An American research project has studied the efficacy of the use of painkilling medicine against chronic low back pain. Patients suffering from chronic LBP who have received chiropractic treatment has 55 % less likelihood of prescribing opioids than patients, who did not receive chiropractic treatment, according to the conclusions reached by the researchers, who carried out the research, in an article titled Association Between Utilization of Chiropractic Services for Treatment of Low-Back Pain and Use of Prescription Opioids in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
There has been an almost epidemic increase in the use of opioids in the US since the 1990’s; more than 650 000 Americans are prescribed painkillers every day. In 2015, New Hampshire had the doubtful honour of being the US state with the highest number of deaths related to medication. At the same time, there is very little evidence that opioids ease chronic pain or increases functionality or quality of life.
A better way to treat chronic pain is chiropractic treatment. It is the type of treatment being recommended in clinical guidelines worldwide. In the study, the researchers have compared the effect of chiropractic treatment with the use of prescription painkilling medicine with opioids.
The researchers studied data from the Department of Health and Human Services in New Hampshire. They reached their conclusion based on data from 13384 citizens aged 18 to 99, divided between 6868 participants who had received chiropractic treatment and 6516 participants, who had not. 19 % of the participants, who received chiropractic treatment also received medicine, while 35 % of the participants, who did not receive treatment received medicine. The reasons for the reduced use of opioids by patients with chronic muscle pain, who receive chiropractic treatment, which is why the researchers suggest further research to establish why chiropractic treatment seems to reduce the need for painkilling medicine.
The study was carried out by researchers from Health Services Research, Southern California University of Health Sciences, Whittier, California and from Community and Family Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire.
James M. Whedon, DC, MS, Andrew W.J. Toler, MS, Justin M. Goehl, DC, MS, and Louis A. Kazal, MD. Association Between Utilization of Chiropractic Services for Treatment of Low-Back Pain and Use of Prescription Opioids. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE Volume 24, Number 6, 2018 https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2017.0131