Chiropractors nationwide will mark October as National Chiropractic Health Month, promoting chiropractic care as a way of treating back pain without resorting to opioid painkillers, which can lead to addiction.

"For many Americans, back pain is a very disabling condition that prevents them from enjoying the life they want to live," said Dr. Samuel Ascioti of Corning Chiropractic Associates. “With the ongoing opioid crisis, we feel that it is very important for the public to know that there are different approaches to treating back pain, such as chiropractic care, that do not involve the use of prescription drugs.”

The Steuben County Legislature seems to agree, as it’s issued a proclamation recognizing National Chiropractic Health Month.

Citing the rise of opioid abuse, the proclamation says in part, “because of this epidemic, the need for noninvasive, non-drug approaches to pain management for common musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain has increased throughout the world and particularly in the United States.”

According to Ascioti, back pain is one of the most common conditions for which opioids are prescribed.

“It masks the problem,” he added.

He said that’s led many health care providers and organizations to recognize the value of non-drug treatments, including spinal manipulation by a chiropractor.

Ascioti said in recent years, general practitioners are more likely to refer patients to chiropractic care than in the past, for just that reason.

“The more we reach out and talk to other health care providers, the more the culture is changing,” he said.

Corning Chiropractic Associates has “cultivated” relationships with other health care providers within the Guthrie and Arnot systems, as well as physical therapists, neurologists and massage therapists, among others, Ascioti said.

Health insurance is also more likely to cover chiropractic care than in the past, though the level of coverage depends on the particular insurer and plan, he said.

One strange case is Medicare, which will cover spinal manipulation as a treatment -- but not the initial consultation visit that’s necessary to establish what treatment is needed.

No responsible provider would skip that step, Ascioti added.

“We’ve been fighting with Congress on that issue for years,” he said.

While the national organization is promoting chiropractic care as a way to avoid the use of opioids as part of National Chiropractic Health Month, Ascioti said it’s by no means a new idea for providers.

“It’s a deep part of what chiropractic is” to find non-drug treatments for health issues, he said.

More information on the American Chiropractic Association’s “Back to Basics” program to promote non-drug treatments for pain is available online at www.acatoday.org/NCHM.