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Chiropractic Care –A Viable Alternative To Opioids

Chiropractic Care  is A Viable Alternative To Opioids

Before we actually get into the main body of this article, we should take a few minutes to rethink the meaning of the word ‘opioid’. Sure, you could use the word drugs, but that wouldn’t cover exactly what opioids are.

So, basically the term is pretty diverse. Opioids mean everything from your typical painkillers prescribed for back pain to illegal drugs smuggled from Afghanistan.

What is the Real Reason Behind Opioid Use?

If we roll back a decade or two, people used drugs purely for the pleasure. It wasn’t for any medical reason, it was purely to get high. There are millions doing the same today as well, but a lot of addicts are actually hooked on stuff you could get from your local pharmacy. All you need is a doctor’s prescription and voila! You have an endless supply of those yummy painkillers.

But, there’s another aspect to this as well. There’s a small population out there that doesn’t really use opioids for fun or because they got addicted to them after some chronic pain. They get addicted to drugs because they don’t have a choice. They need to pop those painkillers every few hours or their pain becomes unbearable. And, when they’re taken off their painkillers, their withdrawal is much worse than any addict’s. So, if you’re also someone being forced to use pills for pain, then chiropractic care is just what you’re looking for.

Do We Really Need to Replace Opioids?

Yes, opioids do the job pretty well. But, that does not mean that they’re a good way to get rid of pain. If you look at the numbers, they’re extremely alarming. According to a research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[1], more than 33,000 people died from opioid use in 2015 alone. A great portion of these deaths were caused by regular prescription drugs. And, on average, these prescription drugs that take the lives  of 91 Americans every day.

The American College of Physicians has posted several guidelines recommending drug-free measures to counter pain. In their study, they recorded that the first line approach should be drug-free solutions. They suggest opioids only when absolutely nothing else is working. And, when they were asked what the most effective drug-free treatment was, their reply was chiropractic care.

How Can Chiropractic Care Help?

Chiropractic care is absolutely game changing and the research is there. A recent study named The Association between Utilization of Chiropractic Services and Use of Prescription Opioids Among Patients With Low Back Pain[2] recorded the relation between chiropractic care and prescription opioids in residents of New Hampshire suffering from back pain. This state was picked because medical data was easily accessible and the place is known to have a high percentage of opioids addiction. In 2015, the state had the second highest rate of ODs in the United States.

The research looked at insurance claims from the database provided by the Department of Health and Human Services of New Hampshire. Patients from the age of 18-99 had at least two clinical visits due to complaints of back pain in a three month period. Patients with cancer were not a part of this study.

The next step was to categorize the people that used chiropractic care; the Recipients and the ones that didn’t, Non-Recipients. The study analyzed 13,384 subjects that were divided into these two groups. Then, the data was compiled for 2013-2014 and the numbers are pretty convincing.

  • 19% of Recipients used prescription drugs while 35% of Non-Recipients did the same.
  • The cost of opioids used by the Recipients was 74% less than Non-Recipients that did the same.
  • At the same time, the annual cost for clinical services utilized by Recipients was 78% less than Non-Recipients.

The research concluded that New Hampshire residents between the ages of 18-99 suffering from back pain were 55% more likely to use chiropractic care instead of relying on opioid prescription.

Aside from the science, chiropractic care doesn’t just get rid of the pain. It increases the overall quality of your life tremendously. Here are a few other benefits of chiropractic care.
  • Getting proper chiropractic care has the same effect on blood pressure as high blood pressure medications[3].
  • Chiropractors can help alleviate all types of neck and lower back pain.
  • Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves abnormally. This can limit your movement and even cause breathing problems sometimes. There aren’t many options for scoliosis, but chiropractic care is one of the only therapies that have been effective.
  • Sciatica is a condition where a certain nerve is damaged or pressure. The condition is practically the same thing as when you sleep on one arm and wake up with it being completely numb. Chiropractic care can help get a lot of this pressure off of the nerves and allow it to function appropriately.
  • Greatly reduces inflammation in all parts of the body.
  • Migraines are often caused as the mind’s response to chronic pain somewhere else in the body. By getting rid of those pains, you’ll be getting rid of those migraines too.
  • Vertigo is a condition common after a head injury or concussion. The pain might go away, but it takes a permanent toll on your balance. Meaning that you recover completely, but still stumble a little bit from the aftermath of the concussion, called vertigo. Once again, there aren’t solutions for vertigo patients, but chiropractic has been seen to improve balance by a tenfold.

The Final Verdict – Opioids or Chiropractors?

Any way you think about it, opioids are not a good option. They cost a lot more monetarily, they take a toll on your mental and emotional health as well as worry the people around you. If you’re taking pills solely for pain management, give chiropractic care a shot. It has worked for millions of others and just maybe it will work for you.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29470104

[3] https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20070316/chiropractic-cuts-blood-pressure#1