Pain is the 6th vital sign campaign was the tool used to market opioids; chiropractic can safely help you feel better.

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If you saw the series Dopesick on Hulu or had heard about the Opioid crisis and how it happened, you know about the pain is the 5th vital sign campaign used to sell the drugs to patients in pain.

In marketing, developing a catchy easy way to recommend pain medication-using charts was brilliant.  Medical physicians having had poor training in evaluating and treating musculoskeletal pain now had criteria for prescribing opioids.    Having the profession prioritize pain control in the 1960s paved the way for the development of pain management as a profession.

You couldn't have an opioid crisis without medical providers prescribing it.   You then had great sales techniques such as hiring an expert to tell doctors that the signs of medication addiction were actually indications the patient needed higher doses.  Then you lobbied the FDA to approve language that made prescription of higher doses easier.

Perdue Pharma was ruthless in its marketing efforts and they paid off for them.  Unfortunately, Medicine as a profession was wholly unqualified to understand why you hurt, but using a pain chart, they had criteria to prescribe opioids.   The rest of the story has cost us many loved ones and society is now spending billions to treat addiction.

Did we learn anything from this?

Medicine moved to other pain-relieving drugs that were not addictive and have their own side effects.   Patients are taking these medications for pain relief while their problems are becoming more chronic.   As people's bodies are damaged over time by problems they don't understand, joint replacement or surgeries to the joints of the spine are a long-term result.  Prevention is impossible without the recognition that this approach is expensive and results in a poor quality of life years later.

Apparently, many doctors are still recommending care protocols that are disproven such as medication, x-ray, or MRI to diagnose and then referrals to higher-level providers who are going to do a procedure, rather than recommend you to a holistic provider.  This ignores the recommendations by the Annals of Internal Medicine for back pain in February of 2017 which are applicable to most problems in the musculoskeletal system.

Chiropractors can help solve the opioid crisis, so why aren't doctors using them?    

The medical-industrial complex consists of hospital systems, provider practices they purchased, drug companies, and health insurers that continue to make cost-effective drug-free care expensive instead of a priority.  All of these systems are thriving while private practices are dwindling in number reducing needed competition in our expensive healthcare systems.

Insurers have raised copayments and created tiered plans that make expensive care cheaper and less expensive alternatives more expensive while many systems consolidated as a result.   They have created precertification programs that limit care and push the cost to the patients who need it the most while limiting medically necessary care.   They have many of us having to satisfy high deductibles before the insurer ever pays a dime. Those with copayments are now paying much more per visit that is incompatible with rehab or chiropractic.  On the other hand, we are all paying through the nose for insurance coverage that makes affordable options unaffordable.

Hospital systems during covid-19 showed that they were unprofitable when elective surgeries were unable to be performed, which include hip and knee replacements which are preventable with appropriate care when the patients are younger.   Instead of appropriate care, patients with joint pain are sent to joint specialists who either prescribe medication for the pain they don't understand or order tests that are often expensive and increase risks and costs unnecessarily. They then refer most of their patients to physical therapy directed at the pain rather than the mechanism causing it. As practices become more multispecialty in hospital systems, the object is to feed the system so instead of primary care figuring out your problem, care is segmented, making more visits and more costs necessary.  In the end, as problems worsen, procedures are recommended to fuel their bottom line.

Drug companies in the USA have been very successful at making the USA the largest user of pharmaceuticals in the world. They have been great at lobbying and convincing us to pay far more than the rest of the world for these medications.   Every new disease or symptom has a new drug developed for it.  Do we need all of these drugs?   When it comes to pain management, they continually develop new drugs for the population to consume as the practice of medicine looks to satisfy the need for pain relief for problems they poorly understand.

Chiropractic has many of the answers to chronic and acute pain, yet few doctors have embraced this cost-effective care.

Primary care used to be where your problems were evaluated and referrals to excess specialists were avoided.   Medical primary care was always lacking for the care of the musculoskeletal system.  Chiropractic sports physicians have fulfilled with niche with the primary spine approach to care.

A chiropractor will perform a holistic history and exam on you while evaluating your problems.   Your knee pain may commonly have a foot or pelvis or upper body origin, yet the orthopedic to who you are referred only looks at your knee.   You may have other complaints that are related but have figured out how to live with them.   Your chiropractor will dig for facts and then evaluate you rather than just the symptom.

If you have doubts that this makes sense, please go to the park and look at the people walking.  See if you can find a knee walking in the park.  You will see people who have knees walking, some of them are swaying side to side while others have a slight limp they may not even recognize.   While it is unlikely you will ask everyone who is walking how they are feeling, chiropractors are the detectives of the musculoskeletal system.   To properly diagnose problems that are mechanical that are movement-based, you must evaluate people, dig for facts through a good history and then perform a thorough musculoskeletal evaluation.

Chiropractic treatment can include myofascial release, exercises, and manipulation of the spinal and pelvic joints and extremities to improve how you move.  More chronic problems can be more time-consuming as years of compensation leads to chronic pain and even joint damage.

Foot orthotics may be recommended if needed to improve gait and level the pelvis.   Depending on your situation, it may require a series of visits to resolve the reason you hurt.  If done right, you may resolve your main complaint and a number of others that you have tolerated for years.

If needed, chiropractors will refer you for the appropriate medical test or provider or both.

Problems chiropractors treat effectively include:

  • Knee pain.
  • Plantar Fasciitis,
  • Ankle Pain.
  • Hip pain.
  • Groin pain.
  • Mid-back pain.
  • Rib pain.
  • Lower back pain.
  • Shoulder problems such as impingement or tendonitis or frozen shoulder.
  • Jaw problems.
  • Ear pain.
  • Vertigo.
  • Neck pain.
  • Headaches.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, elbow pain, and wrist pain.

These problems are often resolved with chiropractic care which can avoid expensive tests, medications, and management by multiple providers. Do you wish to understand why people hurt, read the book Cheating Mother Nature: what you need to know to beat chronic pain. available through and other fine booksellers.

Keep it simple for pain relief and feel better in as little as one visit.   The more you understand healthcare, the more likely you will visit a chiropractor first for painful conditions. Book online here.