Association Between Chiropractic Utilization and Opioid Prescriptions Among People With Back or Neck Pain: Evaluation of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

Published:October 01, 2022DOI:



      The purpose of this study was to assess the association between patients in the United States seeing a chiropractor and receiving an opioid prescription for back or neck pain.


      Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (Years 2012 to 2015) respondents for longitudinal panels 17 to 19 who participated in all 5 rounds were at least 18 years of age, did not have cancer, and reported back or neck pain. We defined chiropractic users as participants reporting at least 1 chiropractic visit for back or neck pain and opioid users as participants reporting purchase or receipt of a prescription classified as Multum Lexicon “60” and “191” for back or neck pain. We adjusted for socioeconomic and clinical variables using multiple logistic regression.


      The sample contained 4686 people, 21% of whom reported an opioid prescription for back or neck pain. Among opioid users, 14% reported a chiropractic visit for back or neck pain compared to 31% of nonopioid users. The adjusted odds ratio for chiropractic use among opioid users compared to nonopioid users was 0.46 (95% confidence interval, 0.36-0.57).


      Patients with back or neck pain who saw a chiropractor had approximately half the odds of reporting an opioid prescription compared to those who did not see a chiropractor.

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