Article

Posted on Apr 12, 2019

Chiropractic care sees almost 50%
reduction in opioid scripts, according to
study


Medscape Medical News has reported on research out of the Yale School of Medicine
revealing that “patients who visited a chiropractor for a musculoskeletal pain condition
were 49 percent less likely to receive an opioid prescription than their counterparts who
went to other healthcare providers.”
It is part of results across the U.S. seeing chiropractic care for musculoskeletal pain
increasingly being adopted state by state.
“Preventing opioid addiction and overdose continues to be a significant public health
priority; and as part of a strategy to lessen opioid use, clinical guidelines now
recommend many non-pharmacological options to be considered as front-line treatment
ahead of any medication,” lead author Kelsey L. Corcoran, DC, VA Connecticut Health
Care System and Yale Center for Medical Informatics, Yale School of Medicine, New
Haven, told Medscape Medical News. “Chiropractors provide many of the treatments
included in the clinical guidelines for the initial treatment of low back pain, neck pain,
and osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, and hand.”
The findings were presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) 2019
Annual Meeting.
After reviewing available literature on chiropractic use and opioid prescribing,
researchers selected six studies with a total of 62,000 patients to include in the analysis.
The research was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services
Research and Development, and the NCMIC Foundation.
The Trump administration in January released a policy to encourage private Medicare
Advantage plans, which insure about a third of seniors in the federal health program, to
cover non-opioid pain treatment recommended by a doctor. Last fall Congress passed
opioid legislation directing the Department of Health and Human Services to review its

payment policies so that doctors are not encouraged to prescribe opioids over more
conservative options. An estimated 25 million Americans live with chronic pain.
Meanwhile opioid and other drug makers are being sued by states across the U.S.,
producing thousands of lawsuits and resulting in opioid producers considering
bankruptcy under the weight of court cases. Last year the Associated Press reported on
“a loose coalition of drugmakers and industry-backed nonprofits” that “adopted a 50-
state strategy that includes hundreds of lobbyists and millions in campaign contributions
to help kill or weaken measures aimed at stemming the tide of prescription opioids.”
To read the full story on the Yale study go to medscape.com/viewarticle/910617.

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