Chiropractic Care as an Alternative to Prescription Opioids

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With an opioid epidemic that is killing thousands of people in the United States every year, it’s easy to see why many Americans are looking for safer alternatives for pain management. But does chiropractic care fit the bill?

While each patient case is different, much-experiencing pain from neck pain, back pain, joint pain, and headaches are looking to chiropractic care as an alternative. Here we will take a look at the opioid epidemic, and what makes chiropractic an ideal substitute.

A Nationwide Crisis: Opioid Abuse

Is it a Safe Alternative to Prescription OpioidsFrom 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people died in the United States from prescription opioid overdoses. The problem has only gotten worse, and it has been declared an epidemic back in 2017. The reasons for opioid addiction vary widely, but it often begins as a result of being prescribed medication for pain management.

“With attention now so heavily focused on the reduction or elimination of opioids, patients and medical providers alike are looking for alternatives,” said Dr. Scott Munsterman, a chiropractor, and CEO of Best Practices Academy. “The providers best suited, trained and educated on taking a non-pharmacological approach to pain management are chiropractors. We’ve been doing it this way for decades.”

Is Chiropractic a Safer Option?

The answer is yes.

Chiropractic’s biggest advantage is that it is completely natural. It is suitable for those who want to avoid or eliminate the use of opioids. In fact, more than 22 million Americans visit a chiropractor annually and that number is increasing due to its growing popularity. Professional athletes talk about it all the time—and it’s because the benefits of spinal adjustments are incredible.

“As chiropractors, our goal is to shift this strategy of using pills to help patients manage pain to using proven, non-pharmacological methods such as spinal manipulation to provide real, long-term relief. Fortunately, experts are now recognizing chiropractic as a sound alternative for patients who have neuromuscular problems,” Munsterman continued.

The American College of Physicians updated its guidelines in 2017 to recommend chiropractic and other non-invasive, non-drug treatments for back pain before turning to prescription opioids.

Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to eliminate stress on the nervous system. This allows the body to restore normal joint movement while also reducing pain. You will also find that a chiropractic adjustment is very relaxing. It’s similar to a massage, but a bit more intense. The specific movements used by your chiropractor will depend on your condition.

“Over the years, I’ve treated thousands of patients – often those who have seen a family medical doctor and then gone on to a neurologist, orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon without trying chiropractic as a first-line treatment,” said Munsterman. “Now, we’re seeing those patterns shift with many seeking chiropractic care first all in an effort to avoid harmful opioids or invasive procedures or treatments.”

Munsterman stressed that chiropractic treatment cannot fully replace surgery and medical treatment. But he recognizes that each type of care has its own place. “While surgery and medical treatment will always have a place, it is really rewarding to see the benefits of chiropractic treatment recognized. As chiropractors, we know it can often help our patients avoid these costly and invasive options, and really achieve the pain relief they are looking for.”

Because of its focus on natural healing, it may benefit patients who are not suffering from severe pain. Patients seeking chiropractic care can rest assured that chiropractors are highly-skilled caregivers who have undergone years of postgraduate training and certifications.

“As primary care physicians, we’re trained to first diagnose our patient’s condition,” Munsterman said. “A patient’s first chiropractic appointment will feel much like any primary care appointment in that we start with your medical history, followed by a physical assessment including vital signs and an in-depth discussion of your chief complaint. From there, we partner with our patients to develop the best treatment plan based on their specific needs.”

Visit a nearby chiropractic clinic today and experience the benefits of spinal adjustments!

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