New & Promising: Experts Agree Chiropractic Is Superior to Pills For Back Pain

Friday, October 20th, 2017

It’s been years now that I’ve been spouting off on this blog about the researched benefits of Chiropractic, almost like a broken record.

A little side note here: kids, back in the day of vinyl records, a record would develop a bad spot and repeat over and….wait….I believe I’ve heard that vinyl has made a comeback recently! I’m not sure why that is exactly but different strokes.

Anyway, it’s easy for me to be sincere and to relay the messages that research continues to broadcast year after year. The message is simple: Chiropractic is extremely safe and superior to the medical protocols for chronic and acute back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Plain and simple.

The problem is that the message gets muddied up in the relay. The reason is that I have a dog in the hunt. When you hear or read something from me telling you that Chiropractic is superior and effective, many will immediately shut down and shut off simply because I’m a chiropractor. It’s understandable, but frustrating nonetheless.

What I have tried to show my audience over the years is that they don’t have to believe ME. This research and the following recommendations come from what are traditionally Chiropractic HATERS! If they have not been “haters,” then they have certainly not been “friends” of any kind. THAT’S what makes it so POWERFUL! When your “haters” and detractors begin to recommend you…..well…..then that’s a whole different ball game, is it not?

This year has been particularly spectacular for Chiropractic with new recommendations coming from the American College of Physicians and an article in the American Medical Association supporting Chiropractic for back pain treatment. Another article in the Journal of the American Medical Association accepted the recommendations put forth by the American College of Physicians. This is all GREAT STUFF for Chiropractic. Also this year, Consumer Reports published an article called “Spinal Manipulation Can Ease Your Aching Back.” In the article, Consumer Reports surveyed over 3,500 sufferers of back pain and found that nearly 90% of people who tried spinal manipulation found it helpful!

What a year! Let’s get to it.

Here’s the paper I referred to concerning the updated guidelines from the American College of Physicians.

Why They Did It

  • The American College of Physicians developed this guideline in order to provide updated recommendations on treatment of low back pain.
  • With these recommendations, the ACP hoped to influence clinicians AND patients to make the correct decision for care in acute, subacute, or chronic low back pain conditions.

How They Did It

  • They based their recommendations on a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and other systematic reviews.
  • The research they reviewed included those papers available through April of 2015.
  • The research included only those on noninvasive pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments.

What They Found

  • Recommendation #1: patients with subacute or acute low back pain should seek nonpharmacologic treatments such as Chiropractic, Massage, Acupuncture, and superficial heat BEFORE resorting to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aleve, etc… (Graded as a strong recommendation)
  • Recommendation #2: patients with chronic low back pain should seek nonpharmacologic treatments such as Chiropractic, Exercise/Rehabilitation, Acupuncture, & Cold Laser Therapy BEFORE resorting to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aleve, etc… (Graded as a strong recommendation)
  • Recommendation #3: In patients with chronic low back pain that have had no relief from nonpharmacological means, the first line of treatment would consist of NSAIDs like Aleve, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.. As a second-line treatment, the clinician may consider tramadol or duloxetine. Opioids would be a last option and only if all other treatments have been exhausted and failed and even then with lengthy discussion with the patient in regards to the risks and benefits of using opioids. (Graded as weak recommendation)

Wrap It Up

It’s clear there is an opioid crisis in America and it’s raging. Fortunately, the medical profession is starting to engage in it and these updated recommendations are a sign and and consequence of such. In a world where only about 25% of the population utilize chiropractic, and an even smaller number of the US uses the other alternative therapies, it is refreshing to see the things we have known for years coming more and more into the mainstream. And we can thank research for that. I’ve seen Chiropractic literally change lives. I’ve seen people that were literally at the end of their ropes turn 180 degrees without using pills. It’s clear that pain can change a person, but it’s also clear that Chiropractic can change pain.

Clinicians, regardless of your previous inclinations regarding Chiropractic, I urge you to trust in research, trust in the American College of Physicians, and accept these updated recommendations and begin making the appropriate referrals to better help your patients deal with their low back pain.

Patients, if you have yet to try Chiropractic and other alternative protocols for you low back pain, it is now clear what you need to do and where you need to go to begin addressing your issues and begin getting back on the road to reclaiming your life.

Qaseem A, et. al. “Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians.”Ann Intern Med. 2017 Apr 4;166(7):514-530.