A recent study from Boston University School of Public Health shows that patients that see a chiropractor for their low back pain are less likely to take opioids for pain.

The statistics:

Patients that saw a primary care physician were 79% more likely to take opioids to manage their pain.

Patients that saw a physical therapist were 71% more likely to take opioids to manage their pain.

In previous studies chiropractic has been shown to be the most effective and safest treatment for low back pain. I have seen a lot of patients go through the medical model of physical therapy, pain medications, acupuncture, pain injections, etc. and fail out with no relief. Often trying chiropractic as their last resort.

Chiropractic adjustments address the problem not just the symptom. Your back hurts because the nerves are being compressed and the joints are swelling. Adjustments correct this and is safe, gentle and effective.

Give us a call and find out how chiropractic can help you.

Here is the entire article if you want to read more!


Study: Patients Who See Chiropractor First for Low Back Pain Were Much Less Likely to be Prescribed Opioids

Patients Who First Saw a PCP for Low Back Pain Were 79 Percent More Likely to Use Prescription Opioids Than Those Who First Saw a DC

A new Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) study published in BMJ Open finds that patients who first saw a primary care physician (PCP) for low back pain were 79 percent more likely to use prescription opioids than patients who first went to a chiropractor, and 71 percent more likely than those who first went to a physical therapist.

“To reduce the risks of short- and long-term opioid use, insurers should incentivize patients to see physical therapists or chiropractors first or early on following a bout of low back pain, before seeing PCPs,” says study lead author Dr. Lewis Kazis, professor of health law, policy & management at BUSPH.

Kazis and his colleagues looked at commercial insurance and Medicare Advantage claims data from the OptumLabs database for 216,504 adults across the country who were diagnosed with new-onset low back pain between 2008 and 2013 and had not been previously prescribed opioids.

Chiropractic: A Natural Partner in the Fight Against Opioids

The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented health care crisis stemming from the over-prescription and subsequent abuse of opioid painkillers, and Michigan has been hit especially hard. Prescription opioids – drugs like oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone, and fentanyl – are involved in a large percentage of the drug poisoning deaths in Michigan.

In 2017 there were 2,033 overdose deaths involving opioids in Michigan – a rate of 21.2 deaths per 100,000 persons, according to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This is significantly higher than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. In 2017, Michigan providers wrote 74.0 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the national average of 58.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, according to data from NIDA.

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This crisis is hitting the state so hard that Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared September to be “Drug-Free Pain Management Awareness Month” in Michigan. Noting that her administration and the Michigan Legislature have made it a “high priority to combat the opioid crisis and save lives by addressing prescription drug abuse more forcefully,” Governor Whitmer states in her Proclamation that Michigan chiropractors “have an important role in comprehensive pain management strategies to serve patients safely and effectively and share the goal of ending opioid abuse and increasing the utilization of drug-free, conservative forms of health care for the management of pain.” She also states: “chiropractic and other conservative, drug-free forms of health care can and must play a major role in helping to ease the immense burden facing our state.”

Chiropractic physicians are educated and trained to effectively address spinal and musculoskeletal conditions with non-surgical, drug-free pain management. Conservative care options must be exhausted prior to the prescription of an opioid painkiller. While there are situations where opioids are necessary and appropriate, opioids are often prescribed despite evidence suggesting they are ineffective and even dangerous.

Chiropractors are THE conservative health care experts, especially in the neuromuscular conditions that are the second leading cause for visits to a healthcare provider, trailing only the common cold.

Research Proves It: More Chiropractic = Less Opioids

The BU study is just the latest research quantitatively showing that access to drug-free chiropractic care as a front-line treatment ahead of opioid medication dramatically decreases the use of opioid prescriptions among musculoskeletal pain patients. This research includes:

  • A recent meta-analysis and systematic review, conducted by the Yale Center for Medical Informatics and presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s 2019 Annual Meeting, reveals that patients who saw a chiropractor were 49 percent less likely to receive an opioid prescription than their counterparts who saw other health care providers. The analysis reviewed studies that analyzed more than 60,000 patients.
  • Another recent study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine quantified the association between utilization of chiropractic services for low back pain and the use of prescription opioids. The authors found that the adjusted likelihood of filling a prescription for an opioid was 55% lower among chiropractic recipients as compared to non-recipients. Average per-person charges for clinical services for low back pain and for prescription opioids were also significantly lower for recipients of chiropractic services.

Outside Endorsements for Chiropractic as Pain Management

  • The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends in an evidence-based clinical practice guideline published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that physicians and patients should treat acute or subacute low back pain with non-drug therapies such as spinal manipulation before the use of prescription opioids.
  • The Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Health Services Research and Development has found that spinal manipulation as performed by chiropractors has sufficient evidence to be “implemented across the VHA system as part of pain care” and that effective integration of chiropractic “should be a priority” and “should be offered early in the course of pain treatment…”
  • Harvard Medical School recently published an article discussing chiropractic care as a method of pain relief. The article also stresses that chiropractic care isn’t just for back pain and spinal manipulation, stating:“While the mainstay of chiropractic is spinal manipulation, chiropractic care now includes a wide variety of other treatments, including manual or manipulative therapies, postural and exercise education, ergonomic training (how to walk, sit, and stand to limit back strain), nutritional consultation, and even ultrasound and laser therapies. In addition, chiropractors today often work in conjunction with primary care doctors, pain experts, and surgeons to treat patients with pain.”


Kazis LE, et al. BMJ Open 2019;9:e028633. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028633

Boston University School of Public Health Press Release, “BU Finds Physical Therapy Access May Reduce Opioid Prescriptions,” September 30, 2019