It is no secret that a significant contributing factor to the nations opioid crisis is the use of opioid drugs for musculoskeletal pain. A population with high rates of musculoskeletal pain and injury are United States Veterans. Of those veterans, female veterans report high rates of musculoskeletal pain than men. The packs they carry can weigh between 60-100 lbs and have severely damaged the musculoskeletal system of many US service people. Women in particular at higher risk because of their generally smaller frames than men. Regardless of their strength and endurance, the bone structure of women simply differs from men and therefore higher rates of neck and back injuries and pain are seen in women soldiers.
In 2004-2007 ⅓ of medical evacuations from Iraq and Afghanistan were due to musculoskeletal, connective tissue, and spinal injuries. A study in 2018 reports that musculoskeletal problems are the lead cause of morbidity (disease) for female veterans. Subsequently, there has been a 400% increase in opioid overdose deaths in women versus the 265% in male veterans. It is also no secret that the treatment options most often given do not work well and are limited. Many veterans look for alternative options and now veteran services is beginning to cover more of these broader options for pain.
A group of practitioners and researchers found that women experience a 45% improvement in neck pain based on studies done, but when the authors considered the results they see in their clinical practices, the rate of pain eradication was closer to 90-95%. This discrepancy is explained in the way in which the study categorized the various methods of chiropractic care which did not include some of the non-invasive techniques chiropractors use to solve pain. In another study chiropractic care resulted in 24% decrease in disability and a 30.3% reduction in opioid use. Another study found of in 136 veterans, there was a significant improvement in disability with chiropractic care.
In general population studies, chiropractic is shown to reduce the use of opioid drugs by 55% in low back pain. This is considered a major finding in regard to how low back pain has historically been treated. The results of the increasing data on the benefits of chiropractic care for musculoskeletal pain continue to prove chiropractic care is the best treatment option for spine related injuries.
The military and associated health agencies have responded by including chiropractic care and complementary therapies to the available treatment options for veterans after research has proven that chiropractic care is often more effective than standard treatment options and does not carry the high risk of opioid addiction and death. This means veterans can get chiropractic care covered as part of their healthcare plan. Chiropractors are the highest trained spine care specialist with data supporting the use of spinal adjustments for back pain for over 100 years. If you or a veteran you know suffer from musculoskeletal pain, medications are not your only option. Not only is chiropractic safe, it is more effective than physical therapy and treatment from a medical doctor.