ACA Letter to Time Magazine
Thursday, October 30, 2014 10:46 PM

The American Chiropractic Association has written a letter to Time Magazine regarding their coverage of opioid abuse in the US.  Says the ACA:  

Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) appreciate Time magazine bringing attention to the problem of opioid overuse and abuse in the United States (“For Back Pain or Headache, Painkillers Do More Harm than Good”). We agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Jane Ballantyne’s comment that, “We shouldn’t be resorting to pills as a first resort; they should very much be a last resort.” The problem for many patients is simply that they are unaware of effective non-drug approaches to pain management. Services delivered by chiropractic physicians have been shown to assist with chronic pain and reduce reliance on narcotic medications. Conservative management early in the care process may also result in reduction of both prescription use and spine surgeries.

According to VA officials, more than 600,000 veterans use opioid painkillers, and experts say they often contribute to job loss, family strife, homelessness and suicide as well as weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Facing the same problem in its ranks, the U.S. military is now investigating chiropractic services and other conservative treatment strategies to mitigate the alarming rate of opioid abuse and addiction among troops. By reducing medication use and abuse, these strategies may indeed contribute to battle-readiness. Early results of that research (Goertz, Spine 2013) show that combining chiropractic manipulative treatment with medical care provides significant improvement in lessening pain and enhancing solider readiness.

Stemming our country’s opioid epidemic will require multifactorial strategies. One potential safe, effective and value-driven solution is educating and encouraging patients to exhaust conservative-care options first.

Anthony W. Hamm, DC
President, American Chiropractic Association