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National Chiropractic Health MonthIn order to promote the benefits of chiropractic care, October is observed as “National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM)” each year in the United States. Sponsored by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), this month-long campaign focuses on bringing attention to the public health crisis caused by pain, and in particular the overuse of prescription pain killers. The nationwide observance helps raise awareness about the significant benefits of chiropractic services and the profession’s natural and patient-centered approach to health and wellness. Chiropractic adjustment is a procedure in which trained specialists (known as chiropractors) use their hands or small instrument to apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint. The goal behind this treatment is to correct structural alignment and improve the body’s physical function. Medicare (Part B) covers manual manipulation of the spine in order to correct a subluxation, when provided by a chiropractor or other qualified provider. Proper medical coding of procedures on the medical claims is essential on the part of chiropractors / medical coding companies to ensure accurate documentation and appropriate reimbursement.

The American Chiropractic Association estimates that there will be 80,000 chiropractors in the United States by 2020, up from 58,000 in 2010. The campaign is part of the chiropractics profession’s ongoing efforts to educate the public about the value of conservative forms of care for both acute and chronic pain before resorting to higher risk options, such as opioids. The theme for NCHM 2015 is “Pain Free Nation” which aims to bring attention to the public health crisis caused by chronic pain and in particular the overuse of prescription pain killers.

Presently, chiropractic’s non-drug approach is predominantly relevant in the context of the rampant overuse and abuse of prescription opioid medications. A report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS) states that more than 80 percent of the world’s opioids are consumed in the United States. Opioid pain killer drugs simply mask the pain, but do not actually cure it. Prescription medications that numb pain is some cases may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is or it has healed. This misunderstanding can often lead to overexertion and a delay in the healing process or even to permanent injury. Therefore, healthcare consumers need to explore and understand the potential benefits of traditional options before resorting to riskier and more invasive treatments such as pain relief drugs or surgery.

Chiropractic physicians are skilled in the conservative treatment methods that help alleviate different types of pain such as acute low back pain, and neck, shoulder and knee pain. This conservative approach to pain management includes chiropractic manipulation combined with physical exercise programs. Chiropractors follow a patient-centered approach by encouraging greater interaction and communication for accurate diagnosis and developing cost-effective treatment modalities.

Join National Chiropractic Health Month celebration. Participate in various activities throughout the month to create more awareness about chiropractic services.