Opioid Epidemic.

There is a new wave of drug use that has been sweeping the nation. It is apparent in every demographic in the United States. As the Center of Disease Control (CDC) reports, “overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and so have sales of these prescription drugs. From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids.” Rates of over dose were highest among people aged 25 to 54 years, and non-Hispanic whites. Men also have higher mortality rates from opioid overdose, though the rates for women have been quickly rising. 

The most commonly prescribed opiod drugs involved in overdoses are: 

  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone 
  • Hydrocodone

Opioid Overdose Data

However, the risks of opioid use go beyond the potential for addiction and overdose. Numbing the pain may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is or that it has healed. This may lead to overuse of the ligament or even permanent damage. Chiropractic approaches to pain management can be an important first line of defense against pain and addiction. As healthcare has come to realize the severity of the epidemic and seen the dangers of opioid medicine, more physicians are going to chiropractors as their first line of defense. A randomized controlled study found that heat therapy, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation were better non-invasive, non-drug therapies for pain. The researchers suggest that pain medication can have limited pain-relief effects and should be used as a last resort.

American College of Physicians (ACP) recently updated its guidelines in 2017 for the treatment of acute and chronic low back pain to recommend first using non-invasive, non-drug treatments before resorting to drug therapies, based on the trials findings.


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