With opioid (pain killer) use at an all time high, it has become an epidemic. An increasing population is relying on medications to get through their day, while suffering harmful side effects including addiction, bowel problems, mood fluctuations, and organ damage. Although the goal with the medication is to make the patient more independent and with fewer health concerns, the opposite can happen with more health problems (both physical and mental) increasing the need for more doctor’s visits and even more medications.
“Chiropractic services are an important first line of defense against pain and, in some cases, can lessen a patient’s reliance on addictive painkillers or prevent their use altogether,” said ACA President David Herd, DC. “It makes sense to exhaust conservative forms of treatment such as chiropractic before moving on to riskier, potentially addictive pain medications.”
Statistics show that as many as one in four patients who receive prescription opioids long-term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction. In addition, every day more than 1,000 people are treated in the emergency room for misusing prescription opioids. Recommended doses for opioids are general guidelines and every person can react differently with their own tolerance levels and allergies.
Using treatments such as spinal manipulation, chiropractic practitioners take a drug-free approach to treating back pain, neck pain and other musculoskeletal disorders. High-quality research has found spinal manipulation to be effective for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain.
In the wake of the opioid epidemic, many respected health care organizations now recommend non-drug treatments. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its 2016 guidelines for prescribing opioids, notes that nonpharmacologic therapies are preferred for treating chronic pain. In addition, the National Pain Strategy, an initiative by several federal agencies, recognizes chiropractic’s value as a method for pain management.
Article written and published by the American Chiropractic Association