F4CP: Chiropractic Before Rx Saves Lives

F4CP: Chiropractic Before Rx Saves Lives

As the global leaders in chiropractic education, Life University and the Rubicon Group support chiropractic care as a means of maximizing health and performance. We do NOT support the relegation of chiropractic care to addressing pain only. However, by the same token, we certainly do not want chiropractic’s value in addressing pain to be overlooked, either.

It is with great respect and appreciation for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) we share their white paper, authored by Laura Carabello with Drs. Gerry Clum and William Meeker, on the potential for chiropractic care to stem the ever-rising tide of opioid over-prescription and addiction. The white paper, “Chiropractic: A Safer Strategy Than Opioids,” covers a wide array of factors contributing to the current opioid epidemic and the “first responder” role of chiropractors in addressing pain. In other words, the paper makes a compelling case for chiropractic as the option of first choice in assessing and addressing musculoskeletal pain and headache.

Read and download the paper here, gather a good understanding about what it says and then share, share, share.

Below are a few highlights from the white paper for those who would like salient outtakes to use in social media posts.


There are two basic categories of opiate overdose: Illegal — cheap and abundant heroin and other street drugs, the result of underworld and criminal distribution; and Legal — responsible for almost double the number of overdose deaths: prescriptions fueled by physicians and the pharmaceutical industry.

According to a National Safety Council (NSC) 2016 Survey: 99 percent of medical doctors prescribe highly-addictive opioids – and for longer than the three-day period recommended by the CDC.

Seventy-four percent of doctors incorrectly believe morphine and oxycodone, both opioids, are the most effective ways to treat pain. Furthermore, the problem has reached the point where painkillers with high addictive potential, which include commonly prescribed drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, now account for more drug overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

While more than 70 percent of doctors say they prescribe narcotic painkillers for back pain…these drugs are not considered the ideal treatment for either condition, according to the National Safety Council. Interestingly, the NSC found in an earlier survey that roughly half of all patients are actually more inclined to see their doctor again if non-narcotic painkillers are offered.


In 1996, Purdue Pharmaceuticals released a new opiate, OxyContin, onto the market with FDA approval. There was no evidence that the new formulation worked any better than other off-patent older opiates. OxyContin was directly marketed to doctors whose narcotic prescription patterns had been studied, and they were known to be opiate over-prescribers. OxyContin was also provided free of charge to patients for limited time periods through a voucher system.

Doctors, pharmacists and others in health care were treated to an onslaught of direct marketing. Primary care physicians were encouraged to prescribe OxyContin liberally for chronic pain of all kinds, and OxyContin was deliberately and falsely presented as a drug with a small risk of addiction. Purdue was later found guilty of criminal charges in this misrepresentation.


In only a few years, OxyContin became the leading cause of opiate prescription overdose in the U.S. Purdue racked up revenues, and four years after it was introduced, OxyContin was generating more than a billion dollars in annual sales.

Today, we are facing a situation where the good intention of pain relief was upended by special interests. The appalling irony is that studies have not shown any collective improvement in chronic pain.


The CDC guidelines and the National Pain Strategy share an important element to address the out-of-control opiate environment in the U.S.: encouraging medical doctors to utilize non-pharmacologic, conservative care and consider non- addictive alternative options, behavioral changes and non-addictive pain relievers.


Chiropractic care takes on even greater importance when one considers the opportunity it offers to potentially avoid the risks of prescription opioids: misuse, abuse, and opioid use disorder (addiction). In 2014, almost two million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids. As many as one in four people who receive prescription opioids long term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggle with addiction.

…in geographic locations with more chiropractors and a higher level of Medicare payments for chiropractic spinal manipulation, there were fewer patients taking opioid drugs.

Today’s Chiropractic Leadership would like to thank all involved for this comprehensive overview of the role of chiropractic in the effective reduction of pain and opioid dependence.

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