Foundation for Chiropractic Progress Publishes Landmark White Paper: Non-Pharmaceutical Pain Management is a Safer Strategy than Opioids

Download Chiropractic: A
Safer Strategy Than Opioids’

for Chiropractic Progress
 (F4CP), the voice of the chiropractic
profession, announces the release of a positioning paper, Chiropractic:
A Safer Strategy Than Opioids,’
which articulates the value
of a conservative, non-pharmacologic approach as an important option for
pain management — particularly for back, low back and neck pain,
headaches, neuro-musculoskeletal and other related conditions. Citing
evidence-based research to validate the positive outcomes, cost
effectiveness, high patient satisfaction and other benefits of
chiropractic care, the white paper follows on the recent recommendations
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) which call
for a shift away from opioid use toward non-pharmacologic approaches to
address chronic pain.

“According to a study reported by the Agency
for Healthcare Quality and Research
, the problem remains that
opioids frequently are prescribed for acute and subacute low back pain,
despite low quality or inconclusive supporting evidence for their use in
this circumstance,” say co-authors Laura Carabello, Principal, CPR
Strategic Marketing Communications; Gerard Clum, DC, President Emeritus,
Life Chiropractic College West and Director, The Octagon, Life
University; and William Meeker, DC, MPH, President, Palmer College of
Chiropractic – San Jose Campus. “Furthermore, there are no randomized
control trials that have shown opioids to improve function, and there is
an overriding national public health concern regarding widespread abuse,
misuse and diversion of prescription pain medications.

An estimated 126.6 million Americans (one in two adults) are affected by
a neuro-musculoskeletal condition—comparable to the total percentage of
Americans living with a chronic lung or heart condition—costing an
estimated $213 billion in annual treatment, care and lost wages,
according to a new report issued by the United
States Bone and Joint Initiative

“With millions of Americans suffering with nonspecific low back pain, it
is of special note that an additional research report
published by AHRQ shows that spinal manipulative care effectively and
significantly reduces pain and improves function for these patients,”
says Dr. Meeker. “It is estimated that doctors of chiropractic (DCs)
perform the vast majority of spinal adjustments in the U.S.”

Chiropractic is the largest, and best recognized of the complementary
and alternative health care professions. In fact, patient surveys
reported in the Annals
of Internal Medicine
show that chiropractors are used more often
than any other alternative provider group and patient satisfaction with
chiropractic care is very high. There is steadily increasing patient use
of chiropractic in the United States, which has tripled in the past two

According to Jan Chambers, president, National Fibromyalgia & Chronic
Pain Association, “As an organization, we promote integrative health
care for fibromyalgia and chronic pain, and recognize the importance of
spinal health. Appropriate chiropractic care as a non-pharmacological
pain treatment in a biopsychosocial model of care is recommended.”

The white paper issues several calls to action:

  • Prescribers should heed CDC guidelines and begin prescribing safer
    alternatives such as chiropractic care for chronic pain management.
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers should institute more responsible
    marketing and physician education that will result in improved
    prescribing habits.
  • Hospital emergency rooms should evaluate their options for managing
    patients’ pain without the use of opioid painkillers.
  • Payers and plan sponsors – both government and commercial – should
    make chiropractic care an accessible, affordable, option for chronic
    pain relief, with reimbursement of DCs as covered providers.
  • Chiropractic services should be expanded in the Department of Defense
    and veteran’s health care systems since neuro-musculoskeletal pain is
    one of the leading causes of disability in the active military and
    veteran populations.

“The United States has awakened on every level to the crushing impact of
the opioid use/abuse epidemic,” concludes Dr. Clum. “This examination
offers a greater understanding of the issues driving overprescribing of
narcotics with corresponding initiatives that will help to extricate
ourselves from this current, dangerous and often fatal reality.”

As primary care professionals for spinal health and well-being, doctors
of chiropractic – who receive a minimum of seven years of higher
education – are specifically trained to diagnose, evaluate and provide
non-pharmaceutical care and rehabilitation to individuals suffering from
acute and chronic back, low back and neck pain, headaches,
neuro-musculoskeletal and other related conditions.

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. Visit or
call 866-901-F4CP (3427). Social media: FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestYouTube.


Foundation for Chiropractic Progress
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