You heard right – that miraculous healing art called chiropractic can actually prevent drug addiction. Here’s how: According to a large study conducted at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, nearly four percent of chronic pain patients abuse opioid drugs, such as OxyContin or Percocet. The findings are relevant because these numbers suggest that chronic pain sufferers are four times more likely to abuse opioid drugs then people in the general population (3.8% to 0.9% respectively). Since many chronic pain sufferers report great results through regular chiropractic care, it stands to reason that utilizing this exceptional form of bodywork can lower the risks of opioid drug addiction.

When it comes to pain, it is important to remember one thing, the function of pain is to tell you something is wrong. Whether that something is a biomechanical dysfunction or the onset of an organic disease (cancer, heart disease, etc.), the pain response acts as a warning signal to let you know that a problem is present. It seems that chronic pain is becoming more and more looked upon as an entity unto itself, and being treated as such with powerful opioid drugs. No doubt that occasionally the system goes haywire and pain develops for no apparent physical reason; however, this is more the exception than the rule (and likely due to other chemical, hormonal, neurological or organic imbalances), and it would, therefore, be prudent to find and correct the cause than simply treat the symptom with dangerous pharmaceuticals.

Drugs are important. They help us get over humps that can act as obstacles to our healing. Case in point: I had an emergency appendectomy last summer and I don’t know what I would have done without a couple – OK, seven – shots of morphine. The pain associated with appendicitis is excruciating – I was literally bowled over – and the opioid medication allowed me to handle the 22 hour wait for surgery. So I’m all for the drugs, man. But when they are prescribed simply for chronic pain – most commonly low back pain – something is seriously wrong.

I can’t say that all chronic pain sufferers can be helped by chiropractic care, but I know through my own observations, that far too many neglect to give it a serious try. If they are not fixed within one or two visits, they quit. And off to the pain specialist for a dose of OxyContin – the easy route, since pain will be alleviated quickly, although only temporarily. And since opioids also feel good – that is, they get you high – it’s no surprise that many people would rather take these addictive drugs, than suffer through chiropractic care and ice therapy, which takes longer and requires more work and has a financial commitment.

Fortunately, more people are looking to complimentary and alternative (CAM) health practices like chiropractic care, massage and acupuncture, to help alleviate their physical problems. According to the study, 54% of subjects had used or were currently using chiropractic care to treat chronic pain. Some other notable characteristics of CAM users are:

  • adults between 35-49 years of age
  • college educated
  • incomes above $35,000
  • have a holistic orientation to health.

And I would add wiser, more attractive, funnier, and all around better people. But, hey, that’s just my humble opinion.


Congratulations to Laurie H. of Los Angeles for winning the Tempur-Pedic Comfort Pillow in our Independence Day Raffle. Laurie says she’s especially excited since her neck has been bothering her. Nothing a little chiropractic care and a nice soft pillow can’t resolve. Thanks everyone for playing.

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