caregiver has on financial compensation.

This was a large study of 5,511 patients who experienced a work-related back injury in Ontario, Canada. The patients saw the following providers for their first visit:

  • 85.3% saw a medical doctor
  • 11.4% saw a chiropractor
  • 3.2% saw a physical therapist

The authors set out to “compare the duration of financial compensation for back pain” among patients from each care group.

The study found that chiropractic patients had the shortest amount of time receiving compensation for their pain and also were less likely to have a recurrence.

In addition, chiropractic patients didn’t need to see other healthcare providers for their pain. 75% of chiropractic patients saw no other provider, while 58.6% of physical therapy patients also saw a medical doctor.

The authors conclude:

“The type of healthcare provider first visited for back pain is a determinant of the duration of financial compensation during the first 5 months. Chiropractic patients experience the shortest duration of compensation, and physiotherapy patients experience the longest.”

Blanchette M, Rivard M, Dionne CE, et al. Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2016 Sep 17.

By Michael Melton