Chiropractic Care Reduces Opioid Prescriptions, AGAIN!

Chiropractic Care Reduces Opioid Prescriptions, AGAIN!

Many recent studies have shown that seeing a chiropractor can reduce one’s risk of being prescribed opioid medications for spinal pain. This week, we summarize a recent paper from one of our newest DC/PhD colleagues in Canada – Dr Peter Emary, who graciously contributed a commentary to accompany our Review. In the midst of the continuing crisis caused by the misuse and overuse of opioids, Dr. Emary and his colleagues have provided another important chiropractic publication in this critical space!

Although commonly prescribed in North America for musculoskeletal (MSK) pain, opioids have been shown to only offer limited benefits and are often associated with serious harms, including death – 60,000 deaths (!) in the United States in 2016 alone. In recent years, with the added strain of the  COVID-19 pandemic, this number is reaching or exceeding 100 000 per year now! 

People who were prescribed opioids for back pain or another type of MSK condition, often comprising young adult men mainly, make up a significant proportion of the opioid crisis. A pilot project, which lacked a control group, evaluated an integrated chiropractic spine pain program, and found that 82% of patients who received chiropractic care reported a significant reduction in the use of analgesics. Similar uncontrolled studies conducted in the USA have reported associations between receiving chiropractic care and reduced use of opioids. Nevertheless, comparative assessments of the integration of chiropractic services into primary care settings and opioid use are sparse.  

The objective of this study was to perform a mixed methods analysis to examine the association between receipt of chiropractic services and opioid prescriptions among adult patients with noncancer spinal pain in a primary care setting. 

RESEARCH REVIEW: “Association of Chiropractic Care with Receiving an Opioid Prescription for Noncancer Spinal Pain”

This paper was published in JMPT (2022) and this Review is posted in Pain – Chronic Pain, Low Back Pain and the 2023 Archive.

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