2 Your Health: No drugs for your back pain – The American College of Physicians tells patients to try chiropractic first

Dr. Craig Brue

After reviewing 10 years of effectiveness studies related to prescription drugs for the treatment of back pain, the Annals of Internal Medicine has concluded that medication should not be given for the initial treatment of back pain. The 2017 study by the American College of Physicians has concluded that back pain is best treated with non-drug, alternative therapies including chiropractic spinal adjustments.

The new medical study was especially critical of the use of opioids for the treatment of back pain because opioids are gateway drugs to addiction. Last year more than 15,000 people died from opioid usage. The study states that “we are advocating for trying the non-pharmacologic approach initially. Opioids, even for chronic pain, are prescribed more often than we would like to see.” The study also concluded that a placebo for back pain was just as effective as Tylenol.

Instead of drug therapy the medical internists concluded that for acute and sub-acute back pain the initial treatment should include spinal adjustments by a chiropractor, physical therapy, heat/ice, massage and acupuncture. The Academy stated that if a patient requests drugs, non-prescription drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and Naprosyn might provide some pain relief.

For those patients that are experiencing chronic, recurring back pain, the Academy of Physicians still recommended an initial conservative, non-drug approach, including chiropractic care, physical therapy and stress reduction. The basic conclusion of the study is that drugs don’t work for back pain. Back and neck pain are not related to a drug deficiency. Back pain is related to spinal biomechanics and posture. There is no medication that has ever been invented that corrects posture and spinal misalignment.

What treatment does the Academy of Physicians recommend for back pain? They seem to have lumped together almost any and every treatment that doesn’t include drug therapy: chiropractic, physical therapy, exercises, massage, heat/ice, acupuncture and cognitive behavior therapy. If you take a careful look at this group, there is only one professional in the alternative care group that specializes in the treatment of back and neck pain; a chiropractor. Chiropractors are the only non-drug health care professionals that can take x-rays and make an intelligent diagnosis of the cause of your back pain. Based upon examination and x-ray, a chiropractor can also recommend other alternative therapies.

What else is unique about chiropractic care? A chiropractor is the only health care specialist that can adjust spinal vertebrae and correct spinal misalignment. In a matter of a fraction of a second, a chiropractor can re-align vertebrae and restore spinal function. Chiropractic care is the safest, the most conservative, the most effective and the fastest way to relieve back and neck pain.

My advice: If you are having back or neck pain, put a great chiropractor on your health advisory team.

Dr. Craig Brue is an author, lecturer and chiropractic provider in SaddleBrooke, Arizona.