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An invitation-only health care industry briefing hosted by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress® (F4CP) at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, elicited validation of chiropractic as a safe, first-line option for pain management in comparison to prescription opioid painkillers. In a keynote presentation given by Marc Siegel, MD, FOX News Health Commentator and Professor of Medicine, New York University of Medicine at NYC Langone Medical Center, Dr. Siegel praised the chiropractic profession for its drug-free approach to the management of back and neck pain.


“Chiropractors are not the problem,” said Dr. Siegel. “In fact, zero percent of chiropractors actually prescribe opioids…Primary care doctors are responsible for 28 percent of the problem, and let me tell you why: someone comes to us for back pain, and maybe we understand that the back is a tight compartment of muscle, nerve and bone, but maybe we don’t know which is causing the problem…So, what do primary care doctors do? They start trying to medicate to get the patient feeling better.”

Additional presentations echoed this theme:

Wayne Jonas, MD, Executive Director, Samueli Integrative Health Programs, “About 15 percent of individuals have a genetic predisposition to become addicted if prescribed…we need to be able to bring in other effective approaches…an integrative health approach is the solution: it is the combination of the best evidence-based practices from all kinds of approaches.”

David Thomas, PhD, Program Officer, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse communicates that clinicians receive almost no training in pain – only about nine hours over the course of four years:“We are trying to encourage more education about pain treatment to help nip that problem in the bud.”

Echoing Dr. Thomas, Linda Porter, PhD, Director, NIH’s Office of Pain Policy and Co-Chair of the National Pain Strategy and Federal Pain Research Strategy Steering Committees, continues: “I can’t say in enough different ways to support what we really think is one of the foundational issues behind the opioid epidemic is to provide better pain management for people with chronic pain. If we can’t do that, we are never going to get away from the opioid issues.”

Representing the consumer voice, Jan Chambers, Founder and President, National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) spoke about her own experience with chronic pain and her perspective on the value of drug-free care: “Opioids are contraindicative for fibromyalgia, and when you understand that pain – severe chronic pain – is a hallmark of fibromyalgia, it leaves us in a world of hurt.”

Kent S. Greenawalt, chairman, F4CP, the leading voice of the chiropractic profession, termed the opioid abuse problem as ‘epidemic,’ saying, “The problem is national in scope – it doesn’t matter if you live in a small city, or a rural area, it affects all of our communities. We need better ways to address pain management. There are over 60,000 chiropractors in the U.S. bringing pain relief to millions of patients, all without drugs and surgery. There are proven clinical research studies that demonstrate not only the safety of chiropractic, but also the effectiveness of care.”

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