Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States and can affect one's ability to work, socialize, exercise and perform household chores. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults have had neck or back pain severe enough that they saw a healthcare professional for care at some point in their lifetime.
In the midst of the opioid-abuse epidemic and Americans' concern about how prescription painkiller abuse affects their local communities, a recent Gallup research brief found most adults in the United States say they prefer to try other ways to manage their pain before taking pain medication prescribed by a doctor.
Many non-drug treatments are available for back-pain sufferers, including spinal manipulation, acupuncture and physical therapy, but little is known about Americans' attitudes and experiences with these treatments. The 2017 Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Report, released today, contains new data on Americans' experience with one of these non-drug treatments: chiropractic care. The report details the prevalence of significant neck and back pain, perceptions of prescription pain management, and the use and costs of chiropractic care.
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Here are some key findings from the report:
About one in four adults (27%) saw a healthcare professional for significant neck or back pain in the last 12 months, and more than half of these adults (54%) have had an ongoing problem with neck or back pain for five years or more.
Given a choice, 78% of U.S. adults prefer to try other ways to address their physical pain before they take pain medication prescribed by a doctor.
Adults in the United States with significant neck or back pain are more likely to say chiropractic care is safer (31%) than prescription pain medication (17%).
Americans are slightly more likely to say that chiropractic care is more effective (27%) than prescription pain medication (22%) for patients who have significant neck or back pain.
These results suggest Americans are not only willing to try non-drug alternatives, but they also view at least one of these treatments as more safe and effective than prescription medication. Increased communication between Americans and healthcare professionals about non-drug treatments could make a dent in the opioid-abuse epidemic.
To learn more, read the full 2017 Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Report.