A study published in the Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic on July 8, 2020, documented the case of a U.S. veteran who was suffering with lower back pain after having spinal surgery and who was taking opioid pain killers being helped by chiropractic and was able to stop taking the opioid drugs.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “2018 data shows that every day, 128 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.1 The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.” It is also estimated by the CDC that opioid addition costs the U.S. economy $78.5 billion per year.
Because of the size and scope of the opioid problem, any alternative that can help people and get them away from drugs should be considered a valuable component of healthcare. Chiropractic has been shown through many studies to help people in pain, therefore reducing the usage of opioid drugs.
In this study, a 70-year-old man who was a U.S. military veteran sought chiropractic care at a military VA chiropractic center for chronic low back pain as well as pain in the upper back and neck areas. Years earlier, he had undergone a lumbar laminectory and cervical fusion surgery in his neck. Since his surgery, he has been treated unsuccessfully with physical therapy and shots for his pain.
At the time he went to the Chiropractic VA center, he was taking hydrocodone 3 times daily for his pain. He stated that without the drug he was unable to work or stay positive due to his problems. He also had significant restriction of spinal movement.
After his first chiropractic visit, the man reported an improvement in his neck movement. After a week of chiropractic the man stated, “I have been feeling really good, you guys really brought me a long way. ” He elaborated by saying “I am able to bend down and touch the floor now, before I couldn’t reach down and pick up a quarter and feel a lot looser.”
After seven chiropractic visits, the man reported that he had completely taken himself off opioid drugs. He noted that he was able to increase his activities and was exercising daily in the form of swimming, weight training, walking on the beach, and stretching. He commented “since being off of opioids I feel like I have my life back.”