Fighting The War On The Opioid Epidemic.
Opioid prescriptions have nearly quadrupled over the past 20 years, despite the fact that the amount of pain Americans report hasn’t changed. Unsurprisingly, the number of prescription opioid overdose deaths have increased similarly – opioid use claimed the lives of 64,000 people last year.
Experts refer to this explosion in use as the opioid epidemic, and it’s been labeled as a national emergency by the federal government. President Trump has even called the opioid epidemic the “worst drug crisis in history.”
What’s even more unfortunate is the fact that while most opiate drugs are prescribed for musculoskeletal pain, the CDC reports that there is not enough evidence that opioids can significantly improve chronic pain, function, or quality of life. Moreover, as many as 1 in 4 patients who receive prescription opioids long-term struggle with addiction.
So any strategy that can alleviate pain without the use of drugs carries the potential to save or improve hundreds of thousands of lives every year. The good news is that new research out of Dartmouth College has indicated that chiropractic may be a major part of that strategy going forward.
The study, which analyzed 33,000 adults with back pain, showed that individuals who utilized chiropractic care were able to reduce their use of opioid drugs by 57% compared to patients who did not see a chiropractor. That’s a huge difference!
Chiropractic First: A Common-Sense Approach
It reaffirms what our patients at Ascent Chiropractic have known forever: improving the structure of the spine and function of the nervous system leads to pain reduction, improved movement, and increased function.
There’s no doubt a time and a place for medication, but the risks need to be considered before jumping in haphazardly. Appropriately, last year the American College of Physicians updated its guidelines for the treatment of acute and chronic low back pain to recommend first using non-invasive, non-drug treatments (including chiropractic spinal manipulation) before resorting to drug therapies. Only when such treatments provide little or no relief should patients move on to medicines such as ibuprofen or muscle relaxants, which research indicates have limited pain-relief effects. Prescription opioids should only be a last resort for those suffering from low back pain. Even then, according to the guidelines, the risk of addiction and overdose may outweigh the benefits.
Everyone deserves to live comfortably in their own body without pain. At Ascent Chiropractic we aim to provide relief from pain by correcting to the underlying cause and restoring optimal function of the body naturally.
When the cause is addressed, the effects disappear. Pain is an effect. We’re not here just to address pain or put a band-aid on it, instead we recognize it as a signal of an underlying problem that needs to be corrected.
Part of being smart with your healthcare is weighing the risks and benefits. Thanks for being smart and sharing this post with the people you care about. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that the results we get at Ascent Chiropractic are second to none. If you have friends or family who could benefit from what we do, we truly appreciate the trust you put in us! To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.
Whedon, J. Platform and poster presentation abstracts. The Journal of Chiropractic Education. 2017;31(1):29-83. doi:10.7899/JCE-16-18.