Chiropractic Business Opportunity & How Chiropractic Solves The Opioid Issue

CF 119: Chiropractic Business Opportunity & How Chiropractic Solves The Opioid Issue

Today we’re going to talk about some recent numbers that came out in JAMA on healthcare spending. Then we’ll talk about how chiropractic has the answer to the healthcare spending issue. 

But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music

Chiropractic evidence-based products
Integrating Chiropractors
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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. 

  • Like our facebook page, 
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  • We also have an evidence-based brochure and poster store at
  • While you’re there, join our weekly email newsletter. No spam, just a reminder when the newest episodes go live. Nothing special so don’t worry about signing up. Just one a week friends. Check your JUNK folder!!

Do it do it do it. 

You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #119

Now if you missed last week’s episode, we had one of our biggest episodes in the history of Chiropractic Forward and than’s because we were joined by the one and only clinical ninja and world-renowned expert himself, Dr. Stu McGill. 

I was a bit of a fanboy so I’m still not sure how strong my part of it came out but I can tell you that Stu is ALWAYS strong and this information is a ‘Do Not Miss’ type of thing. Make sure you don’t miss that info. Keep up with the class. 

While we’re on the topic of being smart, did you know that you can use our website as a resource? Quick and easy, you can go to, click on Episodes, and use the search function to find whatever you 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…..

I’m doing the same thing as you’re probably doing. I’m freaking out a little or a lot. OK, some of you aren’t but I have no idea how you’re able to chill out. I’m not a hype type of guy. Hopefully, by now you know I’m a very reasonable kind of guy. 

Here’s what I got; I record these podcasts two weeks prior to airing. This pandemic is changing every day so for me to offer opinions, comfort, hope, and things of that nature just seems pointless right now. Because nobody knows what the hell the landscape will be when this goes live. Nobody knows what business is going to look like. 

Just know this, if you are a listener, I love you. Even if we’ve never met. I love you. Please be safe. Please listen to the CDC and not chiropractors that think they can end this through adjustments. Please stay in touch with the elderly you are connected to. Encourage them, help them if they need it. They’re scared too. Probably more so than the rest of us. 

It’s time to be humans. Not partisans. Not North, South, East, or West. Not even American, Korean, Italian, or Chinese. It’s time to be humans and do our parts to keep this thing from doing any more damage than it has to do. 

And, as a Christian myself, if you are a Christian or religious whatsoever, pray. Whether you think it’ll do any good or not. I can promise it won’t hurt. 

If you are living day to day financially, I wish I had something amazing to say but, I WILL offer this. The more my business struggles and the more your businesses struggle. The more this goes on, the more you’ll see the system buckle and bend to accommodate you. That may look like no payroll tax, tax relief, tax incentives, extended lease payment options on your office spaces, school loan interest was already waived and it won’t surprise me if there’s a suspension on school loan defaults as well, the government paid leave for employees, and on and on. 

What I’m saying is that some things are out of our control. This is out of our control. Hell, by the time this airs, we may all be on mandatory shut down for business and you may be listening from home. 

Here’s what you have to know; The country cannot have thousands and thousands and thousands of businesses going under. Landlords cannot have non-leased, empty buildings

The system will figure out how to keep everyone afloat. 

Stay strong and stay hopeful. Stay clean and stay separate for a bit and maybe we can get a handle on it. 

Alright, enough of that. I’m sure we’re all sick of hearing it by now.

Item #1

Let’s start with this one called “US Health Care Spending by Payer and Health Condition, 1996-2016” by Dieleman et. al(Dieleman J 2020). published in JA<A on March 3, 2020. Yep, it’s hottern’ hell!!

Here’s the deal, this was March 3rd so….just before this mass hysteria started. Healthcare spending may look different now but, this was from 1996-2016 before anyone ever heard of this pandemic. 

Why They Did It

They wanted to answer the question, “How does spending on different health conditions vary by payer and how has this spending changed over time?

How They Did It

  • Information was collected from the following: government budgets, insurance claims, facility records, household surveys, and official US records from 96-2016.
  • They used the info to estimate spending for 154 health conditions
  • Spending growth rates were calculated for each type of payer as well as each type of condition. 

What They Found

  • From ’96 to 2016, healthcare spending when up from $1.4 trillion to $3.1 trillion. 
  • For the mathematically challenged, that is up to $1.7 trillion. I was always under the impression that our system and our treatments should get MORE efficient through the year rather than more and more expensive. 
  • In 2016, private insurance paid for 48% of it
  • Public insurance paid for 42.6% of it
  • Out-of-pocket was 9.4%

For the stuff that matters to us chiropractors specifically, 

  • In 2016, among the 154 conditions, low back and neck pain had the highest amount of health care spending with an estimated $134.5 billion
  • 57.2% of that was paid by private insurance
  • 33.7% of it was paid by public insurance
  • 9.2% was paid out-of-pocket

Other musculoskeletal conditions cost the system a further $129.8 billion. So if we’re keeping count here peeps, that means the total cost of musculoskeletal system issues cost the system in 2016 and grand total of 264.3 billion dollars. 

I’ll have you know that the second most expensive condition was diabetes coming in at a grand total of $111.2 billion. That’s a full $153.1 billion dollars less than m/s issues. 

So that we’re not drowning in numbers here….remember this; M/S conditions cost 264.3 billion. The next most expensive was diabetes at $111.2 billion. 

Do you smell some business opportunities there? I sure as hell do. You realize they used to be putting a good number of those people on muscle relaxers and opioids but they aren’t anymore. Right? Now, a large number of those people need an alternative and we are uniquely poised and positioned to be that help. To be that alternative. 

Mmmmm….when this mess calms, I’ve got some business ideas. You should be cooking up what brew you want to have ready as well. 

Item #2

Our second and last item here is called “Impact of Chiropractic Care on Use of Prescription Opioids in Patients with Spinal Pain” by Whedon, et. al(Whedon JM 2020). and published in Pain Medicine on March 6 2020. Smokin plate of whatcha havin!!

Why They Did It

They say that the utilization of nonpharma pain management may prevent unnecessary use of opioids. The objective here was to evaluate the impact of chiropractic utilization on the use of prescription opioids among patients with spinal pain. 

How They Did It

  • This was a retrospective cohort design for analysis of health claims data from three states for the years 2012-2017
  • They included 101,221 adults from 18-84 yr old that had office visits to a primary or a chiropractor for spinal pain. 
  • They identified two types; 
  • Recipients of both primary and chiropractic care
  • Non-recipients that got primary care but not chiropractic.
  • They compared the two groups as far as the risk for filling an opioid prescription. 

What They Found

“Patients with spinal pain who saw a chiropractor had half the risk of filling an opioid prescription. Among those who saw a chiropractor within 30 days of diagnosis, the reduction in risk was greater as compared with those with their first visit after the acute phase.”

So, your next social media graphic is this; “patients who saw a chiropractor had half the risk of filling an opioid script.”

Then the next one will be; “Patients that saw a chiropractor in less than 30 days of diagnosis had been more than half as likely to fill an opioid prescription.”

Then the next one will be “US spends $236 billion on musculoskeletal pain but those treating with a chiropractor are less than half as likely to fill an opioid script.” See how I tied that all together for you? Did you see what I did there?

Don’t just listen to this stuff. Turn it into something. I’m trying to help you! Or, you can just join our private Facebook group and I’ll try to start making these more often so you can just share them without going through the effort. 

I’m totally cool with that. 

Alright, the message is the same every week.

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 preventativly 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


  • Dieleman J, C. J., Chapin A, (2020). “US Health Care Spending by Payer and Health Condition, 1996-2016.” JAMA 323(9): 863-884.
  • Whedon JM, T. A., Kazal L, (2020). “Impact of Chiropractic Care on Use of Prescription Opioids in Patients with Spinal Pain.” Pain Med.