Growing Evidence Offers Proof Chiropractic Works

Some people ask is chiropractic effective? A growing body of evidence-based research offers proof chiropractic care works. It does this by demonstrating the value of chiropractic care in addressing conditions affecting your spine, muscles, joints or nervous system. Some key evidence-based highlights are cited below.

Is Chiropractic Effective? Research and Outcome Highlights

Pain Relief and Management

Reduced Medication and Opioid Use

  • Patients with noncancer spinal pain who received chiropractic care were 52% less likely to obtain a prescription for opioids than patients who did not receive chiropractic care (and 71% less if patients received chiropractic care within 30 days of their initial visit.)
  • After a course of chiropractic care at a publicly funded multidisciplinary inner-city facility, 59% of the patients no longer required opioids.
  • A 2019 U.S. study found that 64 per cent of patients who saw a chiropractor were less likely to use opioids than people who didn’t, as reported in the journal Pain Medicine.3
  • 83 per cent of patients surveyed now rely less on medication, including opioids, to help manage their low back pain, after receiving care from a Musculoskeletal (spine, muscle or joint) expert, such as a chiropractor, at one of Ontario’s government-funded Primary Care Low Back Pain program sites. 4
  • 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioid Therapy and Chronic Non-Cancer Pain recommends therapies without medication, such as spinal or joint manipulation and therapeutic exercise, for treating back pain, as well as neck pain, knee osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and severe headaches or migraines.5
  • Health Quality Ontario (HQO) suggests making better use of non-medical treatments to manage acute and chronic pain will reduce the number of people who use opioids for the long-term. Its Quality Standard onOpioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain also recommends spinal manipulation in conjunction with an active physical therapy or exercise program.
[1] Qaseem, A., Wilt, T. J., McLean, R. M., & Forciea, M. A. Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline. American College of Physicians Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain. Annals of Internal Medicine, 166(7), 514-530. April 2017.
[2] Blanchette, M., Rivard, M., Dionne, C.E., Hogg-Johnson, S., & Steenstra, I. Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2016.
[3] “Association Between Chiropractic Use and Opioid Receipt Among Patients with Spinal Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis”, Pain Medicine, September 2019.
[4] Primary Care Low Back Pain Pilot Evaluation: Final Report. Centre for Effective Practice. Toronto: Ontario. March 2017.
[5] Busse, J. W., Craigie, S., Juurlink, D.N., Buckley, D. N., Wang L., Couban R.J., Agoritsas, T., Akl, E.A., Carrasco-Labra, A., Cooper, L., Cull, C., da Costa B.R., Frank, J.W., Grant G., Iorio, A., Persaud, N., Stern, S., Tugwell, P., Vandvik P.O. and Guyatt G.H., Canadian Guideline for Opioid Therapy and Chronic Non-Cancer Pain, CMAJ, 189 (18), May 2017.

Is Chiropractic Effective? 
Patient Experiences Show Chiropractic Works

 “It’s a whole new ballgame now. I’m able to continue working to support my family. I can ride motorcycles again. I can ride my snowmobile again. I can sit in the boat for a couple of hours now and take my granddaughter out fishing.”

Brent Pataki, Patient recovering from an industrial work-related injury

“In addition to seeing Dr. Morgan (a Toronto chiropractor) for treatment twice a month, I’ve been going to his workshops. He showed me how to sit up properly, how to get up, how to get out of bed the right way. He got me back on track.”

Sharon Pike, Patient recovering from whiplash

“Because my chiropractor is in contact with my nurse (practitioner) whom I see on a regular basis… They’re looking at me as a whole piece, not just fixing (a part of me). They’re trying to see what they can do to help me be better as a whole.”

Patient, from Primary Care Lower Back Pain program

“I’m absolutely much more aware of my body and I have mental clarity. I mean, I’m sleeping clear and sound. It’s just been a huge difference.”

Lisa Morris, Patient, after transitioning to medication-free pain management

“I got hit back in 2005 on my bike. I was taking percs [percocets], buying them off the street, I was taking anything I can get to stop the pain. Now [after chiropractic care] I’m right off the percs!”

Patient, from Primary Care Low Back Pain program

“I’m back doing work as an electrician and not long ago, I could barely get off the floor. It (chiropractic sessions and a new love of yoga) really helps with my mobility and stiffness.”

Leroy Gallagher, Patient

“Thank you [to my chiropractor] for helping me with the back pain I have suffered over eleven years… I was taking 6 Percocet per day, along with 6 Tylenol #3… I have (now) eliminated the Percocet and Tylenol #3 and now have no pain.”

Patient, from Primary Care Low Back Pain program

 “Knowing that I’ve got somebody I can relate to who can come up with a solution that can make me feel better if I have trouble is comforting. He’s got my back.”

Brian Mandelker, Patient with spinal stenosis

“I had an operation for my spinal stenosis that was partially successful. I was struggling to walk … My daughter found Dr. Ammendolia … I was skeptical … halfway through the program, the improvements were really, really dramatic.” 

David Stanyar, Participant, Dr. Ammendolia's Spinal Stenosis Boot Camp
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