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Opioid Epidemic

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Categories:  General Chiropractic

If you have watched the news at all in the past couple years, you have probably seen reports on the recent opioid epidemic. In the US, more than 130 people die every day from opioid use. The staggering aspect of this fact is that only 60% of those deaths are from illicit opioids such as heroin, and 80% of those who use heroin began by abusing prescription opioids such as morphine, codeine and fetanyl. With this rapid increase in opioid addiction and death, healthcare professionals and the government are frantically searching for alternatives to alleviating chronic pain to combat the epidemic. One of those alternatives is chiropractic care.

Opioids are highly-addictive drugs produced from the poppy plant or synthetically to alleviate pain in those suffering from chronic conditions or post-surgery. They work by mimicking the action of opiate-like substances your body produces that block pain and lead to feelings of euphoria. You may be wondering, well if the body make these chemicals already, how can they be so bad for you? The major difference is your body produces only the amount of opiate-like substance it needs to maintain its homeostasis. Taking exogenous opiates, or those not produced in your body, can lead to dependence, tolerance, addiction and a decrease in your body’s natural production, thus requiring you to take more to achieve the same effects. When people stop using exogenous opioids, or decrease the amount they take, the body goes into withdrawal and patients can experience symptoms of anxiety, irritability, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, among others.

Due to the highly addictive nature of opioids, doctors are searching for safer and more effective forms of treatment for pain conditions. Opioids and other pain drugs merely mask the symptoms of a condition rather than correcting the cause. While they have a place in medicine, other treatments can be more beneficial. Chiropractic is one of these treatments that can identify and correct the cause of chronic and acute pain conditions. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends seeking chiropractic and alternative medicines as the first line treatment for uncomplicated low back pain. With its efficacy becoming more apparent in the research, medical doctors are turning to chiropractic as an option for their patients’ ailments. Dr. Josh Watkins and Dr. Lindsey Hurlbut at Watkins Family Chiropractic are trained and experienced in identifying and treating skeletal complaints. Schedule your visit today to see how they can help you!

 

Link to ACPs recent low back pain recommendations: https://www.acponline.org/acp-newsroom/american-college-of-physicians-issues-guideline-for-treating-nonradicular-low-back-pain

Link to stats about the opioid epidemic: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

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