The painkiller epidemic and you, how our nation got into trouble with Opioids and how you can avoid the chronic pain cycle.
Chronic pain; millions of people experience this phenomenon and yet, few actually get the help they require. Opioids was a solution to this problem with a bad side effect; not unlike heroin, people were becoming addicted to these drugs. The drug reps did a great job of selling doctors on the idea of this miracle pain reliever, without truly understanding the problem they were creating. Now, even President Obama is trying to get the government involved in helping us solve a problem the medical profession created that will not go away.
Part of the problem is that most medical doctors were and are poorly equipped to understand why people hurt, and pain management clinics were merely amplifying this misunderstanding, while inadvertently causing addictions to the people they attempted to help. Misunderstanding why people hurt and then treating something they do not understand that requires the constant use of an addictive and dangerous substance is not a cure, and merely creates an unhealthy dependence. The idea of managing pain is absurd, since pain is a manifestation, a symptom, but rarely is the problem.
The chiropractic profession is being looked at more often by a public who has become tired of taking pain relievers that have side effects and do not improve the quality of their life. Misnaming the condition with terms such as Fibromyalgia has not helped, since the classification is merely the path to another drug that is designed to mask the fact they are in pain, and may even suffer disability and even mental fatigue from a problem that does not really improve.
There is a growing body of knowledge that is suggesting that most chronic pain, whether it be back, neck, shoulder or pelvic pain may be a movement problem. Perhaps, this is why so many patients who see their chiropractor get relief; the chiropractic profession through manipulation and myofascial release improves motion along with exercises.
With the growing body of evidence supporting the chiropractic approach as a way to improve chronic pain of many types, why aren’t doctors recommending chiropractic more often to their patients? The big idea here is that a holistic body approach, vs. the piecemeal approach often used by most medical practitioners and even physical therapists has shown that chiropractors according to Consumer Reports have high levels of satisfaction when compared to other methods for pain relief. With the increased emphasis on reducing the abilities of doctors to recommend addictive medications such as opioids, doctors need to improve and create relationships with chiropractors who can help their patients, with cost effective drug free methods that work.
Here is a wonderful explanation of how we got into this mess in the first place.
America’s painkiller epidemic, explained
The Week Staff
How many people are dying?
A record 47,000 Americans fatally overdosed in 2014, a 7 percent increase over the previous year. That’s about 1.5 times as many as died in car crashes or in gun violence. This epidemic isn’t being driven by illicit drugs, but by a surge in the use of prescription opioid painkillers. Nearly 1.9 million Americans now abuse or are dependent on legal opioids, according to government statistics. And last year 19,000 people fatally overdosed on prescription painkillers “” up 16 percent from 2013. Addiction experts say doctors have fueled this crisis by recommending that patients with even minor ailments and aches take highly addictive opioids like Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin. Physicians wrote 259 million opioid prescriptions in 2012, triple the number two decades ago and enough to provide every adult in the country with a bottle of these pills. “We have now this incredibly unusual public health crisis,” says substance-abuse expert Meldon Kahan, “that’s essentially caused by physicians.”
Why do doctors prescribe opioids?
Opium poppy”“based drugs are one of the world’s oldest numbing painkillers. Laudanum has been used as an analgesic since the 1500s, and heroin was sold in the U.S. to treat menstrual pain until the 1920s, when Congress banned the drug because of its highly addictive qualities. When semisynthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone “” found in Percocet and Vicodin respectively “” were first approved in the mid”“20th century, they were recommended only for managing pain during terminal illnesses such as cancer, or for acute short-term pain, like recovery from surgery, to ensure patients wouldn’t get addicted. But in the 1990s, doctors came under increasing pressure to use opioids to treat the millions of Americans suffering from chronic nonmalignant conditions, like back pain and osteoarthritis. Influential New York”“based pain specialist Dr. Russell Portenoy helped lead the campaign: He claimed prescription opioids were a “gift from nature,” and assured his fellow doctors “” based on a 1986 study of only 38 patients “” that fewer than 1 percent of long-term users became addicted. Purdue Pharma, a major pharmaceutical company, made similar claims.