The Opioid Epidemic

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Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Continued use and abuse can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Despite literally decades of research, pharmaceutical companies have not been able to design opioid ligands that retain high analgesic potency with reduced abuse potential.

The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than 60 percent) involve an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999. What has also nearly quadrupled is the amount of prescription opioids sold in the United States. Overdoses from prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 15-year (2000 to 2015) increase in opioid overdose deaths of more than half a million people.

The search is on by federal and state officials, insurers, patients and healthcare providers for less-invasive pain therapies that can be used. Non-pharmaceutical treatments may include chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, meditation, yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy. Insurance coverage for many of these alternative therapies may be limited, which can create a roadblock to care. This is a significant reason that individuals with musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) or injuries can find themselves caught up in the opioid epidemic.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD)

Individuals with musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) or injuries can find themselves caught up in the opioid epidemic. As reported by “The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans” Opportunities for Action, an estimated 126.6 Americans and costing $213 billion in annual treatment, care and lost wages.

Anyone and everyone can experience musculoskeletal pain. Most often it is caused by an injury to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves.  Some of the causes: jerking movements, car accidents, falls, fractures, overuse, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscle. Lower back pain is the most common type of musculoskeletal pain.

As published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Feb. 2017), the American College of Physicians recommendations include:

  • For patients with low-back pain, ACP recommends that physicians and patients should treat acute or subacute low back pain with non-drug therapies such as superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation and for chronic back pain, initially select non-drug therapy with exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, etc.
  • Physicians should consider opioids as a last option for treatment and only in patients who have failed other therapies.

Non-Opioid Pain Management.

We have helped so many experience a better level of health, wellness and a pain-free life.  We integrate your care with our skilled Healthcare Team of Chiropractor, Physical Therapists, Acupuncture Specialists, Massage Therapists and Medical Doctors.  Call for a free consultation:  952-835-6653.

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