Chiropractic care for all types of pain helps reduce the need for addictive pain medications.
Every October chiropractic clinics around the country celebrate their trade during National Chiropractic Health Month, (NCHM). In 2022 the theme for NCHM is Chiropractic: On the Frontline for Pain. While chiropractors clearly understand the benefits of chiropractic care for pain management, the decision to focus this year’s NCHM on pain management highlights the continued need to make the public and health care providers aware of other options for pain management. Opioid and other pain medication is still being abused at an alarming rate and overdose death numbers are staggering. Knowing that there are other solutions to pain in the front end could help greatly reduce the number of pain medication prescriptions given out. Added awareness on the types of pain that chiropractors can help with would also help in the fight against pain medication addiction and abuse.
In 2020, 143 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in the US, and that startling number does not account for non-opioid based prescription pain medication. According to the National Institution on Drug Abuse, 2018 saw 46,802 deaths by opioids and by 2020 that number had risen to 68,630. Educating the public about chiropractic pain relief methods has reached an urgent and critical level. Research shows that chiropractic care, and other non-drug related approaches, should be the first approach when dealing with musculoskeletal or muscular pain.
According to the American Academy on Pain, chronic pain puts a strain on public health and affects Americans more than cancer, diabetes, and heart disease combined. Chronic lower back pain is the most common type of chronic pain and while all the statistics show a rise in Medicare expenses for lower back pain, such as pain medication, MRIs, epidural injections, and even surgeries, it does not show an accompanying improved outcome for the same group of people. All of this is testimony to the urgency of producing pain care solutions that are not addictive or highly invasive yet yield unreliable results.
While back pain stays the number one reason people initially visit a chiropractor, there are many other pain management techniques and treatments available through chiropractic care. Some of the most common, including back pain, are listed below.
- Headaches – chiropractic care with headaches is one of the fastest growth areas in chiropractic clinics. Evidence is showing that even migraine frequency can be reduced with proper chiropractic care. A variety of options are available to alleviate headaches including manual or soft tissue treatment and/or acupuncture.
- Muscle pain – muscles just heal faster when your body is in alignment. Often a combination of alignment and soft tissue treatment is used to treat muscle pain.
- Joint pain – the reasons for joint pain are many, and chiropractic care is great for both short term and long-term results. Many different methods can be used to treat joint pain including electrotherapy, ultrasound, and treating the soft tissue around the joint.
- Arthritis – like joint pain, chiropractic care for arthritis is becoming much more common.
- Whiplash – typically caused by automobile accident chiropractors will review the particulars of the accident, do a thorough examination to determine the impact of the injury to develop a treatment plan. Chiropractic care will reduce spasms, increase muscle strength, treat spinal disks and work to optimize motion in the spine.
- Sprains and strains – the type of chiropractic care differs depending on the type of strain or sprain. Typically, chiropractic care is used as part of the treatment plan to lessen the pain of the injury. Soft tissue manipulation, joint manipulation and rehabilitative exercises are common with sprains and strains.
- Autoimmune disorders – while there isn’t a cure for autoimmune disorders there is growing belief that chiropractic care is an important part of the overall care plan to reduce pain and increase strength for patients with autoimmune disorders. Many treatments are like the types used in join pain management.
- Back pain – back pain, as mentioned, is the most common reason people start a chiropractic relationship. There are many tools available to the chiropractor to help treat the patient including alignment, soft tissue therapy, acupuncture, cold laser, and many more.
The added benefit to all the treatment options is the chiropractor offers education to the patient to help not only treat the current condition, but how to build a stronger defense against injury in the first place.
National days, such as National Chiropractic Care Month in October are a valuable tool to not only help educate the public on the benefits of chiropractic care in partnership or in lieu of other medical care, but also an opportunity to educate other health care providers in the benefits of having chiropractic care be part of the conversation when it comes to pain management. One can argue that the opioid crisis has made it critically important to look at all other options for pain management before prescribing any type of pain med; it literally can save lives.
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