Author: Michael Melton No Comments Share:
We’re all aware of the serious problem in the US with opiate addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 115 Americans die from opiate overdoses each day (about 43,000 a year), and we spend about $78 billion on the total costs of opiate abuse. Opioid addiction is crippling our economy and many communities.
Many people who become addicted to opiates are first introduced to them by doctors who prescribe them for chronic pain. A recent study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that 60% of opioid overdoses first used these drugs when given a prescription for chronic, non-cancer pain: 59% of those patients were prescribed painkillers for chronic back pain and 24% were for chronic headache.
In summary: 36% of people who died from opioid overdoses were first given a narcotic because they had back pain.
Chiropractic: Working with the Root Cause of PainChiropractic takes a different approach to pain by working to help the body repair the root cause of the problem rather than simply masking the symptoms, like opiates do. Remember: painkillers don’t repair injuries or damaged tissue; they simply stop the brain from processing pain, leaving the underlying problem. If the problem isn’t treated and the normal function isn’t restored to the body, the pain will return.
Numerous studies have found that chiropractic care is equally (or even more) effective than medical care for a variety of pain conditions, including back pain, sciatica, headache, and scoliosis. And since chiropractors don’t prescribe drugs or perform surgery, patients who get adjustments don’t have to worry about the negative side effects that come with these treatments…including addiction.
Even the American Medical Association has acknowledged that chiropractic adjustments should be a course of treatment before surgery is considered for back pain.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has also seen the benefits of chiropractic care in the treatment of pain and, over the last few years, dramatically increased the utilization of chiropractic for veterans.
Chiropractic Patients Use Fewer OpiatesNow a new study1 from the VA looked at the relationship between chiropractic care and opioid consumption in returning veterans. In this study, the researchers looked at the health records of 14,000 individuals who had received at least one chiropractic adjustment. The authors found:
“The percentage of veterans receiving opioid prescriptions was lower in each of the three 30-day time frames assessed after the index chiropractic visit than before. Our work did not attempt to assess causation or otherwise explain this observation. Veterans may have been referred to chiropractic care as part of an opioid taper plan, or those who agreed to chiropractic care may have been inherently less likely to seek opioid prescriptions. However, it is also possible that the delivery of chiropractic care may have been a substitute for opioid use in our sample, which raises interesting research, policy, and practice considerations as the VA continues to expand chiropractic services. This is particularly relevant in light of other work that has shown a negative correlation between chiropractic use and opioid use in private sector populations.”
This is not the first study to show that chiropractic patients are less likely to use opiates.
Written by: Michael Melton on September 16, 2018.Modified on September 23, 2018.