A growing commonplace trend reveals more people than ever being treated for back or neck pain with opioids. An estimated 84% of people will experience at least one episode of back pain in their lifetime. 15% of that number will be given opioids. 5% will go on to become long-term opioid users.

Opioid drugs rank among the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. military. A 2014 study determined that over 40% of the U.S. infantry reported chronic pain (pain lasting at least 3 months) after deployment, and 15% reported opioid use in the month prior to the survey. Soldiers report greater rates of both chronic pain and opioid use after a combat deployment than does the civilian population. The astronomical rates of chronic pain and medicinal relief triggers rampant misuse of opioid pain medication, producing a significant health concern for military personnel. Prescription drug abuse spiked for military personnel at levels much higher than the civilian population over the past several years. Military servicemen and woman deserve a better approach to dealing with chronic pain and other serious health challenges than the ingestion of harmful and highly addictive opioids.

Chiropractic care represents one of the most effective interventions to address the cause of structural pain. Scientific research proves that Chiropractic care reduces the necessity of opioid drugs and lowers the rates and volume of addiction. More awareness and access to Chiropractic care proves vital to the health and future of the dedicated men and women in the military.

New research evaluated the results of Chiropractic care on veterans who used opioids. Over 14,000 veterans experienced at least one Chiropractic adjustment during the study. Some who received Chiropractic care also took opioids concurrently. One-third of veterans receiving Chiropractic services also held an opioid prescription. Results determined that those who received Chiropractic care reduced their intake of opioids after their first visit. The study suggested that regular Chiropractic care offered a treatment option which replaced opioid therapy for chronic pain conditions. The landmark study served as one of many evidentiary pools of data that reflected the benefits of Chiropractic care for both military personnel and civilians determined to find an alternate solution to opioid use for pain.

Study results combined with previous data and literature suggest that expanding access to Chiropractic care should be a key consideration for the Veterans Affairs. The latest evidence works congruently with the national initiative aimed to increase the use of research-based non-drug treatments for chronic pain. Chiropractic care serves as the most popular and effective non-drug intervention available to help people suffering from chronic pain. The men and women who sacrifice to keep America safe deserve a health care option which fights for them when they conclude their service to others.

Pain Med. 2018 Sep 1;19(suppl_1):S54-S60. doi: 10.1093/pm/pny114. Opioid Use Among Veterans of Recent Wars Receiving Veterans Affairs Chiropractic Care. Lisi AJ1,2Corcoran KL1,2DeRycke EC1Bastian LA1,2Becker WC1,2Edmond SN1,2Goertz CM3Goulet JL1,2Haskell SG1,2Higgins DM4,5Kawecki T1,2Kerns RD1,2Mattocks K6,7Ramsey C2Ruser CB1,2Brandt CA1,2.