SAN JOSE, Calif., March 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concludes that adults receiving chiropractic care for low back pain (LBP) were 55 percent less likely to fill a prescription for an opioid analgesic in comparison to adults who did not receive chiropractic care. The object of the investigation was to evaluate the association between utilization of chiropractic services and the use of prescription opioid medications. Based on the findings, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the value of chiropractic care, notes that pain management services provided by doctors of chiropractic (DCs) may allow patients to use lower or less frequent doses of opioids, leading to reduced costs and risk of adverse effects.
- Of the 13,384 subjects studied, only 19 percent of the subjects receiving chiropractic care filled a prescription for opioids, while 35 percent who did not receive chiropractic care filled these prescriptions.
- All categories of prescription charges were significantly lower for recipients of chiropractic services in comparison with non-recipients.
- In 2014, annual charges per person were 78 percent lower for opioid prescriptions and 71 percent lower for clinical services among chiropractic recipients compared with non-recipients.
"Consumers are actively looking for safe, clinically and cost-effective, drug-free approaches to manage back pain," said Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president, F4CP, who notes that among U.S. adults prescribed opioids, 59 percent reported having back pain. "As the cost and risks associated with prescription opioid medication continues to rise, it is only logical that more people are turning to non-invasive approaches, such as chiropractic care, as the first-line approach to treating neck, back and neuro-musculoskeletal pain before medication or surgery."
According to the study, more aggressive pain management efforts that began in the 1990s have led to an epidemic of prescriptions for opioid pain medications in the U.S, with more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions dispensed per day. An estimated one out of five patients with non-cancer pain or pain-related diagnoses is prescribed opioids in an office-based setting.
The Institute of Medicine has recommended the use of non-pharmacologic therapies, including chiropractic care, prior to utilization of pharmacotherapy for patients with chronic pain. In addition, recently published guidelines from the American College of Physicians recommend non-pharmacologic treatment as the first-line approach to treating back pain, with consideration of opioids only as the last treatment option, or if other options present substantial harm to the patient.
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About the Study
Whedon, J. M., Toler, A. W., Goehl, J. M., & Kazal, L. A. (2018). Association Between Utilization of Chiropractic Services for Treatment of Low-Back Pain and Use of Prescription Opioids. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. doi:10.1089/acm.2017.0131
The study was funded by the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters/Clinical Compass. Data for this research were supplied by the New Hampshire Insurance Department and NH Department of Health and Human Services. The study population comprised New Hampshire residents aged 18-99, enrolled in a health plan in 2013 and 2014, and with at least two clinical office visits within 90 days for a primary diagnosis of low-back pain in 2013.
About Foundation for Chiropractic Progress
A not-for-profit organization, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) informs and educates the general public about the value of chiropractic care and its role in drug-free pain management. Visit F4CP.org; call 866-901-F4CP (3427).
SOURCE Foundation for Chiropractic Progress