U.S. veterans suffering from chronic low-back pain will be the focus of a $7 million study that will examine the role of chiropractic care in addressing pain without the use of pharmaceuticals. The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), the largest chiropractic research institution in the nation, will execute the study in collaboration with the Yale Center for Medical Informatics, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, and the University of Iowa.
The study, called VERDICT, is funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH: UH3AT009761).
VERDICT is part of an $81 million federally funded NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory which is an initiative designed to support large-scale pragmatic clinical trials focused on the use of non-drug pain management approaches among active-duty and veteran populations. VERDICT is one of only 11 studies being conducted through the Collaboratory.
“As opioid dependency continues to rise in the U.S., so does the need for effective, non-pharmacological care options to address chronic pain. Our outstanding multidisciplinary team has been laying the groundwork for this important study for several years and is excited to begin recruiting patients,” said Cynthia Long, PhD, dean of research, Palmer College of Chiropractic.
“Pragmatic studies such as VERDICT allow us to answer real-world questions about optimal chiropractic care for our nation’s Veterans and beyond. I look forward to seeing this work influence future health-care policy that impacts both doctors of chiropractic and the patients we serve,” added Christine Goertz, DC, PhD, who is joining Duke University’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery as professor and the director of system development and coordination for Spine Health on Oct. 1.
The four-year study will be carried out within four Veteran Administration clinics across the country: VA Connecticut Healthcare System; Iowa City VA Health Care System; Minneapolis VA Health Care System; and VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
The study plans to recruit 766 veteran patients, including a minimum of 20% women, to answer two questions: “Does the number of chiropractic visits have an impact on pain management?”; and “What impact does ongoing care have on pain management?”
Veterans experience higher rates of low-back pain, which negatively impacts quality of life and increases risk of opioid addiction. In 2017, the American College of Physicians announced that non-pharmacological therapies should be the first line of defense for patients with chronic low-back pain.
An estimated 20 percent of U.S. adults suffer from low-back-pain, and 23% of low-back pain patients report high-intensity pain that leads to disability. Inadequately managed chronic pain results in loss of productivity, high medical expenses and costly out-of-pocket patient expenses.
About the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research is a part of Palmer College of Chiropractic, the first and largest college in the chiropractic profession. Palmer College of Chiropractic has campuses in Davenport, Iowa; San Jose, Calif.; and Port Orange, Fla.