F4CP and TCA Cite Significance of $14M NIH Grant on Non-Drug Approaches to Prevent Chronic Low Back Pain

Doctors of chiropractic perform 94 percent of spinal manipulations

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) and Tennessee Chiropractic Association, both proponents for chiropractic awareness, cite the importance of a $14M grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study non-drug approaches to prevent chronic low back pain, which in turn could lead to reduced opioid use.

“Low back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide,” says Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president, F4CP. “Since doctors of chiropractic perform 94 percent of spinal manipulations, this study has great potential to educate consumers, health payers, employers and government regulators regarding the value of chiropractic care as a safer alternative to manage spine and joint-related pain before opioids.”

Known as the “Spinal Manipulation and Patient Self-Management for Preventing Acute to Chronic Back Pain Trial” or PACBACK, the study is one of the largest ever initiated by the NIH specifically for back pain and compares more traditional medical techniques to chiropractic care and other approaches to intercept back problems long before more extreme measures such as opioids enter into the discussion.

“Chiropractic physicians have the expertise and training to drastically impact the statistics and outcomes for the better,” says Tiffany Stevens, TCA Executive Director. “Research has shown the chiropractic healthcare model emphasizes more cost-effective and safer approaches over potentially addictive medications or surgery for pain management and health enhancement.”

The University of Minnesota will receive $11.2M for a national multi-site clinical trial examining the effectiveness of spinal manipulation approaches and supported self-management compared to usual medical care, with an additional $2.8M awarded to the University of Washington to provide data management and statistical support.

Dr. McAllister concludes, “Forty percent of those suffering with low back pain are being prescribed opioids for pain. The timing of this grant will be an important step in the shifting over of non-pharmacological methods for pain management, and studies such as PACBACK will only help to support those initiatives.”