CF 142: Nonoperative Disc Treatment, D3 for Depression, & The Biopsychosocial Part Of Chronic Pain

Today we’re going to talk about Nonoperative Disc Treatment, D3 for Depression, & The Biopsychosocial Part Of Chronic Pain

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 aro


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.  

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Do it do it do it. 

You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #142

Now if you missed last week’s episode , we talked about the update from the authors on The Lancet low back series and we talked about movement disorders and whether or not they translate into pain. 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. 

Just so you know, all of the research we talk about in each episode is cited in the show notes for each episode if you’re looking to dive in a little deeper. 

On the personal end of things…..

Kids still in school. I called it early. I’m giving most of the schools about 4-6 weeks before they decide the numbers are too high. I do not want to be a pessimist. I just don’t see how they’ll keep it under control. I drove by my daughter’s junior high at lunch and they had 100-200 kids out on the playground playing basketball. Right up on each other. Lol. 

I know they’re outside. I know. We’ll see. I know the University of Alabama just reported 1200 positives at the campus. Notre Dame, University of North Carolina. I just see it as a start. 

My son told me a kid in his math class turned up positive so that got him all up in a wrinkle. I told him he’s got a better chance of getting it riding in a car with someone to eat or gathering up in dorm rooms than getting it in a big huge classroom. It’ll hold 300 kids but there’s around 50 or 60 in there all wearing masks and distanced. Minimal risk. 

Then I had a patient in here just last week, I treated her on a Tuesday. No temp, no symptoms at all….she goes home. The next day she feels a little funky. Her husband had the Rona a couple of weeks ago if I remember right. Anyway, she’s on high alert because of her husband so she goes and gets tested and she’s positive. The day after we had her in the clinic. 

Now, she was masked the whole time and my time with her was less than 3-5 minutes, she had no symptoms at the time so the risk, to my knowledge, while certainly not ideal, in the long run is probably minimal. 

Had that happened 3-4 weeks ago, I’d probably have been down at the place getting the tests and all that good stuff. Had Jake had a positive kid in his big ol math class a month ago, they’d probably be doing something more than just saying, hey this happened. Y’all wear a mask. 

Things ahve changed slightly in the past month I believe. I think more and more, we’re seeing we can live with this and it’s not the end of the world like some thought it’d be back in March and April. We still see cases going down but they’re still higher than they were in the first wave. Yet deaths aren’t. They’ve leveled and dropped as well. Which is all great news. 

I’m a nerd so I watch interviews with experts on vaccines and epidemilology and all that stuff done through the Journal of the American Medical Association. One of the experts said that’s it’s just not in the virus’s best interest to kill us off. It’s in its best interest to become more transmissible but less deadly so it can spread easier but not kill us… it can survive. Basically. 

That’s an interesting way to look at it. Then, yesterday, the CDC comes out and says that only 6% of deaths are due strictly to COVID. Well now hell. Doesn’t that give fuel to the fire for the science hating conspiracy nut cases? More ammo to confuse other dummies into their way of thinking but the truth is, it changed nothing. It just meant that 94% of COVID deaths have an average of 2.6 co-morbidities. 

Well, no durr Sherlock. That’s one of the few things we’ve all actually known this whole time. The CDC just was finally able to quantify it. That’s all. I’m still overweight. I’m still more at risk than John Workout over there drinking his fruit smoothie after his 6 mile run. No change whatsoever but day-um if the nut cases didn’t jump all over that one. 

Watching science haters just explode and reveal themselves on Facebook over the last 6 months has been such a disappointment. Especially the ones that you respected as doctorate level caregivers. 

Now look, I’ll admit something, in the very beginning, when nobody knew what the hell, how many would die and this and that, I got caught up in some of it. A whole bunch of us did. As more information comes to light, as we learn more about it, as we experience life with it, the danger is still there but, education has lessened any fear that might have been there in the beginning. 

Now, it’s just life and we have to keep living. We have to try to send kids to school. Let’s see what happens. We have to go to work. I’ve been working full time for basically 6 months following guidelines and so far so good. Can you imagine what business would look like if I just took off for months? Nope. Can’t do it. 

And isn’t there something to be said about government over reach on some of this stuff? How can they shut down bars yet allow people to gather up in a church? How can some bars stay open with music and bands but they’re able to stay open because you can buy a hamburger. Yet other bars are closed because they don’t sell a hamburger? How does any of it make sense? It’s a stack of hooey balls. 

I’m a Christian, I want people to want to go to church. So don’t get the wrong idea there. It’s a valid comparison. You can group up in church but not in a bar. It’s silly. 

We’ll know more about the back to school thing in jsut a few weeks. 

Alright, I’m rambling, let’s get to it. 

Item #1

The first article here is called “Effect of Long-term Vitamin D3 Supplementation vs Placebo on Risk of Depression or Clinically Relevant Depressive Symptoms and on Change in Mood Scores. A Randomized Clinical Trial” by Okereke et. al(Okereke O 2020). and published in JAMA on August 4, 2020. Hot tamale, hot tamale….

Why They Did It

The authors wanted to know if long-term supplementation with vitamin D3 prevent depression in the general adult population? What’s your guess? D3 is a bit of a wonder kid, right?

How They Did It

  • 18353 men and women aged 50 years or older 
  • Randomized clinical trial 
  • Randomized testing happened from November 2011 through March 2014
  • Randomized treatment ended on December 31, 2017
  • Randomization was D3 or placebo

Wrap It Up

“Among adults aged 50 years or older without clinically relevant depressive symptoms at baseline, treatment with vitamin D3 compared with placebo did not result in a statistically significant difference in the incidence and recurrence of depression or clinically relevant depressive symptoms or for change in mood scores over a median follow-up of 5.3 years. These findings do not support the use of vitamin D3 in adults to prevent depression.”

Before we get to the next paper, I want to tell you a little about this new tool on the market called Drop Release. I love new toys! If you’re into soft tissue work, then it’s your new best friend. Heck if you’re just into getting more range of motion in your patients, then it’s your new best friend.

Drop Release uses fast stretch to stimulate the Golgi Tendon Organ reflex.  Which causes instant and dramatic muscle relaxation and can restore full ROM to restricted joints like shoulders and hips in seconds.  

Picture a T bar with a built-in drop piece.  This greatly reduces time needed for soft tissue treatment, leaving more time for other treatments per visit, or more patients per day.  Drop Release is like nothing else out there, and you almost gotta see it to understand, so check out the videos on the website.

It’s inventor, Dr. Chris Howson, from the great state of North Dakota, is a listener and friend. He offered our listeners a great discount on his product. When you order, if you put in the code ‘HOTSTUFF’ all one word….as in hot stuff….coming up!! If you enter HOTSTUFF in the coupon code area, Dr. Howson will give you $50 off of your purchase.

Go check Drop Release at and tell Dr. Howson I sent you.

Item #2

This second one here is called “An Assessment of Nonoperative Management Strategies in a Herniated Lumbar Disc Population: Successes Versus Failures” by Lilly et. al(Lilly D 2020). published in Global Spine Journal in July of 2020. Is it hot in here? I need some air!

Why They Did It

To compare the utilization of conservative treatments in patients with lumbar intervertebral disc herniations who were successfully managed nonoperatively versus patients who failed conservative therapies and elected to undergo surgery (microdiscectomy).

How They Did It

  • Clinical records from adult patients with an initial herniated lumbar disc between 2007 and 2017 were selected from a large insurance database.
  • Patients were divided into 2 cohorts: patients treated successfully with nonoperative therapies and patients that failed conservative management and opted for microdiscectomy surgery.
  • Nonoperative treatments utilized by the 2 groups were collected over a 2-year surveillance window.
  • “Utilization” was defined by cost billed to patients, prescriptions written, and number of units disbursed.

What They Found

  • 277 941 patients with lumbar intervertebral disc herniations were included.
  • Of these, 269 713 (97.0%) were successfully managed with nonoperative treatments,
  • 8228 (3.0%) failed maximal nonoperative therapy (MNT) and underwent a lumbar microdiscectomy.
  • failures occurred more frequently in males (3.7%), and patients with a history of lumbar epidural steroid injections (4.5%) or preoperative opioid use (3.6%).
  • A cost analysis indicated that patients who failed nonoperative treatments billed for nearly double ($1718/patient) compared to patients who were successfully treated ($906/patient).

Wrap It Up

“Our results suggest that the majority of patients are successfully managed nonoperatively. However, in the subset of patients that fail conservative management, male sex and prior opioid use appear to be independent predictors of treatment failure.”

Item #3

The last one is called “Biopsychosocial baseline values of 15 000 patients suffering from chronic pain: Dutch DataPain study” by Brouwer et. al (Brouwer B 2020) . and published in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine in August of 2020….only the freshest for you fresh people. 

Why They Did It

They did this one in an effort to understand multidisciplinary approaches to solving chronic pain. 

How They Did It

  • 11,214 patients suffering from chronic pain
  • The pain was analyzed using relevant Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain assessment in Clinical Trials Instruments. 
  • Most patients were female

What They Found

  • The mean age was 55.6 years old
  • Severe pain was reported by 71.9%
  • Psychological and quality of life values deteriorated when pain severity increased
  • About 36% of them showed severe signs of depression or anxiety
  • 39% had high pain catastrophizing
  • Of all patients, 17.8% reported high values for pain severity, catastrophizing and anxiety or depression 

Wrap It Up

“Based on baseline biopsychosocial values, this study shows the complexity of patients referred to pain centers. Pain management with a biopsychosocial approach in an integrated multidisciplinary setting is indispensable. Above all, adjusted education on chronic pain and attention to its biopsychosocial aspects are deemed necessary.”

It becomes more and more clear that if all you’re doing is adjusting and sending them on their way, you’re wrong. 

If you’re adjusting and doing some exericises and sending chronic pain on its way, you’re partly wrong. 

If you’re adjusting when appropriate, if you’re prescribing patients exercises and teaching them how to self manage at home, addressing yellow flags and building confidence while you encourage addressing the cognitive aspect of chronic pain…..well….now you’re starting to get it. You’re becoming someone that can make a realy difference in your patients’ lives. 

Alright, that’s it. Y’all be safe. Keep changing the world and our profession from your little corner of the world. Continue taking care of yourselves and taking care of your neighbors. Tough times are upon us but, the sun will shine again. Trust it, believe it, count on it.

Let’s get to the message. Same as it is every week. 

Key Takeaways


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 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!


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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 & VloggerBibliography

Brouwer B, W. S., Jacobs C, Overdijk M, (2020). “Biopsychosocial baseline values of 15 000 patients suffering from chronic pain: Dutch DataPain study.” Reg Anesth Pain Med.

Lilly D, D. M., Eldridge C, (2020). “An Assessment of Nonoperative Management Strategies in a Herniated Lumbar Disc Population: Successes Versus Failures.” Global Spine J.

Okereke O, R. C., Mschoulon D, (2020). “Effect of Long-term Vitamin D3 Supplementation vs Placebo on Risk of Depression or Clinically Relevant Depressive Symptoms and on Change in Mood Scores A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA 324(5): 471-480.

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