If you want to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions and pills being used, and potentially misused, you need alternative pain management. And chiropractors say that’s what they’ve been providing for decades.

“It gives people options, and that’s probably the most important thing right now is to give people options for treatment,” Dr. Mark Stagnone, president of the New Hampshire Chiropractic Association said.

At its annual meeting, the association is pointing to a trio of recent studies showing that chiropractic care cuts down on the use of opiate pain medicines.

In one of the studies, a former Dartmouth doctor analyzed 33,000 cases of lower back pain in a New Hampshire database.

“His preliminary research is indicating that there’s about a 56-57 percent reduction in opioid use when chiropractic care has been utilized in a patients treatment,” Stagnone said.

James Vara, the governor’s adviser on addiction and behavorial health, said the state needs more alternative pain management.

“It becomes a question of what insurance covers it and how long they cover it for, and that’s certainly something I’ve looked at and will continue to,” said Vara.

Chiropractors said the current insurance model puts patients on a path to prescription drugs.

“The problem that it produces is that the average individual who’s trying to treat a condition is faced with paying a high co-pay to visit a chiropractor or paying a considerably lower one to see a primary care physician,” Stagnone said.

Changing that dynamic will require legislation that has failed in the past. But chiropractors said in this ongoing addiction crisis, it’s time for adjustment.

Chiropractic care is covered under the New Hampshire Health Protection program, or expanded Medicaid. And if the program lapses, so does that coverage.


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