From Dr. Natalie Meiri’s Clinical Pearl Stories: Chiropractic Helps You Overcome Addiction


Author: Natalie Meiri, D.C.           Posted: 8/9/23


This was a 25 year old male patient with a chief complaint of acute right sided cervical (neck)/thoracolumbar (mid/lowback) spine and right shoulder pain. To be HIPAA compliant, I will call him Kenny instead of his real name. Currently, Kenny was in an alcohol and drug rehab facility. He stated there had been a “chiropractor at the facility yesterday who gave him a 15 second crack which did nothing for him”.


Kenny had a history of multiple car accidents and falls over the years. He even had an injury last year where he had to have stitches to his right shoulder when he fell off a roof.  Kenny had been to a chiropractor in the past who combined the adjustment with soft tissue techniques and physiotherapy which gave him some relief.  Furthermore, being a recovering alcoholic, he couldn’t take any drugs for the pain. This was why he presented to my office.


Kenny’s Examination and Imaging

Upon examination he had painful spasmed muscles and tenderness all around the right shoulder, thoracolumbar (mid/lowback) spine, and cervical (neck) spine. Also, Kenny’s range of motion was limited. He wasn’t able to raise his arm past his head and could not bend forward at the waist due to pain.

His sensory examination showed a pattern of numbness and pain down his arms and legs in multiple dermatomes (areas of skin on your body that rely on specific nerve connections in your spine). Kenny had positive tests to indicate he had sprained and strained his neck, back and right shoulder.  Then he remembered during the exam he had recently been in yet another car accident. Additionally, he had chronic neuropathy in his neck and back.

His cervical (neck) x-rays showed loss of cervical lordosis (straightening) consistent with cervical myospasm for a sprain.  His thoracic x-ray showed a curvature with a  right convexity (abnormal curve) consistent with thoracic myospasm. If he wasn’t responding to care in a month, I would order a M.R. I. (magnetic resonance image).


Substance abuse, addiction and Chiropractic

Firstly, substance abuse and addiction are universally recognized as diseases that disrupt and damage neurotransmitters in the brain, causing a disturbance to production levels of chemicals.  Misalignments (chiropractic subluxation/fixation) in the spine interfere with normal functioning of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Chiropractic adjustments correct and normalize functioning in the nervous system.  Moreover, chiropractic care eases stress, and anxiety. Ultimately, chiropractic affects an addict’s thoughts and emotions to improve positively.  Without improvement, the feelings of anxiety, depression, and mood swings results in an uncontrollable compulsion to consume the substance of addiction.


Secondly, Chiropractic can help addicts work through pain holistically and learn healthy alternatives for pain management.  Indeed, pain is especially common in those suffering from prescription drug addiction, and often leads people to abuse medications in an attempt to control discomfort.  In fact, for many individuals suffering from addiction, physical pain is one of the primary causes of substance abuse. Developing a rehabilitation plan that treats the physical and mental dependence on drugs or alcohol is important.


Thirdly, many addicts report that, in an attempt to manage pain, they began misusing prescription pain medication.  A tolerance often builds in people who suffer from long-term pain. Therefore, they start taking more of the medication to manage discomfort. So identifying and relieving pain without the use of prescription medications is key.  Alternative therapy programs have shown to support and enhance the outcome of treatment for substance abuse and chemical dependence. In conclusion,  detox, counseling, and physical rehabilitation (chiropractic care) are all necessary elements of addiction recovery programs. 

Dr. Natalie Meiri adjusts the neck of a patient


Kenny’s Treatment at Meiri Chiropractic

It is common to have pain and neuropathy in your shoulder and spine after a car accident. 

Chiropractic manipulative treatment techniques rendered to Kenny’s right shoulder and spine treated the sprain/strain.

Our other therapies, such as soft tissue techniques, therapeutic exercise, electric muscle stimulation, ice/ heat therapies and homeopathic consultations provided additional relief. It took a few months of care, but Kenny was pain free and got his range of motion back.  Kenny is continuing his chiropractic care in his hometown following his discharge/graduation from the addiction facility.


 Chiropractic Helps You Overcome Addiction

At Meiri Chiropractic we spend the time necessary to examine, diagnose and treat every neuromusculoskeletal condition and various ailments you have.  Chiropractic is a holistic and natural way to not only treat existing conditions, but to keep your body in its best working condition.  We have been offering effective chiropractic care in Palm Beach county since 2006.  Many of our patient reviews note our excellence.  Call us today at 561-253-8984 to make an appointment or to find out more about Chiropractic Helps You Overcome Addiction.