Chiropractic and the Opioid Epidemic



We have a massive problem in the United States with deaths and over-dose from opioids.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths from opioids in the United States in 2017 alone.  A White House report last fall put the cost to the country of the overdose epidemic at more than $500 billion a year. The vast majority of the people who ultimately died were initially prescribed opioids by a doctor for some type of pain.  They went on to become addicted to opioids and ended up overdosing.   They died horrible, unnecessary deaths.  Some overdosed on prescription drugs, and some turned to street drugs when they were unable to acquire prescription drugs.

These deaths, caused by the medical profession, in concert with pharmaceutical companies are unacceptable, unnecessary and should not be tolerated.  Doctors prescribed these drugs inappropriately.  Many of the conditions for which these drugs were prescribed are not even helped by opioids.  The science if very clear on that now.  And yet over 70,000 people per year are dying needlessly.  And this epidemic is getting worse every year.




As a chiropractor, I have seen a lot in the last 30+ years.  And before my chiropractic career, I worked with some of the sickest people on the planet at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas.  I know a lot about pain, how it works, and the solutions for it.  There are certainly times when opioids are appropriate, but so often, there are very effective non-drug solutions.

Chiropractic has always advocated for a drug-free lifestyle.  In fact, chiropractic is the largest drug-free health care profession in the world.  A recent article in the JMPT noted that 30% of people who have suffered from spinal pain have used chiropractic care.   These people often suffered from chronic neck and low back pain.  They looked at over 6,000 patients from 125 clinics in the U.S.    The typical patient was highly educated and had been in pain and using chiropractic care for years.  The take away is that 90% of the patients under chiropractic care reported “high satisfaction with their care”.   This group was successful in avoiding both opioids and spinal surgery.

Since we have such a massive problem with addiction and overdose, why wouldn’t the medical professionals encourage patients with these types of problems to seek chiropractic care prior to prescribing narcotics?  Why wouldn’t insurance companies urge physicians to seek a chiropractic consult prior to receiving a narcotics prescription?  Why wouldn’t legislators urge medical providers and chiropractic physicians to work together to help avoid narcotics-related deaths?  Our children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends are dying at unprecedented rates.  Enough is enough. Please share this article with everyone you know and ask them to send it on.  You might save a life.

By seeking chiropractic care, many can be helped without the need for opioids or pain medications.

Who do you know that could benefit from chiropractic care? Mention this blog for your complimentary consultation and exam ($75 value!) to see if chiropractic can help you!* Call us today at (512) 346-3536 or request an appointment here.

*Offer not valid for Medicare beneficiaries or Personal Injury Cases. Office hours by appointment only.

Reference:  Herman PM, Kommareddi M, Sorbero ME et al. Characteristics of Chiropractic Patients Being Treated for Chronic Low Back and Neck Pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2018, Jul-Aug;41 (6): 445-455.

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