Adverse Effects

Chiropractic Prevents Opioids & Chiropractic Adverse Events

CF 191: Chiropractic Prevents Opioids & Chiropractic Adverse Events Today we’re going to talk about chiropractic care preventing opioids and chiropractic adverse events.  But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music

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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. 

  • Go to Amazon and check our my book called The Remarkable Truth About Chiropractic: A Unique Journey Into The Research. It’s an invaluable resource for your patient education and for you. It can save you time in putting talks together or just staying current on research. It’s categorized into sections so that the information is easy to find and it’s written in a way that is easy to understand for practitioner as well as patient. You have to check it out. Just search for it on Amazon. That’s the Remarkable Truth About Chiropractic by Jeff Williams. 
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You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #191 Now if you missed last week’s episode , we talked about Obesity In Youths With Chronic Pain, The Healing Journey of Pain, and Fibromyalgia Treatment. Make sure you don’t miss that info. Keep up with the class. 

On the personal end of things…..

So, if you’re a regular listener, then you know that I’ve been slowly going through the Forensics Diplomate program. The initial 40 hours through ChiroCredit were not my favorites. Learning about court cases, procedures, and all that stuff…..let’s just say it’s not my skill set.  But, I did it. I sat through it all. Now I’m on to the course for impairment ratings through the AMA. It’s speaking my language a little more. OK….a lot more. It’s still very technical and all that good stuff but it makes a little more sense. However, it is written by medical doctors for medical doctors so there is a section that got me a bit hot. Did you know in the 6th edition of the Guides to Impairment, it says that chiropractors should stick with only assessing impairment of the spine….because….you know……we didn’t spend two full semesters dissecting an entire body or anything like that. Right?

The presenter said he realizes that statement may bring about some discussion but the evaluator must have knowledge, skills, and ability in that organ system or in that region to assess impairment. Otherwise, the impairment rating is likely to be faulty. So…..I guess chiropractors somehow have the inability to learn, know, or understand a shoulder, hip, ankle, etc? Let’s be fair, I get it if they think a chiropractor shouldn’t really be assessing impairment of the liver or GI system.

That’s not within our wheelhouse. But muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and joints of all sorts are damn well within our wheelhouse and it’s just dumb to act like a regular impairment doc doing impairment ratings are any more intimately familiar with them than we are.  That’s some elitist BS right there. And it stinks and smells like old outdated dogma. But let’s also be fair to them. Even though they’ve rarely given us the same respect in return. This was reprinted in 2009. I’m not sure when the original printing was. I’m sure the course I’m watching was done around the same time as well.  Think about it; how many changes have you seen in the MD/DC relationship arena in just the last 10 years alone? I’ve seen a lot.

Especially since the American College of Physicians came out in 2016 recommending spinal manipulative therapy for acute and chronic low back pain. On the heels of that The Lancet report on low back pain echoed the recommendation. Then Dr. Goertz’s paper was in JAMA showing how well veterans did when spinal manipulative therapy was added into the treatment protocol.  Plus, I see more and more chiropractors moving in the right direction. The direction of evidence-based, patient-centered care. Where decades ago, an MD wouldn’t bowl against a team that had a chiropractor on it and they wouldn’t even accept referrals from us, to now.

Now, I have a nurse practitioner working hand and hand with me every day. Some of the people I count as buddies are a vascular surgeon, and ER doc, and a neurosurgeon.  So….maybe the course just needs an update. Who knows? But it pissed me off a little and I paid $487 to get pissed off. Lol. This too shall pass. In fact, it may already have passed.  Alright, NP medical integration week #2. It’s getting there. Our NP did hormone pellet procedure last week. That whole process is pretty cool. Patients have to do the lab work first to make sure it’s necessary. But if it is, it can make a big difference for folks. We doing PRP shots, trigger point shots, B12 shots….it’s all pretty darn interesting and it’s multimodal. Which is evidence-based and, as always, I balance it in a patient-centered way. 

So, now in my office, we have me, exercise/rehab, medical services, acupuncture, 3 massage therapists, and all of the other stuff you’d expect in therapies. It’s grown into quite a deal.  I had a patient ask me the other day if I was a franchise. I asked why they’d think that? They just said that we offer so many things that he figured it was a franchise. I said no, we’re not. But I likened it to my step-dad’s shop. He’s got every tool, cord, clamp, and gadget you’d ever want in a shop. But when you ask him how he got it all, he’ll tell you that he got it one at a time. Kind of like Clint Eastwood in El Torino.  You just gather and grow as you need. As the risk makes sense. There was a time when getting a $13,000 decompression table was a big damn deal and came with a lot of financial risks. 

Now, understandably, the risk is different. To expand and grow, it costs more. You have to stick your neck out a little further and hope it doesn’t get chopped off.  There are sinkers and swimmers in this world. I like to think I’m a swimmer. It’s OK to venture out a little further each time you stretch. As long as you know how to swim. And I have the doggy paddle down, folks. Just keep swimming just keep swimming.  Alright, let’s dive into the research. 

Item #1

This one’s called “Impact of Chiropractic Care on Use of Prescription Opioids in Patients with Spinal Pain” by Whedon et. Al. (James M Whedon 2020) and published in Pain Medicine in December of 2020 and that’s just hot enough. 

Why They Did It They say “Utilization of nonpharmacological pain management may prevent unnecessary use of opioids. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of chiropractic utilization upon use of prescription opioids among patients with spinal pain.”

How They Did It

  • We employed a retrospective cohort design for analysis of health claims data from three contiguous states for the years 2012–2017.
  • They included adults aged 18–84 years enrolled in a health plan and with office visits to a primary care physician or chiropractor for spinal pain
  • They identified two cohorts of subjects: Recipients received both primary care and chiropractic care, and nonrecipients received primary care but not chiropractic care.
  • The total number of subjects was 101,221

What They Found

  • Overall, between 1.55 and 2.03 times more nonrecipients filled an opioid prescription, as compared with recipients
  • Similar differences were observed for the acute groups.

Wrap It Up

Patients with spinal pain who saw a chiropractor had HALF the risk of filling an opioid prescription.   

CHIROUP ADVERTISEMENT

Item #2 Number two today is called “Safety of spinal manipulation in the treatment of lumbar disk herniations: a systematic review and risk assessment” by Drew Oliphant (Oliphant D) and published in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics in 2004. Definitely not hot. 

Why They Did It The authors wanted to provide a qualitative systematic review of the risk of spinal manipulation in the treatment of lumbar disk herniations (LDH) and to estimate the risk of spinal manipulation causing a severe adverse reaction in a patient presenting with LDH.

How They Did It

  • They considered relevant case reports, review articles, surveys, and investigations regarding treatment of lumbar disk herniations with spinal manipulation and adverse effects and associated risks
  • Prospective/retrospective studies and review papers were graded according to quality, and results and conclusions were tabulated. 
  • From the data published, an estimate of the risk of spinal manipulation causing a clinically worsened disk herniation or cauda equina syndrome (CES) in patients presenting with LDH was calculated. 
  • This was compared with estimates of the safety of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and surgery in the treatment of LDH.

What They Found An estimate of the risk of spinal manipulation causing a clinically worsened disk herniation or CES in a patient presenting with LDH is calculated from published data to be less than 1 in 3.7 million.

Wrap It Up The apparent safety of spinal manipulation, especially when compared with other “medically accepted” treatments for LDH, should stimulate its use in the conservative treatment plan of LDH.

Item #3 The last one is called “Serious Adverse Events and Spinal Manipulative Therapy of the Low Back Region: A Systematic Review of Cases” by Herbert et. al.  and published in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics in 2015. Again….not hot but that’s OK. It’s a Systematic Review. 

Why They Did It The purpose of this study was to systematically search the literature for studies reporting serious adverse events following lumbopelvic spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and to describe the case details.

How They Did It

  • A systematic search was conducted in PubMed including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and The Cochrane Library up to January 12, 2012, by an experienced reference librarian. 
  • Study selection was performed by 2 independent reviewers using predefined criteria. 
  • We included cases involving individuals 18 years or older who experienced a serious adverse event following SMT applied to the lumbar spine or pelvis by any type of provider (eg, chiropractic, medical, physical therapy, osteopathic, layperson). 
  • A serious adverse event was defined as an occurrence that results in death or is life threatening, requires hospital admission, or results in significant or permanent disability. 
  • A total of 2046 studies were screened, and 41 studies reporting on 77 cases were included.

What They Found

  • Important case details were frequently unreported, such as descriptions of SMT technique, the pre-SMT presentation of the patient, the specific details of the adverse event, time from SMT to the adverse event, factors contributing to the adverse event, and clinical outcome. 
  • Adverse events consisted of cauda equina syndrome (29 cases, 38% of total); lumbar disk herniation (23 cases, 30%); fracture (7 cases, 9%); hematoma or hemorrhagic cyst (6 cases, 8%); or other serious adverse events (12 cases, 16%) such as neurologic or vascular compromise, soft tissue trauma, muscle abscess formation, disrupted fracture healing, and esophageal rupture.

Wrap It Up

The anecdotal nature of these cases does not allow for causal inferences between SMT and the events identified in this review.  When chiropractic is done responsibly and appropriately, it’s safer than almost any medical intervention. It just is. Now, when you have people damn near yanking people’s heads off of their bodies, aggressively adjusting patients on YouTube that have had a significant history of stroke, and adjusting 80 year old women with the same gusto you’d use with a 25 year old male…..well….those folks are just asking for it.  Alright, that’s it. Keep on keepin’ on. Keep changing our profession from your corner of the world.

The world needs evidence-based, patient-centered practitioners driving the bus so get active, get involved, and make it happen. Let’s get to the message. Same as it is every week. 

Store Remember the evidence-informed brochures and posters at chiropracticforward.com. 

Purchase Dr. Williams’s book, a perfect educational tool and chiropractic research reference for the daily practitioner, from the Amazon store TODAY!

Chiropractic evidence-based products

Integrating Chiropractors

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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!

Contact Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com 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. 

Connect 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 – Fellow of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger  

Bibliography

  • James M Whedon, D., MS, Andrew W J Toler, MS, Louis A Kazal, MD, Serena Bezdjian, PhD, Justin M Goehl, DC, MS, Jay Greenstein, DC (2020). “Impact of Chiropractic Care on Use of Prescription Opioids in Patients with Spinal Pain.” Pain Med 21(12): 3567-3573.  
  • Oliphant D “Safety of spinal manipulation in the treatment of lumbar disk herniations: a systematic review and risk assessment.” J Man Physiol Ther 27(3): 197-210.