Ask a chiropractor what he or she thinks about the chronic pain dilemma in the United States and they’ll answer, “a patient should see us first.”
In an interview with the National Pain Report recently, Robert Hayden, DC, PhD, FICC, a Georgia chiropractor and spokesman for the American Chiropractic Association, made the case that because chiropractors go after the source of pain, “we should be among the first to be consulted when pain occurs.”
Dr. Hayden’s comments came days before the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) issued a press release calling attention to a new report published online by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spotlighting the increase in heroin use and overdose-related death in the U.S. The press release said dependency on opioid painkiller dependency is the strongest risk factor for heroin use and dependence.
Our interview with Dr. Hayden was not related to this release and we will be publishing a story on his interview in more depth later in July, but it was obvious in our discussion that the theme of trying to get at the source of pain before narcotic pain medicine is prescribed and interventional pain procedures are performed is a strong belief of the chiropractic community.
“As a nation, we are experiencing an alarming substance abuse epidemic, and the public must take the appropriate steps to become educated on the safer, low-risk pain relief alternatives that are available,” said Gerard Clum, DC, spokesperson, F4CP, who notes that even commonly used over-the-counter drugs, including acetaminophen, have been documented as ineffective and potentially harmful when overused. “Evidence confirms that the drug-free care provided by a doctor of chiropractic often yields better clinical outcomes and greater patient satisfaction.”
According to the release, in 2012, more than 259 million painkiller prescriptions were written – enough for every U.S. adult to have an individual bottle of pills. Additionally, the latest research concludes that individuals who abuse prescription opioids are more than 40 percent more likely to use heroin. In an effort to prevent the potential of misuse, abuse, addiction and/or fatality related to utilization of opioids and heroin, F4CP representatives point out that doctors of chiropractic (DCs) have specialty diagnostic skills and training to evaluate and provide appropriate care and rehabilitation, including offering advice on general health and wellness.
“Opioid painkillers have become a catalyst fueling this nation’s drug crisis,” says Dr. Clum. “This epidemic cannot get worse before it gets better. We must implement a call-to-action today, inform the public of safer, effective alternatives for pain management, and protect the lives of thousands of individuals who fall victim to the preventable fatalities linked to the misuse and abuse of opioid painkillers and heroin.”
Editor’s Note: The National Pain Report is interested in all approaches to pain care. Feel free to comment on this story below. Also, we are interested in other alternative approaches to treating pain. Let us know what you’ve tried. You can always contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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