In the last decade, opiate addiction and overdoses have reached epidemic proportions across the U.S. and in Florida. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that an estimated 43,000 people in the U.S. die from opiate overdoses every year. Annually, opiate abuse costs an average of $78 billion.
Many people who become addicted to opioid medications initially are prescribed the drugs by their doctors for the treatment of chronic pain that is unrelated to cancer. The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study that found that 60 percent of people who overdosed on opiates were first prescribed the drugs for non-cancer pain, and 59 percent of those patients were initially prescribed opiates to treat low back pain. A new VA study reveals that chiropractic care may help people to avoid taking opioid medications as a natural and drug-free treatment alternative.
The approach of chiropractic treatment
When doctors prescribe opioid medications to people who are suffering from chronic pain, they are not treating the underlying cause of the pain. Instead, opioid medications work by blocking the pain signals from reaching the brain. The underlying cause such as damaged tissue or misalignment is not treated. Over time, you can become dependent on opioid medications and require more to provide you with the same degree of pain relief. Many people become addicted to opioids and may begin to take more than the amount that they are prescribed.
Chiropractic treatment takes a different approach to treating pain. Instead of simply treating the symptoms, chiropractic care is focused on identifying and treating the underlying cause of the pain. It can offer people a natural, drug-free alternative to taking prescription opiates. A recent study that was conducted by the VA demonstrates that getting chiropractic care might reduce the likelihood of seeking prescriptions of narcotic pain-relieving medications.
The VA study
The VA was interested in analyzing returning veterans and their use of prescription opioids versus getting chiropractic treatments. The researchers analyzed the medical records of 14,000 veterans who had returned from overseas combat zones and who had received one or more chiropractic adjustments. The researchers found several things from their review. Veterans who had received chiropractic adjustments were much less likely to use opiates than veterans who did not receive chiropractic care. Thirty-three percent of the veterans who received a chiropractic adjustment were prescribed opiates within six months. Veterans were likelier to receive prescriptions for opiates if they suffered from depression, PTSD, or moderate to severe pain.
The authors noted that they did not study the reason for their findings. For example, they indicated that some of the veterans may have been referred by their doctors to chiropractic treatment as a part of a program to taper them off of opioid medications. They also stated that people who opted for chiropractic care may have been less likely to want opioid medications. However, the authors also stated that the chiropractic care that the veterans received may have provided a good substitute for narcotic pain medications, reducing the use of the prescription medications by the veterans who received adjustments.
Getting chiropractic care from Absolute Health Chiropractic in Gainesville
Chiropractic care is an effective alternative to pain medications. It can help to reduce pain while also allowing people to avoid prescription narcotics that do not treat the underlying cause of their symptoms. If you suffer from a chronic pain condition, chiropractic care might be a better option for you to try instead of asking your doctor for a prescription of opiates. To learn more about how chiropractic care can help you, contact Absolute Health Chiropractic in Gainesville to schedule an appointment by calling us at (352) 377-7373.
Chiropractor Dr. Haines | Absolute Health Chiropractic | 2720 NW 6th St #1 | Gainesville, FL 32609 | (352) 377-7373 | Map & Directions