lorang schreyer des moines chiropractor physical therapist

Chiropractic Care and Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain

Abbie SawyerThe Research, Your Best Life

lorang schreyer des moines chiropractor physical therapist

Dr. Chris LoRang (left), chiropractic physician, and Dr. Corrin Schreyer, physical therapist, work as a team to help chronic pain patients.

October is National Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Month. It’s fitting that these treatment therapies share an awareness month because they work hand in hand when it comes to treating many musculoskeletal conditions, including chronic pain.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is prevalent, especially in the US, affecting nearly one-third of the population (1). Not all pain is considered chronic pain, however. Pain becomes chronic when the brain has determined that there is a threat to a person’s well-being based on signals received from the body (2). There may have been an injury to the tissues or flare up of the nervous system, such as a back injury or infection (3), but tissue damage does not have to occur in order for chronic pain to develop. Healing time for chronic pain is usually beyond normal healing time, meaning that it tends to take longer to heal than a typical injury (2).

What helps chronic pain?

Research shows that one of the biggest factors that can help individuals heal from their chronic pain is education and understanding. It has been recommended by several sources to use a multi-disciplinary approach for treatment, meaning working with various types of healthcare professionals to address the many aspects present with their pain (4).

Both chiropractic care and physical therapy have been shown to be very effective in treating chronic pain (1,4,5).

But what does research say?

According to the American College of Physicians, chronic pain should be treated initially with non-pharmacologic treatment through multidisciplinary rehabilitation, including acupuncture, spinal manipulation, exercise, mindfulness-based stress reduction, motor control training, and progressive relaxation. The Journal of American Medical Association also reports that oftentimes, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, or acupuncture can be beneficial when treating low back pain (4,6).

Not only chiropractic and physical therapy can treat chronic pain exclusively, but also compliment each other when utilized at the same time. As both of these professions are considered to be holistic, meaning treating the whole human rather than one system or part, education and patient understanding is oftentimes considered to be very valuable to these practitioners.

Why does this topic matter?

Right now, 6 out of 10 individuals who die from opioid-related causes received a diagnosis of a chronic non-cancer pain condition within the preceding year (7). The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Ohio was able to reduce the overall opioid prescriptions by 41 percent from 2012 to 2018. Their strategy involved “non-drug treatment options for chronic pain, such as acupuncture, spinal manipulation therapy, chiropractic care, and yoga; non-opioid treatment options, in the form of anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and anticonvulsant medications; and the careful monitoring of opiate prescriptions.” They were not only cutting prescriptions, but offing alternate ways to cope with their chronic pain (8). It is important for the community to know that there are alternatives to treating pain, including chronic pain, that do not involve opioids or other medications.


In summary, if you or someone you know is suffering from chronic pain, check out chiropractic care with physical therapy. Our team is well-versed in this type of collaborative care. Come see us!


  1. Coronado, Rogelio A., and Joel E. Bialosky. “Manual Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain: the Complex Whole Is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts.” Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, vol. 25, no. 3, 2017, pp. 115–117., doi:10.1080/10669817.2017.1309344.
  2. Physical Therapy Guide to Chronic Pain Syndromes. (2020, July 29). Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-chronic-pain-syndromes
  3. “Chronic Pain Information Page.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Chronic-pain-Information-Page.
  4. Hands Down Better. (2020). Retrieved September 30, 2020, from https://handsdownbetter.org/what-research-shows-about-chiropractic/
  5. Haas, Mitchell, et al. “Dose-Response for Chiropractic Care of Chronic Low Back Pain.” The Spine Journal, vol. 4, no. 5, 2004, pp. 574–583., doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2004.02.008.
  6. Yeganeh, M., Baradaran, H. R., Qorbani, M., Moradi, Y., & Dastgiri, S. (2017). The effectiveness of acupuncture, acupressure and chiropractic interventions on treatment of chronic nonspecific low back pain in Iran: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 27, 11-18. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.11.012
  7. Study: 61% of Opioid-Related Deaths Linked to Chronic Pain Diagnosis. (2017, November 29). Retrieved September 30, 2020, from https://www.apta.org/news/2017/11/29/study-61-of-opioid-related-deaths-linked-to-chronic-pain-diagnosis
  8. Clark, J. (2018, January 15). The Best Effort To Fight Opioid Addiction May Be At This VA Hospital In The Center Of America’s Epidemic. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://taskandpurpose.com/health-fitness/va-opiate-prescription-rates

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