Holistic Approaches for People Using Opioids for Back Pain

What are Opioids and How Serious of a problem is it.

Opioid medications are strong painkillers like: Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Fetanyl. They are made to resemble opiates like morphine and heroin to provide temporary relief for moderate-to-severe pain following surgery or injury, or for health conditions such as cancer. Although, these medications have their place, there has been a dramatic increase in prescriptions of opioids for the treatment of chronic, non-cancer related pain.

“More than half of “regular” prescription opioid users have back pain.” (Sullivan, et. Al; PAIN, 2005)

As a result, the over-prescribing of these dangerous medications has lead to addiction issues. As a result, Opioids have become the most prescribed class of medications in the United States resulting in 165,000 deaths between 1999 and 2014.

“We Know of no other medication routinely used for non-fatal conditions that kill patients so frequently.” (Tom Frieden, MD (CDC Director); New England Journal of Med, March 2016.)

In addition to the serious risks of addiction, abuse, and overdose, the use of prescription opioids can have a number of side effects, even when taken as directed. According to an article in the CDC, side effects can include:

  • Tolerance—meaning you might need to take more of the medication for the same pain relief
  • Physical dependence—meaning you have symptoms of withdrawal when the medication is stopped
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Constipation
  • Nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth
  • Sleepiness and dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Low levels of testosterone that can result in lower sex drive, energy, and strength
  • Itching and sweating

The Impact of Chiropractic and other approaches for people with Opioid approaches.

In an article by the Washington State Chiropractic Association (AKA WSCA) Dr. Lorri Nichols, DC points to strong research dating as far back as the 1990’s on the efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic lower back pain. When combined with other drugless approaches like: naturopathy, acupuncture, massage, nutrition and stress relief techniques, this has resulted in:

  • 86% fewer opioid prescriptions,
  • 44% reduction in opioid use
  • 63% fewer overall prescriptions and
  • 61% fewer ER visits.

The Chiropractic profession has been paramount to people with opioid dependency because of their conviction to a drugless approach to healthcare. In addition to alleviating symptoms, Chiropractors see the symptoms as the bodies natural expression of imbalance in the body. Instead of hiding that expression with Opioid drugs, Chiropractors will help people find and the cause of the imbalance. At Color Chiropractic, we may look at

  • Old or persistent injuries
  • Imbalances in the way a person walks
  • Problems in the feet, pelvis, knees, neck and even shoulders
  • Nutritional imbalances (Specifically imbalances related to the production of natural anti-inflammatories)
  • Emotional patterns (particularly those related to fear)
  • And more….

If you or someone you know is suffering from Chronic pain, you owe it to yourselves to explore natural and alternative approaches. This one act will help you avoid multiple issues inherent to the dark road of dependency and addiction to Opioid drugs. Natural solutions are available.

Remember, life is always better when you live it in full color,
Drs. Richard Tran and Michelle Hsu, DC (Clinic Directors)

P.S. If you’re a Veteran suffering from an Opioid Crisis or addiction, there’s hope. Explore the Veteran’s Choice Program and discover how you might be able to get the care you need from Alternative Medical Providers at no cost to you.

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