Doctors of chiropractic and their patients are being called upon to contact state and national authorities to keep chiropractic offices open as “essential services” during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as an increasing number of states are telling residents to not leave their home except for necessary trips to grocery stores and health care services.
Canadian chiropractors have been told to close clinics except for emergency care, and in the U.S. the state of Kentucky on Friday, March 20 told chiropractic offices to close except for emergency services.
“[Patients] said, ‘What am I gonna do?’” said Dwain Porter of Porter Chiropractic, speaking to the Daily Independent in Ashland, Ky. “But even though I won’t see patients in the office, I will be in the office and available to take calls and answer questions.”
Porter is also a nutritionist, teaching patients to build their immune systems to protect from viruses, and his clinic ha a gym and offers physical therapy.
“Panic increases cortisol and that lowers your immunity,” he said, also advising that missing out on sports and other activities, plus the uncertainty of the times, works against building immunity.
Porter said his patients were shocked by the news, also in the light of other states keeping chiropractic care as an option. “If you take away chiropractic care, patients are going to seek help one way or another,” Porter said. “They will still go to the ER. I see patients every day who have been to the ER. It will actually overflow the hospital.”
The Veterans Health Administration, the American College of Physicians, and the White House over the last year have recommended that patients try conservative treatments commonly delivered by doctors of chiropractic instead of prescribed opioids. Published guidelines from the American College of Physicians now recommends non-pharmacologic treatment as the first-line approach to treating back pain, with consideration of opioids only as the last treatment option, or if other options present substantial harm to the patient.
Health care practitioners who provide alternative pain care to opioids and drugs have made dramatic impacts on the opioid epidemic over the last year. A recently-published study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shows that adults receiving treatment for low back pain are 55% less likely to fill a prescription for an opioid if they are receiving chiropractic care.
“Chiropractic providers treat musculoskeletal cases which would otherwise overload physician offices, urgent care facilities and hospitals even more than they will be,” said Michael Harbison, DC, speaking to riverbender.com in Illinois. “Chiropractors are one of the few places that can treat these conditions in a non-infectious environment. Most offices have followed the CDC guidelines to ensure proper sterilization of equipment and treating the environment to ensure that patient and staff exposure is reduced as much as possible. Additionally, most offices have increased their hours or spread out the treating times and reduce the number of patients in the office at one time.
“The role of chiropractors during this time is crucial in supporting the medical health care providers in allowing them to prioritize care and concentrate on the emergent situation, while not neglecting patients who have debilitating conditions that are not related to the COVID-19 or other illnesses.”
If chiropractic has not yet been deemed an “essential service” in your state, please take a moment to contact your U.S. representative and senators at https://buff.ly/2WzHL9o.
For more updates, resources and articles on coronavirus for doctors of chiropractic from Chiropractic Economics go to chiroeco.com/coronavirus-covid-19.