The opioid crisis in America is front page news on a daily basis. It is increasingly less hidden as prescribing practices, treatment options, and government support all come under scrutiny. Legitimately prescribed medications for legitimate pain are the basis of 80% of the opioid prescriptions written. The majority of opioids are used for back/spine pain of which chiropractic care is specifically and uniquely trained to address. With only an estimated 7% of the US population utilizing chiropractic care, with a chiropractor relies on, but rate of opioid associated deaths far surpassing those of motor vehicle accidents, it is time to get the word out.
Research is continuing to uncover that the effects of opioids is not just compartmentalized to the source of the pain. Opioids when used long term, which is the case when addiction occurs, leads to poor quality of life all around. This includes higher rates of mental illness which is subsequently skyrocketing in the US as well. When it comes to general low back pain as well as herniated discs, sciatica, degenerative discs, and other pain related musculoskeletal issues, chiropractic care is not just low risk, but it reduced the risk factors for other acute and chronic diseases. Back pain is most often caused by improper and repetitive biomechanical movements. Lack of exercise, poor food quality, high stress levels and inadequate sleep, further impede the body’s amazing ability to heal.
Chiropractic is well established in increasing immunity, sense of well being, anxiety, depression, etc. The foundation of chiropractic are is spine alignment through manual adjustment. Not only does this physically align the spine for body movements to move correctly, but it also aligns the nerves in the spine. Every organ system in our body has nerves that originate from the spine. When the spine is not aligned, nerve signalling is impaired. When nerve signalling is impaired, every organ suffers.
There is not one solution for the opioid crisis in America. It must be attacked on all fronts. If more people utilizing the time-tested treatment of spinal alignment from chiropractic care results in fewer prescriptions of opioid medications, then part of the solution has been found. Even aside from issues surrounding opioid use, chiropractic care is a more cost effective approach to pain with better short and long term results than pain medications and surgery. Chiropractic care should be the first line therapy for back pain, as well as any other musculoskeletal related pain.