Spinal Manipulation: Is There a Missing Element In Successful Addiction Treatment?

Addiction treatment and recovery is the fastest growing segment of the healthcare industry today. From drugs and alcohol to behavioral conditions such as sex addiction and gambling, the underlying conditions of all are manifested in neuromusculoskeletal pain. Now that many insurance plans cover substance abuse under their mental health riders more people suffering with addictions are reaching out for help. Success rates in the industry are very low and relapse is topping 60 percent and growing on average. However there are promising methods that only a very small number of forward-thinking treatment providers know about and are utilizing to deal with the emotional and neurological effects of alcohol and drug use.

DR Bruce


Chiropractic medicine is the second largest health discipline in the United States. Chiropractic physicians (aka doctors of chiropractic or DCs) care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions. DCs are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches…particularly with their highly skilled manipulations or chiropractic adjustments. They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system, involving the nerves, muscles, ligaments and joints, especially those of the brain and spinal cord. These painful conditions often involve or impact the nervous system, which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of injury. The benefits of chiropractic care extend to general health issues, as well, since the human body structure affects our overall function. DCs also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification.

 The human spine plays an important role in maintaining the proper mechanism for controlling electrical input into the brain. Think of the spinal column as a breaker panel that controls neurological functioning to muscles, organ systems, and endocrine secretion. It also is an important organ in maintaining immunological stability. Many people who abuse drugs or are habitually compulsive suffer from immunological disorders, which impede their overall ability to successfully beat addiction and fully recover. Torque Release Technique (TRT) and spinal manipulation are chiropractic systems for treating conditions through the spine (also called spinal adjusting) in which vertebral segments are “reset” or moved so that the nerve switches that are turned off are turned back on and functioning properly again. TRT and spinal manipulation are crucial components of achieving proper neurological tone balance and spinal joint integrity.

One study has shown that chiropractic care, along with auriculotherapy, decreased the “AMA rates” in a residential setting. This is very promising not only for patients being treated for addictions of drugs and alcohol but other compulsive disorders like over over-eating. Additionally, it is good news for the treatment providers for effectiveness reporting. What has prevented some from embracing this more holistic approach is the misunderstanding of cost and insurance coverage, and frankly, ignorance. Notwithstanding the effectiveness of this approach there are a few forward-thinking centers who have embraced this and are realizing amazing success in reduction of AMA rates among their census. Even better is that these few centers are being reimbursed by insurance profitably and fairly compensate their providers who have the advanced training in addiction care.


Obviously more research in this and other areas of addiction treatment will be constructive for the mental health and substance abuse treatment profession and ultimately the patients receiving the care. However, it is becoming increasing obvious that the substance abuse treatment providers who embrace inclusion of chiropractic and other holistic therapies into their clinical settings will benefit not only financially but competitively as well.


Whether you manage a detox facility, PHP, inpatient center, or IOP, we hope you find the information valuable, and if you have any questions please email us at mailto:info@addictionrecovery-fl.com or call us direct at 772-288-6456.

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DR Bruce
Doctor Bruce Hansbrough received his chiropractic medical degree from Life University, in Marietta, Georgia. He has worked in integrative settings in Martin and Palm Beach Counties since 1993. Doctor Hansbrough is board certified with the American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders (ACACD) and performed his residency at the Exodus Treatment Center and Concept House in Miami.

He has served as an integrative medicine consultant for mental health and addiction recovery centers. He is also board certified in occupational health completing his occupational health residency at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minneapolis and is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Occupational Health.

Doctor Hansbrough is a veteran and served as a commissioned officer from 1980 through 2002 in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve with three tours of duty in the Middle East and Persian Gulf regions. Doctor Hansbrough is also a graduate of the LEADERship™ program of Martin County and received the prestigious Chiropractor of the Month award from the nationally acclaimed Chiropractic Leadership Alliance in June 2010.
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