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Chiropractic Care As an Alternative To Opioid Use

As the evidence continues to mount, showing the risks and dangers associated with use of opioids for pain management, the American Chiropractic Association sends out a message of caution to patients and healthcare providers that urges all parties to discontinue their use.

Recent medical reports show that the increasing use of opioids leads to unforeseen consequences like higher tolerance, to formerly helpful drugs like hydrocodone. Negative treatment outcomes for procedures that treat work-related musculoskeletal disorders, like joint replacements and spine surgery, are also caused by opioid usage. 

These problems are added to an already well documented history of difficulties associated with addiction and overuse of these drugs that merely numb the pain, leading patients to mistakenly feel like their musculoskeletal pain is diminishing or has gone away. The dangers of this lie in overexertion and consequent postponement of the healing process due the masking of the painful symptoms. This can cause permanent, irrevocable injury in the worst case scenario. 

The US has become the worlds largest user of opioids at 80% and orthopedic surgeons are responsible for many of these prescriptions, with primary care physicians and internists also adding to the problem. The solution lies in the continued management of pain with alternative resources, while implementing measures to reduce the epidemic of opioid overuse. 

One strategy with potential is increased use of chiropractic care which focuses on spinal manipulation, exercise, and stretching to relive back pain. The quality of this sort of treatment in comparison to opioid prescription is gaining wider recognition in the medical establishment. In fact, a commission which overlooks the general practice standards for health care clinics and hospitals in the US revised the pain management standards to include chiropractic care. This means that over 20,000 clinics and every hospital in the US must now offer chiropractic services for their patients struggling to manage pain. 

While this doesn’t rule out pharmacologic interventions, like opioid prescription, entirely it does offer a viable alternative that is non-invasive and natural. This gives patients the opportunity to make a choice between risking a dangerous addiction to opioid prescriptions that can furthermore complicate the use of other medications and surgical procedures, or have their pain be managed with conservative, natural methods that don’t have a major negative impact on the body’s systems. Moreover, in comparison to opioids, chiropractic care is more cost-effective because continued dependence on pills adds up over time.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Christian Schnettelker

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