Opioid use has increased substantially over the past decade, with current estimates suggesting that over 12 million Americans report long-term use (or misuse) of opioid medication. This is a devastating healthcare crisis!
Musculoskeletal complaints, specifically low back pain (LBP), are common conditions precipitating initial opioid prescription, with more than half of opioid users reporting a history of LBP. The introduction of guidelines for opioid use and prescription by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American College of Physicians have seen a decrease in the rate of opioid prescription, although the prevention of opioid addiction and overdose remains a significant public health priority.
Among the recommendations in these guidelines is the recommendation that non-pharmacological treatments such as exercise, physical therapy, spinal manipulation, acupuncture and massage therapy be considered as primary treatment modalities for patients presenting with pain. Unfortunately, uptake of the recommendations in these guidelines has been slow. Further, whether these recommendations have impacted the rate of prescription of opioids for low back pain remains unknown. Two recent studies attempted to evaluate the use of opioid medication in the treatment of LBP, specifically the association between opioid use and chiropractic treatment for LBP. This review summarizes the results from these two studies and provides summary recommendations based on their conclusions…the results are very supportive for chiropractic!
THIS WEEK'S RESEARCH REVIEW: “Chiropractic Care Reduces Opioid Use in Low Back Pain” (summary of two new studies)
These papers were published in BMJ Open (2019) and Pain Medicine (2020 - in press) and this Review is posted in Recent Reviews, Low Back Pain, Pain - Chronic Pain and the 2020 Archive.
chiropractic opioids