Addressing the Opioid Crisis through Chiropractic Pain Management

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The CDC reports that over 15,000 people in the U.S. died from prescription opioid overdoses in 2015. Opioids are commonly used to treat pain. However, some people can get addicted to them. Every day, 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. for misusing prescription opioids. Opioids can be a dangerous way to treat pain. Chiropractic care and alternative medicine provide another option.

A recent study in New Hampshire looked at the relationship between opioid use and chiropractic treatment for back pain. 33,000 cases were analyzed. WMUR reports:

“His preliminary research is indicating that there’s about a 56-57 percent reduction in opioid use when chiropractic care has been utilized in a patients treatment.”

This finding does not imply that chiropractic care can resolve pain in the same way as an opioid drug. However, reducing the need for opioids is a positive effect. It’s the overdose of opioids that is dangerous. A carefully constructed pain plan that incorporates both the use of chiropractic care and opioids could prove to be a safe and effective option for some patients.

Chiropractors and other alternative medicine practitioners can also provide another benefit to pain sufferers, the ability to live with the pain. Opioids are intended to cover up or mask the pain. Naturopaths and some chiropractors work with patients to accept some level of pain. Statnews reports on a naturopath in Maryland who says “…her job isn’t always to cure a patient’s pain — it’s to help patients see that their pain won’t always be unrelenting and oppressive, and to help them gain control.”

Alternative medicine can also provide some non-addictive pain relief options, like castor oil. Massage therapy can also be a good choice for pain sufferers. A chronic pain sufferer can benefit from using a variety of pain relief sources. James Fite, profiled in Statnews, “uses roll-on castor oil, sticks to an anti-inflammatory diet, and also receives massage therapy. Other times, he takes opioids.”

His experience lines up with the recent findings of the New Hampshire study. Alternative medicine can decrease the need for opioid use. It doesn’t relieve the pain entirely, nor negate the need for the occasional opioid use. However, a pain plan that utilizes treatments other than opiods gives patients options. A bad pain day might be relieved by a massage therapy session rather than another pain pill. It is likely that the incorporation of alternative medicine can reduce the risk of overdose. Patients are simply not as reliant on the pills (though they still may need them occasionally).

To develop a unique pain treatment plan that could reduce reliance on opioids, schedule an appointment at Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness.

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