Chiropractic in Health Clinics Provides Decrease in Opioid Usage

An article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch earlier this year described a collaboration between medical and chiropractic physicians to benefit patients at risk for opioid addiction.  Myrtle Hilliard David Comprehensive Health Centers are federally subsidized clinics in St. Louis that offer health care for people with public health insurance and the uninsured.  Their statistics showed that among the 30,000 patients treated each year, nearly 40% were prescribed painkillers.  Patients who go to these clinics are unable to travel or pay for health care out of pocket making non-drug treatments out of reach.  One internist said that other than writing a prescription or sending them for surgery, he has few options to help his patients. 

 In an effort to find a better way to handle pain management for their patients, administrators contacted Logan University and formed a partnership to provide chiropractic care at little or no cost to patients.  After the first year, the initial data is very promising.  It shows that 80% of patients receiving the care DECREASED their reliance on pain medications!  CEO Angela Clabon states: “We thought we could help them get off their medications and improve their quality of life, and that’s exactly what happened.”  The program is so successful that another system of subsidized health clinics is starting a similar program.   At each clinic, a doctor of chiropractic oversees Logan students in caring for patients.  Logan’s Director of Integrated Health Centers, Barry Wiese, states: “It gives us some of the best clinical teaching opportunities, and at the same time we get to give back to the community in a way we couldn’t do otherwise.” 

 When the program began, chiropractic providers saw patients three days a week and averaged only twenty patients.  But the demand has given rise to an increase.  They now treat patients five days a weel and average 100 patients.  Chiropractic is new to many of the patients.  They are enjoying not only lower medication usage, but also the benefits of hands on treatment.  One patient reported, “It’s given me my life back.”  Another said “Not only does he treat the physical ailments, he also administers some type of mental confidence in me.  That also makes a difference, I no longer feel like I’m a broken-down old man.”

 You can read the full article at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch