While patients have long seen chiropractic care as a necessary part of managing back pain, it's taken some time for insurers to catch up. However, in new guidelines set forth by the Oregon Health Authority, Medicaid patients in the state will be able to receive chiropractic care, as well as other alternative treatments, to help their pain. Even better, the change came about for a noble reason: to reduce the prevalence of opioid addiction.
According to the new "Back Policy Changes Fact Sheet," the Health Evidence Review Commission decided to add these treatments after a review of new evidence of their effectiveness, particularly a biopsychosocial model that aims to help back pain sufferers continue their normal activities. More importantly, the new policy hopes to reduce the reliance on medication and surgery.
The other treatments included in the policy update are acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy, osteopathic manipulation, yoga, intensive rehabilitation, massage and other supervised exercise therapies.
This is not the first time that Oregon has promoted the benefits of integrative care, according to Integrative Practitioner. The state has created the Oregon Collaborative for Integrative Medicine and the Oregon Pain Management Commission, which work to produce and bring together integrative care practitioners
This type of care and the different treatments within it are especially important for fighting opioid addiction. OPB News reported that, in 2012, more than 900,000 Oregonians received a prescription for opioids, one of the leading causes of addiction and overdose, especially in Oregon as reported by OPB.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine reports that drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., with opioid addiction being the most common, causing over 18,000 overdose-related deaths from prescription pain relievers in 2014.
Dr. Dave Eisen, the executive director of The Quest Center for Integrative Health in Portland, told OPB that doctors must stop relying on medication, particularly opioids, to battle pain.
"There should be an array of things for people to choose from," he said. "Whether it be chiropractic care, naturopathic care, acupuncture, nutrition, massage, to try those things and if they don't work you use opioids… as a last resort."
With more evidence supporting the effectiveness of chiropractic manipulation and other similar forms of treatment, and this groundbreaking policy update by the state of Oregon, we'll hopefully see more practitioners recommend these alternatives to pain medication.
If you're looking for better ways to care for your back pain, you can schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.