CF 111: American Academy of Family Physicians Warming To Chiropractic For Chronic Pain & Evidence Behind Supplements

Today we’re going to talk about how the American Family Physicians may be warming up to chiropractic for chronic pain and what supplements actually have some evidence behind them.

But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music

Chiropractic evidence-based products
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OK, we are back and you have found the Chiropractic Forward Podcast where we are making evidence-based chiropractic fun, profitable, and accessible while we make you and your patients better all the way around. 

We’re the fun kind of research. Not the stuffy, high-brow kind of research. We’re research talk over a couple of beers.

I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

If you haven’t yet I have a few things you should do. 

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Do it do it do it. 

You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #111

Now if you missed last week’s episode , we talked about Dry Needling vs. Massage and even more importantly, we talked about the topic of “What is your exit number?”. What are you looking to get out of it all in the end? I feel like there were points made in there that could really get you to contemplating and thinking going forward. So, make sure you don’t miss that info. Keep up with the class. 

That reminds me, did you know that you can use our website as quite a resource? I do it all of the time. If you think I can keep every one of these papers in my noggin and pull them out of my brain files on demand, that’s a big nope. But I can go to, click on Episodes, and use the search function to find whatever I want quickly and easily. With over 100 episodes in the tank and an average of 2-3 papers covered per episode, we have somewhere between 250 and 300 papers that can be quickly referenced along with their talking points. 

On the personal end of things…..

Rinse and repeat man, rinse and repeat. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, then you know life has been crazy and there’s no slow down in site. 

Some really positive stuff happening though too. For example, I was interviewed for two different articles in Chiropractic Economics recently. They published an article called “Chiropractic for prevention: the latest research on maintenance care” by Michele Wojciechowski. Michele used my comments exclusively in this article and that’s just a big honor. 

I remember when I was new in practice. I remember reading articles in Dynamic Chiropractic and Chiropractic Economics and thinking that would be cool to be in that one of these days. Now……I’ve been fortunate enough to be in Reader’s Digest, on the ACA Blog a couple of times, and now Chiropractic Economics. It’s pretty damn exciting and it’s an honor. 

Thank you Michele for finding value in my comments and sharing them with everyone else. I’ll leave a link to that article at this point in the show notes if you’re interested in giving it a read through. 

Other than that, my family and I took a quick ski-cation to Red River, New Mexico. If you haven’t been, look it up. Here’s why we like Red River, First thing, it’s close. For a Texan to be able to just drive about 4 hours and be in the mountains, that’s pretty exciting. 

Next thing, it’s just gorgeous. And, the ski slope comes right down into the town so you don’t have to drive out to a mountain which is nice. 

Let’s talk about why I retired from skiing myself though shall we? This may make you think a bit about some of the stuff you do in your offtime. Maybe it won’t but it’s important to think about things which is the whole point of me bringing it up.

I used to ski a lot back in high school and junior high. I was pretty decent at it too. Then I went off to play football and be a college kid. Well, Louisiana for a bit and Dallas for a bit…..those areas aren’t very conducive to learning to snow ski. It’s too damn far. Especially when you’re still a kid and broke as hell. Skiing just doesn’t happen at that point in life unless you have parents taking you. I didn’t.

So then you start life and you’re building a business and there’s never time to go then either. 

Well by the time I got back around to going skiing again, I hadn’t done it in about 20 years give or take. So, i got a private coach for a morning just to get me back on that bicycle and rocking and rolling again. I have to tell you, it was hard as hell!! It was NOT like riding a bike. Nothing at all like it as a matter of fact!!

But, I took it slow, I didn’t fall at all, and was fairly happy with my progress over the weekend. HOWEVER, I got to thinking when I got home. I went back to work and had about 45 patients that next day. What if I had twisted a knee, broken and elbow, or dislocated a shoulder while I was skiing? What would I have done?

You know this sounds stupid when you say it but, “They call them accidents because you don’t plan them.” But you can avoid them sometimes. I got to thinking long and hard enough about the risk vs. rewards for continuing to ski and……honestly, on paper, it wasn’t worth the risk. 

So, I retired. Maybe if I had an associate. Maybe I could make more sense of it but, the truth is, I don’t have an associate. It’s just me although I’m thinking of hiring one just as soon as it makes sense. Anyway. I took the kids skiing while the wifey and myself enjoyed the mountains, some brewskis, and some playoff football games. 

What are you involved in as far as physical activity outside of your practice that puts you at risk and puts your ability to earn a living at risk? Do you have disability insurance? Life insurance? Long term care insurance? I have all of that. Do you need it?

Start thinking about these things. Certainly, the more successful you get and the busier your practice gets. Risking an injury just might not be worth it at some point. 

Before we dive into the reason we’re here, it’s good to support the people that support evidence-informed practitioners. Well, ChiroUp certainly does just that. 

If you don’t take advantage of the deal I’m about to offer you, I think you just might be crazy.

Regular listeners know I’ve used ChiroUp for well over a year now. I’m going to tell you want it is and then share a way to do a FREE TRIAL and, if you sign up, only pay $99/month for the first six months. So listen up!

ChiroUp is changing the way we practice by simplifying patient education and here’s what I mean: 

In a matter of seconds, you can send condition-specific reports to your patients with recommendations for treatment, activities of daily living, & for their exercises. 

This saves you so much time – no more explaining & re-explaining your patient’s care because they have access to it right there at their fingertips. 

You can be confident that your patients are getting the best possible care because the reports and exercises are populated based on what the literature recommends and isn’t that reassuring? All of that work has been done FOR you by people that are deep into the research. 

There are more than 1000 providers worldwide using ChiroUp to empower their treatments, patients, & practice.

If you don’t know what it’s all about or you’d like to check it out, do yourself a favor and go to today to get started with your FREE TRIAL and, to sweeten the deal, you can use code Williams99 to pay only $99/month for your first 6 months

That’s and super saver code is Williams99.

Item #1

Let’s start with this one from American Family Physician. I got this one from one of my amazing colleagues, Dr. Craig Benton down in Lampasas, TX. It’s called “Nonpharmacologic therapies can improve chronic pain outcomes” authored by Michael Devitt and was published in American Academy of Family Physicians on January 15, 2020(Devitt M 2020). Damn it’s hot…..

Not a research paper but more of an article in their publication but has plenty to do with chiropractic. 

They set the stage here by pointing out that chronic pain is something that can cause people to go to extreme measures just to get the pain to go away. Or at least lighten up. They say this includes potentially harmful behaviors like drug and alcohol misuse and/or abuse. 

Then this article in the American Family Physicians journal starts to highlight and promote the nonpharmacologic treatment modalities that are available to family physicians. Honestly, did you think you’d ever see the day? Ever? The battle isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination but research is gradually, inch by inch, turning the tide. 

They say these modalities include simple methods like massage and heat as well as more complex therapy like acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation. They called us ‘complex’ and I’m taking that as a compliment. Lol. What we do can damn sure be complex. 

They say that these nonpharma strategies aren’t only effective for decreasing pain and improving function, but can also be effective for reducing longer-term adverse effects such as substance use disorders and suicide attempts. THAT’S A BIG DAMN DEAL. 

In fact, I got one word, two syllables….day-um. 

One researcher, the lead author from an active-duty US Army service study said “Chronic pain is associated with adverse outcomes such as substance use and suicidal thoughts and behavior,” said Esther Meerwijk, Ph.D., M.S.N., a statistician at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California. She added, “It made sense that if nondrug treatments are good at managing pain, their effect would go beyond only pain relief. However, I was surprised that the results of our analyses held, despite our attempts to prove them wrong.”

Despite our attempts to prove them wrong! Haven’t they been trying to prove us wrong for generations now? Lol. I always say that with all of the powers against us, if we were wrong, if we were ineffective, we would have been wiped out years ago. 

In one of her projects, they reviewed the records of more than 275,000 active-duty service members reporting chronic pain.

They combed through their files to determine whether they had received any of 13 nonpharmacologic therapies after their deployment. Those therapies were acupuncture or dry needling, biofeedback, chiropractic care, cold laser therapy, exercise therapy, lumbar supports, massage, osteopathic spinal manipulation, other physical therapy, superficial heat, traction, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and ultrasonography. 

After crunching all of the numbers and outcomes here’s what they came up with:

Specifically, service members who received nonpharmacologic therapies were

  • 8% less likely to experience new-onset alcohol and/or drug use disorders;
  • 12% less likely to experience suicidal ideation;
  • 17% less likely to experience a self-inflicted injury, including attempted suicide;
  • 18% less likely to intentionally poison themselves with opioids, related narcotics, barbiturates or sedatives; and
  • 35% less likely to accidentally poison themselves with the same types of drugs.

The researchers acknowledged several limitations in their research. For example, although most nonpharmacologic therapies were provided after service members were diagnosed with chronic pain, the authors could not determine whether those nonpharmacologic therapies were used specifically to treat that pain.

In the news release, Meerwijk also explained that her team did not study the effects of individual nonpharmacologic therapies.

“We treated them as one,” she said. “Most likely, only some of the therapies that we included are responsible for the effect that we reported, whereas others may have had no effect at all, assuming there’s no other variable that explains our findings.”

Despite these limits, the authors expressed confidence in their research methods and findings.

“Our results suggest that (nonpharmacologic therapies) provided to active-duty service members with chronic pain may reduce their odds of long-term adverse outcomes,” they concluded in the study. “Given known associations of these adverse outcomes with morbidity and mortality, providing (nonpharmacologic therapies) to service members with chronic pain could potentially save lives.”

I’ve been hearing this crashing tidal wave coming. It’s not here yet. But the roar is approaching and it sounds like sweet sweet music to me ears. 

Item #2

I’m going to do everything I can to boil this sucker down and strip it to the bare bones without it getting too long or boring. This one is called “Evidence-based supplements for the enhancement of the athletic performance” by Peeling, et. al(Peeling P 2017). and published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2017. 

The authors wanted to put together a review focusing on the available evidence based for performance supplements commonly used in sports and summarizing the when’s and the how’s around their uses.

The ysay there is robust evidence that the following supplements can enhance sports performance when used according to established protocols. 

So let’s motor through this like poop through a goose, shall we?

  1. Caffeine -There exists a lengthy research history on caffeine supplementation across a range of performance protocols, including endurance-based situations, resistance training exercise, short-term supramaximal efforts, and/or repeat-sprint tasks. Reported benefits of caffeine include benefits include adenosine receptor antagonism, increased endorphin release, enhanced neuromuscular function, improved vigilance and alertness, and a reduced perception of exertion during exercise. Low to moderate doses of caffeine (∼3–6 mg/kg BM), consumed 60 min pre exercise, appear to have the most consistent positive outcomes on sports performance in research situations, although a variety of other protocols (as mentioned above) also appear beneficial, and are practiced in real-life. Of note, athletes who intend to use caffeine as a performance aid should trial their strategies during training or minor competitions, in order to fine-tune a protocol that achieves benefits with minimal side effects.
  2. Creatine – widely-researched supplement, with creatine monohydrate (CM) being the most common form used. Creatine loading can acutely enhance the performance of sports involving repeated high-intensity exercise (e.g., team sports), as well as the chronic outcomes of training programs based on these characteristics (e.g., resistance or interval training), leading to greater gains in lean mass and muscular strength and power. When accepted creatine monohydrate supplementation protocols are followed, the expected increase in intramuscular creatine stores is likely to enhance lean mass, maximal power/strength, and the performance of single and repeated bouts of short-term, high-intensity exercise.
  3. Nitrate –  The authors say Nitrate is a popular supplement initially found to improve oxygen uptake kinetics during prolonged submaximal exercise. Great sources are Leafy green and root vegetables (i.e., spinach, rocket, celery, beetroot, etc.
  4. Beta-Alanine – The paper says this is one of the immediate defenses against the accumulation of protons in the contracting musculature during exercise. I can also tell you that this is just something I never nerded out on. Lol. Not my cup of tea but I like to offer something for everyone here at the Chiropractic Forward Podcast. They say it can improve tolerance for maximal exercise bouts lasting 30 s to 10 min and provide small yet significant benefits in both continuous and intermittent exercise tests. Basically, it’s used in order to augment high-intensity exercise performance ranging from 30 s to 10 min in duration.
  5. Sodium Bicarbonate – benefits are generally seen in short-term, high-intensity sprints lasting ∼60 s in duration, with a diminishing return as the effort duration exceeds ∼10 min. However, greater benefits may be realized (>8% improvement) with a greater number of repeated sprint bouts

Go to our show notes at if you’d like to get dosing information and all the little technical tidbits. It’s really interesting. Even to an orthopedic guy like me although, its technical enough to make my eyes glaze over as well. 

There are several others listed in the paper as well but the authors point out that the evidence for their effectiveness is much less clear. They are Sodium citrate, Phosphates, and Carnitine.

Even though that stuff is not my cup of tea, it’s good to know, it’s good to have as a reference, and it’s good to pass on to you because many of you actually do nerd out on that stuff and thank God for that. That means I can call people like you and ask what the hell. On the other hand, if it’s something I nerd out on like orthopedics, you can call me and say what the hell?


Remember the evidence-informed brochures and posters at

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The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment rather than chemical treatments like pills and shots.

When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show us patients can get good to excellent results for headaches, neck pain, back pain, and joint pain to name just a few.

It’s safe and cost-effective can decrease surgeries & disability and we do it through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal hassle to the patient. 

And, if the patient treats preventatively after initial recovery, we can usually keep it that way while raising the overall level of health!

Key Point:

At the end of the day, patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment that offers the least harm. When it comes to non-complicated musculoskeletal complaints….

That’s Chiropractic!


Send us an email at dr dot williams at and let us know what you think of our show and tell us your suggestions for future episodes. 

Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on podcast platforms. 

We know how this works by now. If you value something, you have to share it, interact with it, review it, talk about it from time to time, and actively hit a few buttons to support it here and there when asked. It really does make a big difference. 


We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 


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About the Author & Host

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger


Devitt M (2020). “Nonpharmacologic Therapies Can Improve Chronic Pain Outcomes Reductions in Drug Misuse, Suicide Attempts Reported.” AAFP.

Peeling P, B. M., Paul S, (2017). “Evidence-based supplements for the enhancement of athletic performance.” IntJ sport Nutrition Exercise Metabolism 28(2): 178-187.

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