A growing commonplace trend reveals more people than ever being treated for back or neck pain with opioids. An estimated 84% of people will experience at least one episode of back pain in their lifetime. 15% of that number will be given opioids. 5% will go on to become long-term opioid users.

Chiropractic - A Safe and Sane Solution  to the Opioid Epidemic in the MilitaryOpioid drugs rank among the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. military. In 2018, reported in The Irish Times, the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) went on record stating that the 1,000 percent increase in the prescribing of opioids over the last decade is because the healthcare system is fractured and broken. A 2014 study determined that 44% of the U.S. infantry reported chronic pain (pain lasting at least 3 months) after combat deployment, and 15% reported opioid use in the month prior to the survey. Soldiers report greater rates of both chronic pain and opioid use after a combat deployment than does the civilian population. The astronomical rates of chronic pain and medicinal relief triggers rampant misuse of opioid pain medication, producing a significant health concern for military personnel. Prescription drug abuse spiked for military personnel at levels much higher than the civilian population over the past several years. Military servicemen and woman deserve a better approach to dealing with chronic pain and other serious health challenges than the ingestion of harmful and highly addictive opioids.

Chiropractic care represents one of the most effective interventions to address the cause of structural pain. Scientific evidence proves that Chiropractic care reduces the necessity of opioid drugs and lowers the rates and volume of addiction. More awareness and access to Chiropractic care proves vital to the health and future of the dedicated men and women in the military.

In 2018, the journal Pain Medicine, evaluated the results of Chiropractic care on veterans who used opioids. Over 14,000 veterans experienced at least one Chiropractic adjustment during the study. Some who received Chiropractic care also took opioids concurrently. Nearly one-third of veterans receiving Chiropractic services also received an opioid prescription. Results determined that those who received Chiropractic care reduced their intake of opioids after their first visit. Study discussion recommended that future work should aim to identify the optimal situations in which Chiropractic care could replace opioid therapy for chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions.

This insightful study served as one of many evidentiary pools of data that reflected the benefits of Chiropractic care for both military personnel and civilians determined to find an alternate solution to opioid use for pain. Study results combined with previous data and literature suggests that expanding access to Chiropractic care should be a key policy consideration for veterans. The latest evidence works congruently with the national initiative aimed to increase the use of research-based non-drug treatments for chronic pain. Chiropractic care serves as the most popular and effective non-drug intervention available to help people suffering from chronic pain. The men and women who sacrifice to keep their country safe deserve a health care option which fights for them when they conclude their service to others.


*Pain Med. 2018 Sep 1;19(suppl_1):S54-S60. Opioid Use Among Veterans of Recent Wars Receiving Veterans Affairs Chiropractic Care.

*JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Aug;174(8):1400-1. Chronic pain and opioid use in US soldiers after combat deployment

*The Irish Times. 2018 Feb 5. ‘Broken’ health care system to blame for huge rise in opioid use, say GPs.