The Inflammatory Response’s Effect On Chronic Pain & The Entry Point For Low Back Pain

CF 235: The Inflammatory Response’s Effect On Chronic Pain & The Entry Point For Low Back Pain Today we’re going to talk about the inflammatory response’s protection from chronic pain, which is fascinating.. and we’ll talk about where patients should be starting their journey for low back 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 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 out my book called The Remarkable Truth About Chiropractic: A Unique Journey Into The Research. It’s a great resource for patient education and for YOU. It saves you time in putting talks together or just staying current on research. It’s categorized into sections and written in a way that is easy to understand for you and your patients. Just search for it on Amazon. That’s the Remarkable Truth About Chiropractic by Jeff Williams. 
  • Then go Like our Facebook page, 
  • Join our private Facebook group, and then 
  • Review our podcast on whatever platform you’re listening to 
  • Last thing real quick, we also have an evidence-based brochure and poster store at

You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #235 Now if you missed last week’s episode, we talked about Chiropractic saving Medicare patients money and adverse events and a better position for preventing strokes when adjusting the neck. Make sure you don’t miss that info. Keep up with the class. 

On the personal end of things…..

I had a big weekend in Frisco, Tx. If you don’t know where Frisco, TX is, it is basically North East Dallas. It’s the home of the Dallas Cowboys training facility. It’s where all of the people you hear about moving to Texas are moving to. The place has growth that is just almost unreal.  They have to be continually building high schools and highways because they can hardly keep up with their growing population.  Anyway, it was the location of the Texas Chiropractic Association’s annual state convention, which is called ChiroTexpo. 

This year, I was asked to teach a 2-hour course. My course is called Chronic Pain And The Up-regulated Central Nervous System. Those of you that are regular listeners here are probably familiar with some of what I cover in the course. My main goal for attendees of my course is more responsible in managing of their patients and more responsible in communicating with them.  I’m trying to kill the habits some have of catastrophizing imaging findings and scaring patients into a ton of treatment by using harmful words, phrases, and analogies.  I had a patient last week whose primary told her that her spine was like a dry twig from osteoporosis.


The daughter was scared to death and the patient didn’t want to move an inch because she had a picture in her mind that her spine was going to start splintering. How awful.  But, you get what I’m saying. I’m trying to use guidelines and research to show why words matter and how we can help solve more chronic pain patients’ issues through good communication and broad management protocols.  So there. Good times in the metroplex.  I got to meet a lot of folks and hang out with some buddies. I got to see Mike Massey from Tennessee. He was speaking on Mastering Medicare. I got to hang out with Jay Greenstein and have some dinner and drinks. He was in town speaking on technology in the profession.

Excellent as always.

I hung out and had dinner with Brandon Steele, his wife and daughter, and my other good friend Craig Benton from Lampasas Texas. I also spent plenty of time with my regular TCA family, Tyce Hergert, Devin Pettiet, Max Vige, Bill Lawson, the new President of the TCA and Todd Whitehead, the new Secretary/Treasurer of the TCA, and always a favorite, Stephen Foster who is the President of Texas Chiropractic College. What a wonderful individual. TCC is fortunate to have him at the helm. 

These connections are important to me and I value them greatly.  I also got to meet a couple of fellow speakers and get to know them better. Kristi Hudson from ChiroHealthUSA out in Mississippi. She’s just got amazing good vibes and energy. You can tell when people are good at heart and she’s great. I also met Dr. Cindy Howard, a functional medicine mastermind, ninja, and Jedi. She’s just simply a force to be reckoned with. Very impressive, excellent attitude, and a new connection I’m excited to have made. 

On top of all of that, I won an award at the awards gala. I won the Executive Director’s award which is amazing and quite an honor.  So, overall, it was a great weekend. I’m recovering from all of the festivities but it was well worth it and I’m looking forward to the next one.  Again, it’s mid-June 2022 and I’m still looking for a chiropractor to come in here and treat in my clinic and grow my clinic. If interested, send me an email and a CV to please.

I want to get to know you. But, understand, I’m a go-getter. You’ll need to be as well. But for the right person, this might be the place you’ll want to spend the rest of your career. 

Alright, let’s dive in. But before we do, let’s pay some bills real quick. 

Doctors:  I’ve been telling you about a system that once obtained will help you get more  PI cases.  This system was created by an attorney who exclusively handles accident cases. He got tired of lame approaches by doctors wanting his referrals, so he created this system to teach you how to get the attention and then the love of PI attorneys.  You know these cases are the GOLD of our business.  Very few no-shows, full payment … not health insurance caps or Medicare or Medicaid. Go to: Over 500 doctors nationwide are now using this system…. don’t be left out…  improve your practice, gain free time because of the added income you’ll realize, and appreciate that the attorney, Paul Samakow, is still offering a 100% Money Back Guarantee …  if you give his ideas a fair shake and it doesn’t work, he’ll refund your money…  you have nothing to lose here…

Go to:

Item #1

The first one is called “Acute inflammatory response via neutrophil activation protects against the development of chronic pain” by Parisien et. al. (Parisien M 2022) and published in Science Translational Medicine on May 11 of 2022 and it’s a hot potato, coming through. 

Why They Did It

They say, “The transition from acute to chronic pain is critically important but not well understood. Here, we investigated the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to chronic low back pain” On a quick side note, there is the suggestion that neuroplasticity may partially explain the slip from acute to chronic. Isn’t it an interesting thought; tissue has a healing time? If we can get the pain to cease after healing occurs, thus preventing the slip from acute to chronic….imagine how much time, money, and suffering we save the system. Low back pain is the leading cause of disability globally and I would venture a guess that the vast majority of that pain is not acute. It’s chronic. 

How They Did It

  • They performed the transcriptome-wide analysis in peripheral immune cells of 98 participants with acute LBP, followed for 3 months.
  • Transcriptomic changes were compared between patients whose LBP was resolved at 3 months with those whose LBP persisted

What They Found

  • They found thousands of dynamic transcriptional changes over 3 months in LBP participants with resolved pain but none in those with persistent pain. 
  • Transient neutrophil-driven up-regulation of inflammatory responses was protective against the transition to chronic pain. 
  • In mouse pain assays, early treatment with a steroid or NSAID also led to prolonged pain despite being analgesic in the short term; such a prolongation was not observed with other analgesics. 
  • Depletion of neutrophils delayed resolution of pain in mice, whereas peripheral injection of neutrophils themselves prevented the development of long-lasting pain induced by an anti-inflammatory drug.

Wrap It Up

Analysis of pain trajectories of human subjects reporting acute back pain in the UK Biobank identified elevated risk of pain persistence for subjects taking NSAIDs. Thus, despite analgesic efficacy at early time points, the management of acute inflammation may be counterproductive for long-term outcomes of LBP sufferers. You can’t tell me that’s not somewhat exciting. I also read an article last week asking if we’re close to curing cancer and, based on some more recent results from the immunotherapy strategies they’re using and studying, they’re optimistic that an end for a lot of cancers may be in sight. 

That’s worth having some excitement over. If we can cure cancer and figure out how to prevent pain from slipping into chronic pain…..damn. Imagine how our world changes. Almost immediately. I’m a dreamer and I’m dreaming right now. What a party that’ll be if they can get it done.  Before getting to the next one, I have to tell you, that Dr. Chris Howson, the inventor of the Drop Release tool re-activated the code! It’s live again. Use the code HOTSTUFF upon purchase at to get $50 off your purchase.

Y’all, it makes a world of difference. Would you like to spend 5-10 minutes doing pin and stretch and all of that? Or would you rather use a drop release to get the same or similar results in just a handful of seconds. My patients love it and I know yours will too. and the discount code is HOTSTUFF. Go do it. Hear me now and believe me later.

Item #2

The last one today is called, “Where to start? A two-stage residual inclusion approach to estimating the influence of the initial provider on health care utilization and costs for low back pain in the US” by Harwood et. al.   (Harwood 2022)and published in BMC Health Services Research on May 23, 2022 and that’s hotter than Texas in June and July.  For real, folks. It was already hitting 105 and 108 in Amarillo and Dallas this last weekend. That’s nuts. 

Why They Did It

Diagnostic testing and treatment recommendations can vary when medical care is sought by individuals for low back pain (LBP), leading to variation in quality and costs of care. We examine how the first provider seen by an individual at initial diagnosis of LBP influences downstream utilization and costs.

How They Did It

  • They used national private health insurance claims data on  3,799,593 individuals, 
  • Subjects were individuals aged 18 or older 
  • They were retrospectively assigned to cohorts based on the first provider seen for their low back pain
  • They excluded those with back pain, serious conditions, or opioid script in the 6 months prior to the study
  • Outcome measures included imaging, back surgery rates, hospitalization rates, emergency department visits, early- and long-term opioid use, and costs (out-of-pocket and total costs of care). 

What They Found

  • Cost and utilization varied considerably based on the first provider seen by the patient. 
  • The frequency of early opioid prescription was significantly lower when care began with an acupuncturist or chiropractor, and highest for those who began with an emergency medicine physician or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). 
  • Long-term opioid prescriptions were low across most providers except physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians and APRNs. 
  • The frequency and time to serious illness varied little across providers. 
  • The total cost of care was lowest when starting with a chiropractor ($5093) or primary care physician ($5660), and highest when starting with an orthopedist ($9434) or acupuncturist ($9205).

Wrap It Up

The first provider seen by individuals with LBP was associated with large differences in health care utilization, opioid prescriptions, and cost while there were no differences in delays in diagnosis of serious illness. Frequency and time to serious illness varied little across providers and the total cost of care was the lowest when starting with a chiropractor.  Superhero sounds engaged. 


Boom, snap, slap, kachow, frickin’ face chop. 

So why in the holy mother of common sense are we not being flooded with pain patients coming from the medical community? How is it possible? We keep seeing papers just like this. This just happens to be the newest one. We’ve seen multitudes of this same result.  Evidence-based and patient-centered chiropractic saves money, get patients equal or better outcomes, patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care, and we save the patient and the system money. 

That’s it, the end of the story. It’s time for a profession that acts as they stand on the shoulders of mother evidence and research….like the medical profession, for example….. to begin paying attention to its own damn research and making it mandatory for spinal and joint pain patients to go to an evidence-based, patient-centered chiropractor first for 2 weeks before they even think of making a different move.  If they’re not doing that, they’re 100% ignoring just about every bit of research I’ve seen on this topic in the past 10 years.

Dr. Christine Goertz once told me that it takes on average 18 years for research to filter down to the everyday provider in the field.  So…..just like 8 more years before our offices are inundated, right? That is if they don’t cure chronic pain first.  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. The profession needs us in the ACA and involved in the leadership of state associations. So quit griping about the profession if you’re doing nothing to make it better. Get active, get involved, and make it happen. Let’s get to the message. Same as it is every week. 


Remember the evidence-informed brochures and posters at   

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 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 – Fellow of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (FIANM) and Board Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Professionals (DABFP) – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger  


Harwood, K. J., Pines, J.M., Andrilla, C.H.A., (2022). “Where to start? A two stage residual inclusion approach to estimating influence of the initial provider on health care utilization and costs for low back pain in the US.” BMC Health Serv Res 22(694).  

Parisien M, L. L., Dagostino C, (2022). “Acute inflammatory response via neutrophil activation protects against the development of chronic pain.” SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE 14(644).    

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