Government officials are finally speaking up about the growing epidemic of opioid use. Opioid abuse is more common than people realize. We commonly see patients bring a typed up list of their medications and they're still in pain. Utilizing non-pharmacological treatments first, such as chiropractic care as an alternative to opioids, can have a marked effect on this growing epidemic.
Opioids help with pain: at first. They're easy and most of us just want a quick fix. However they do nothing but mask pain signals that the body is sending for a reason. Continued use becomes less and less effective and more and more dangerous. Chiropractic care, combined with physical therapy, helps many patients manage or eliminate chronic pain. Using the newest technology, such as computerized adjusting instruments, vibration therapy and regenerative medicine therapies, we are able to help most of our patients reduce or eliminate use of prescription opioids. The problem is that many primary care doctors and patients are not educated on the healing potential of these therapies. In an attempt to change the current treatments models, the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) issued new opioid guidelines to physicians in 2017. The very first guideline is recommending alternative therapies first. "Non-pharmacologic therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred for chronic pain. Clinicians should consider opioid therapy only if expected benefits for both pain and function are anticipated to outweigh risks to the patient. If opioids are used, they should be combined with non-pharmacologic therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy, as appropriate."https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/guidelines_factsheet-a.pdf Hopefully these new guidelines will encourage physicians and patients alike to investigate alternative treatment options. Baby boomers are still the largest population segment.Ai?? With more and more either on Medicare or reaching Medicare age, the government is also looking closely at chiropractic care being used as the first line of treatment for low back and neck pain.
Also worth a read is this November 2017 article in US News and World Report.https://www.usnews.com/news/healthcare-of-tomorrow/articles/2017-11-21/alternative-pain-therapies-could-aid-efforts-to-quell-opioid-crisis-but-barriers-to-treatment-remain
In another great move, the Ohio Attorney General, lawmakers and chiropractors held a press conference to suggest alternative treatments first to combat opioid abuse http://www.wsaz.com/content/news/Ohio-lawmakers-doctors-suggest-chiropractic-care-instead-of-opioids-477447883.html Currently the focus in the "Opioid Epidemic" is still on how to treat patients who are currently addicted. Oddly enough, the method is often treating them with other drugs. The focus should be a two prong approach, with making sure that the medical community does everything and anything they can to prevent patients from becoming addicted in the first place, as well as treating patients who are already in the difficult position of being addicted to prescription medications.