• Most people experience back pain, and many of these patients use drugs for pain relief. A 2014 study found that of older adults with chronic back pain, 72 percent of them were using some kind of analgesic to help cope with the pain. Another study found that 32 percent of back pain patients in their analysis were using prescribed opiates for relief.

    Now, a May 2018 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shows that chiropractic also is linked to a lower risk of adverse drug reactions in patients with back pain. In this study, the authors looked at the medical records of over 19,000 adults in New Hampshire who had at least two doctor visits for back pain. 9.810 of these patients used chiropractic care; 9,343 patients used regular medical care. The researchers analyzed the number of adverse drug effects (ADEs) experienced by the two groups.

    The authors found:

    • Younger patients were more likely to use chiropractic care.
    • Non-chiropractic patients tended to have more health problems, in general, when compared to those who used chiropractic.
    • Chiropractic patients experienced 51 percent fewer adverse drug reactions (.4 percent vs .9 percent) compared to medical patients.
    • 15 non-chiropractic patients were diagnosed with drug withdrawal, while zero chiropractic patients had drug withdrawal.

    This study had some limitations, as the study data didn’t included details about the types of drugs the patients were using or how frequently they were using medications. But the authors conclude that the “utilization of chiropractic care may be associated with reduced risk of ADEs; however, no causal relationship has been established.”

    Another study by the same group of researchers found that chiropractic patients were 55 percent less likely to be prescribed opiates for their pain and had lower health care bills.

    With the opiate epidemic in the U.S., it’s critical that we find non-opiate approaches to back pain treatment. Chiropractic is about restoring health without the use of drugs. By helping the body heal naturally, chiropractic can help you stay well and help you avoid unnecessary adverse drug reactions, too.

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