How to Reduce Opiate Use for Chronic Pain

Chiropractic Patients In Our Roseville Clinic Use Fewer Opiates

Roseville Chiropractic Clinic Now Accepting New VA Patients

From: Chiro Nexus News

A new study1 from the VA looked at the relationship between chiropractic care and opioid consumption in returning veterans. In this study, the researchers looked at the health records of 14,000 individuals who had received at least one chiropractic adjustment.

The authors found:

  • One third of these patients were prescribed an opioid within six months of their chiropractic visit.
  • Patients were more likely to be prescribed an opiate if they had moderate to severe pain.
  • They were also more likely to receive an opiate if they had PTSD or depression.
  • The chiropractic patients, though, had a significantly lower usage of opiates after their chiropractic visits compared to non-chiropractic patients.

How to Reduce Opiate Use for Chronic Pain

The authors write:

The percentage of veterans receiving opioid prescriptions was lower in each of the three 30-day time frames assessed after the index chiropractic visit than before. Our work did not attempt to assess causation or otherwise explain this observation. Veterans may have been referred to chiropractic care as part of an opioid taper plan, or those who agreed to chiropractic care may have been inherently less likely to seek opioid prescriptions. However, it is also possible that the delivery of chiropractic care may have been a substitute for opioid use in our sample, which raises interesting research, policy, and practice considerations as the VA continues to expand chiropractic services. This is particularly relevant in light of other work that has shown a negative correlation between chiropractic use and opioid use in private sector populations.”


This is not the first study to show that chiropractic patients are less likely to use opiates.

  • A 2016 study2 found that in areas where there are more chiropractors per capita, younger, disabled Medicare beneficiaries were less likely to obtain an opioid prescription.
  • Another 2018 study3 found that chiropractic patients had a 55% lower chance of using opioids than did medical patients.


It’s clear from our public health crisis that we need healthy, non-addictive solutions to chronic pain in the United States. Many people with pain are prescribed opiates when there are solutions that are just as effective and safer than drugs. According to the literature, it seems that chiropractic can play an important role in helping these patients.

Medical References

  1. Lisi AJ, Corcoran KL, DeRycke EC, Bastian LA, Becker WC, Edmond SN, Goertz CM, Goulet JL, Haskell SG, Higgins DM, Kawecki T, Kerns RD, Mattocks K, Ramsey C, Ruser CB, Brandt CA. Opioid Use Among Veterans of Recent Wars Receiving Veterans Affairs Chiropractic Care. Pain Medicine 2018 Sep 1;19(suppl_1):S54-S60. doi: 10.1093/pm/pny114. PubMed PMID: 30203014.
  2. Weeks WB, Goertz CM. Cross-sectional analysis of per capita supply of doctors of chiropractic and opioid use in younger medicare beneficiaries. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 2016;39(4):263–6.
  3. Whedon JM, Toler AWJ, Goehl JM, Kazal LA. Association Between Utilization of Chiropractic Services for Treatment of Low-Back Pain and Use of Prescription Opioids. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2018; Feb 22. doi: 10.1089/acm.2017.0131.
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