CF 062: Chiropractic Prevalence, JAMA’s Awful Info on Opioids, & New Info on Screen Time

Today we’re going to talk about chiropractic prevalence, a new article in JAMA with some pretty terrible projections for opioid use and deaths, and new information on kiddos and the time they spend on screens. 

But first, here’s that bumper music

Chiropractic evidence-based productsIntegrating Chiropractors

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

You have collapsed into Episode #62


We’re here to advocate for chiropractic and to give you some awesome information to make your life easier from day-to-day. We’re going to keep you from wasting time through your week by giving you confidence in your recommendations and in your treatments. This is something I feel confident in guaranteeing you if you listen and stick to it here at the Chiropractic Forward Podcast.  

Evidence-Based Chiropractic Store

Part of saving you time and effort is having the right patient education tools in your office. Tools that educate based on solid, researched information. We offer you that. It’s done for you. We are taking pre-orders right now for our brand new, evidence-based office brochures available at Just click the STORE link at the top right of the home page and you’ll be off and running. 


Let’s talk a bit about the DACO program. Man, this is how it goes with the DACO: just yesterday morning, I had a patient come in, mid-’60s and literally everything hurt. Restless leg syndrome was her main complaint but her GP just yesterday already started her on Vitamin D and iron supplements so she’s going in the right direction there. I have heard of acupuncture being good for it as well but have not seen any research on that so can’t make that claim. 

Anyhooo…literally everything hurt, couldn’t sit down and basically, a general overall look of being unwell for a lack of a better word. She just didn’t look healthy. I started asking her about bone scans and she’d never had one. Well, this guy just gets feelings and when I get a feeling, they get sent out. I sent her out for a bone scan. 

No kidding, that afternoon I sit down for a class. The next one up? Yep, diagnosing osteoporosis. Lol. Wouldn’t you know it? Anyway, had I had this class before the encounter with the new patient, I might not have sent her. I’m not sure.

But, it’s just funny how in tune with clinical practice the classes really are. Also, as a consequence of the class, I have a quick sheet made up that changes the way I deal with potential osteoporosis patients from here on out. Forever and ever amen. 

Personal Happenings

So far, not a lot of blowback on my recent episode covering my thoughts on faith-based practices. Sometimes I’m mouthy, right? I get it. Who the hell cares what I have to say? I don’t know who cares honestly. Lol. But, we’re growing and growing so at least some of you identify with my way of thinking.

I’m religious and I think that’s what makes me feel that I can be credible in critiquing certain things in regard to religion. I just have a hard time with management companies coaching their impressionable doctors how to use the bible to manipulate scared patients looking for answers. When I think about it, it makes my pee hot. 

Anyway, it turns out that you guys agree with me and that makes me like you even more. Before you know it, we’re all going to be besties and share milkshakes with two straws and all of that mumbo jumbo. 

I’m glad you’re here with me today as we dive into the information I have for you this week. Here we go. 

Item #1

I want to start with one that had some conclusions I found surprising and somewhat encouraging……sort of. This new paper from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published January 18, 2019, and authored by Stephanie Taylor, Patricia Herman, Nell Marshall, and colleagues called “Use of Complementary and Integrated Health: A Retrospective Analysis of US Veterans with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Nationally[1].”

Due to time constraints on me, I didn’t go beyond the abstract here so….freaking sue me. I’ll have it cited in the show notes at so you can go get it and dive in you over-over-achiever you with all that time sitting around. Must be nice pal. 

Why They Did It

The authors say that little is known regarding the use of complementary and integrative health therapies for chronic pain in the VA system which is the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system. We will get into chiropractic prevalence briefly.

In my experience, I can echo this paper’s sentiment that the VA is at the forefront of the movement away from opioids and toward alternative healthcare. 

They researched this paper over 2 years for the use of 9 types of alternative therapies that included meditation, yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic, guided imagery, biofeedback, tai chi, massage, and hypnosis. 

What they found

27% of younger veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain use alternative healthcare

The most used for was meditation at 15%. I found that surprising. Meditation means slowing down, sitting still, relaxing, and all that good stuff. In this day and age, I just have a hard time seeing that as the most prevalent form of alternative healthcare. 

We all think we’re so busy and, for us chiropractors, a lot of us really ARE too busy to stop and meditate. I may just be taking my own personal experience here and assuming everyone else on the planet is like me and, of course, that’s not true. Still, meditation was the most prevalent in this study. 

Yoga was next at 7%. Again, I guess I haven’t realized how popular yoga is getting these days but, I know the VA is pushing it so that may be playing a part in it. 

Coming in in 3rd place we have acupuncture. Once again, it’s surprising to me but, the VA is directing the recommendations and, in the real world, outside of the VA, acupuncture does not out-pace chiropractic. I do believe the VA is seeing it’s use for PTSD and chronic pain though and is responding appropriately. 

Finally, here comes Chiropractic care coasting in in 4th place for chiropractic prevalence.

Ugh. We know outside the enclosed ecosystem of the VA, chiropractic care is not less prevalent than yoga, meditation, and acupuncture. But, being within the VA, we know that medical doctors, PA’s, and nurse practitioners are making these recommendations and referrals so we still clearly have a lot of work to do. We are still a world away from where we need to be in regard to chiropractic prevalence,

You know what else that means though right? There are incredible potential and opportunity. If the VA is an example of the rest of the allopathic world, we could say that even fewer than 5% of chronics get referred to us from the GPs and orthopedic surgeons. I think that’s fair because most of them are unaware of Dr. Christine Goertz’s work that was published in JAMA not long ago.

If you’re unfamiliar with that, go listen to Episode 25 of this podcast. In short, she showed how veterans with chiropractic care mixed in with their traditional care had better outcomes. That’s when we started seeing the referrals from the VA

Also, you’ll notice that all of the nine therapies tracked here were on the list of first-line therapies that came from the updated recommendations by the American College of Physicians in February of 2016[2]. 

I guess my point on the paper here is that the medical world, or at least the VA part of it, is paying attention to research regardless of whether it goes against their previously held biases. They are absolutely trying to reverse the opioid epidemic. And we have a lot of work to do to gain that trust and get those referrals. When they’re recommending meditation before chiropractic care for chronic pain, then there is a ton of room for us to shine. So go shine it up all you shiny happy people out there. 

Item #2

On to item numero dos, number 2 for our non-Spanish speaking population out there. This one is discouraging and…..well….awful if I’m being honest.

This one is from JAMA called “Prevention of Prescription Opioids Misuse and Projected Overdose Deaths in the United States” published on February 1, 2019, and authored by Quiushi Chen, Marc Larochelle, David Weaver, and colleagues[3].

Why They Did It

In JAMA, they always start with the question being answered here. The authors wanted to answer this one: “what is the projected effect of lowering incident non-medical prescription opioid use on the future trajectory of the opioid overdose crisis in the USA?

I’m just going to cut to the chase on it and leave a bunch of details out. Here’s why. I don’t want us getting bogged down in the details and methods and all that stuff.

I want you to be able to retain just a few numbers and not be distracted by the rest of the minutiae. You like that word? I know you do. Minutiae, You say that to the right fellow nerd and you may just get you a date, people.

It’s a powerful word so take it, use it, enjoy it. I swear I’m undiagnosed ADHD. I swear it. 

Anyway, here’s the deal, although we as a nation, as a world, now see the issues with opioids and are now trying to address the issue, It’s not getting better and it won’t get any better according to this paper. 

Check it out, according to this paper, the annual number of opioid overdose deaths is projected to increase from 33,100 in 2015…..then we know that 72,000 died in 2017….all the way up to 81,700 deaths projected 2025. 

They are projecting from 2016-2025 to lose a total of approximately 700,400 people to opioid deaths. They say about 80% of that will be due to illicit opioids. I don’t know how the hell they can tell that but that may be a little bit of, “yeah it’s happening but it’s not our fault,” BS going on there but who knows? In this paper, they’re assuming that the illegal use of opioids will increase from 61% in 2015 to 80% by 2025. I don’t know. Sounds like fuzzy math to me but I’m not a researcher. 

I think their numbers are fuzzy because we know 2015 saw about 36,000 die, but then 2016 saw around 63,000 die if I remember correctly. Then, 2017 saw 72,000 die. Are you seeing the graph there in your mind? It’s not only up and to the right on this deal, but its up and to the right like it’s climbing Mt. Everest. The numbers have harnesses fastened tightly and ropes and expert climbing guides and they’re going straight up the face like pros! 

These guys are guessing that by 2025, in 9 years, the deaths will only have increased a total of 9,000 per year, so….they’ll only increase an average of 1,000 deaths per year. Do you see why I think they’re crazy? The deaths increased by 9,000 just last year. Do you see what I’m saying? I’m not saying they’re wrong but….they’re wrong. Lol. 

They then say that across all interventions tested, further lowering the incidence of prescription opioid misuse from 2015 levels is projected to decrease overdose deaths by only 3%-5.3%. 

Their quoted conclusion is, “This study’s findings suggest that interventions targeting prescription opioid misuse such as prescription monitoring programs may have a modest effect, at best, on the number of opioid overdose deaths in the near future. Additional policy interventions are urgently needed to change the course of the epidemic.”

So what do we take from this exactly? Here’s my deal. On the surface at least it smells like a steaming pot of shoo shoo caca doody, 

Instead of recognizing the fact that unnecessary surgeries were many times the reason people got addicted in the first place, and that there are amazing opportunities outside the allopathic world to prevent those unnecessary and financially motivated surgeries, they say, “Hey look, a lot of this is done illegally and that’s just going to get worse and our part of this is really very small.

In fact, we can lower the prescriptions of opioids but it’s really not going to do a lot of good and, in fact, we think we should still be able to prescribe them as much as we are right now….blah blah blah poop coming out of the mouth and falling onto the floor with a splat. 

They are making guesses 9 years in the future what addict behaviors will be. I think that’s presumptuous and ultimately impossible. I just thought it was entertaining and that you all might enjoy this group trying to minimize responsibility or what role they can really play on decreasing opioid use.

I could totally be mischaracterizing this and they may have the best intentions in mind. While I trust my GP and I trust the friends of mine that are surgeons personally….I just don’t trust stuff like this. 

Obviously, I don’t agree with them but I’m a bumpkin chiro on the Texas Plains. I wouldn’t listen to me if I were them either. Lol. 

Item #3

OK, last item for this week and it’s something I’m admittedly fascinated with and I think that’s because I have a high schooler and a 5th grader and this stuff hits home any time I see it or read about it. 

This one was in JAMA too and called, “Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test” written by Sheri Madigan, Dillon Browne, Nicole Racine and colleagues[4] published January 28, 2019. 

Why They Did It

The main question they were trying to answer was this, “Is increased screen time associated with poor performance on children’s developmental screening tests?” Basically, does screen time have a direct effect on child development?

They had 2,441 kiddos in it. A random-intercepts, cross-lagged panel model revealed that higher levels of screen time at 24 and 36 months were significantly associated with poorer performance on developmental screening tests at 36 months and 60 months. 

What They Found

Their conclusion was, “The results of this study support the directional association between screen time and child development. Recommendations include encouraging family media plans, as well as managing screen time, to offset the potential consequences of excess use.”

Yes, it’s easy to just hand them a device and hope they’re quiet long enough to get a nap in. Guilty as charged. Guilty as charged. 

But, turns out as we may have guessed if we really thought about it 8-9 years ago when all of this really started….this isn’t in their best interest in the long run. 

Chiropractic evidence-based productsIntegrating Chiropractors

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 instead of chemical treatments like pills and shots.

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

Chiropractic care is safe and cost-effective. It can decrease instances of surgery & disability. Chiropractors normally do this through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal time requirements or hassle to the patient. 

And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health of the patient!

Key Point:

Patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment offering the least harm.

That’s Chiropractic!


Send us an email at dr dot williams at and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Help us get to the top of podcasts in our industry. That’s how we get the message out. 


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. 


Social Media Links

Chiropractic Forward Podcast Facebook GROUP




Player FM Link



About the Author & Host

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



1. Taylor S, H.P., Marshal N,, Use of Complementary and Integrated Health: A Retrospective Analysis of U.S. Veterans with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Nationally. J Altern Complement Med, 2019. 25(1).

2. Qaseem A, Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med, 2017. 4(166): p. 514-530.

3. Chen Q, L.M., Weaver D,, Prevention of Prescription Opioid Misuse and Projected Overdose Deaths in the United States. JAMA Network Open, 2019. 2(2): p. e187621-e187621.

4. Madigan S, Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening TestAssociation Between Screen Time and Child DevelopmentAssociation Between Screen Time and Child Development. JAMA Pediatrics, 2019.

CF 025: Vets With Low Back Pain. Usual Care + Chiropractic vs. Usual Care Alone

CF 027: WANTED – Safe, Nonpharmacological Means Of Treating Spinal Pain

CF 052: Chiropractic Forward Podcast Year One Review




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *