Chiropractic Physicians Applaud CDC’s Draft Guideline for Opioid Prescribing

Comments submitted to agency encourage the use of conservative treatment options for chronic pain

Arlington, Va. – The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), in recent comments submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the draft Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, commends the agency for recommending the use of conservative forms of pain management as an initial treatment option.

“Chiropractic physicians are well positioned to play a vital role in the conservative management of acute and chronic pain. They offer complementary and integrative strategies, as well as guidance on self care, that can provide needed relief for many who suffer from pain,” writes ACA President Anthony Hamm, DC, as part of ACA’s formal comments.

The proposed guideline – aimed at primary care physicians – was published in the Federal Register on December 14 and provides 12 recommendations regarding initiation or continuation of opioids for chronic pain; opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and assessment of risk and addressing harms of opioid use. Recommendations focus on the use of opioids in treating chronic pain (i.e., pain lasting longer than 3 months or past the time of normal tissue healing) outside end-of-life care.

The comments submitted by ACA are part of the chiropractic profession’s ongoing efforts to educate the public about the value of exhausting non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical treatments for pain management and health enhancement before moving on to higher risk options. This health care model encourages, when appropriate, the use of more cost-effective and safer approaches over potentially addictive medications, surgery and other invasive procedures for pain management and health enhancement.

Health care quality organizations have begun to recognize the value of this conservative approach. In 2015, the Joint Commission, which certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, revised its pain management standard to include chiropractic services. More than 33.6 million Americans sought chiropractic care in 2014, compared to a previously reported estimate of 20.6 million in 2012.*

The comments received by the CDC from ACA and other groups will be used by the agency to ensure scientific quality and feasibility of the recommendations. A newly appointed panel of experts will meet in late January to present their observations on the proposed guideline.

*2015 Gallup-Palmer Inaugural Report: Americans’ Perceptions of Chiropractic

# # #

The American Chiropractic Association based in Arlington, Va., is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of ethics and patient care, contributing to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients. Visit us at