By Ed Coghlan
Expect to be hearing quite a bit this fall from the American Chiropractic Association about the dangers of opioid medication.
During National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM) in October, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) promises to build on its ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the value of a conservative approach to pain management in the face of what it calls “the U.S. opioid epidemic.”
“Pain is a universal experience, and when it is recurrent, there is an anxiety or anticipatory component that intensifies the experience. If a doctor uses opiates to relieve that pain temporarily, then does not renew the prescription, patients may experience fear, anger, and feelings of abandonment as well as the pain,” said Robert Hayden, DC, PhD.
The ACA urges both health care providers to pursue all available non-pharmacological pain control measures first.
“Just as surgery should always be a last resort in the resolution of conditions that may ultimately require it, opiates should be a last resort in pain control after all other measures fail,” said Dr. Hayden.
“Chiropractic services are an important first line of defense against pain and, in some cases, can lessen a patient’s reliance on addictive painkillers or prevent their use altogether,” said ACA President David Herd, DC. “It makes sense to exhaust conservative forms of treatment such as chiropractic before moving on to riskier, potentially addictive pain medications.”
Using treatments such as spinal manipulation, chiropractic physicians take a drug-free approach to treating back pain, neck pain and other musculoskeletal disorders. High-quality research has found spinal manipulation to be effective for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain.
The ACA noted in its release that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its 2016 guidelines for prescribing opioids, says that nonpharmacological therapies are preferred for treating chronic pain. In addition, the National Pain Strategy, an initiative by several federal agencies, recognizes chiropractic’s value as a method for pain management.
“Chiropractic is a safe, effective first intervention for musculoskeletal pain. Chiropractic physicians will assess the cause of pain and treat the cause directly rather than attempt to cover the pain with opiates,” added Dr. Hayden.
The ACA will promote with the theme and hashtag #Chiropractic1st.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of ethics and patient care, contributing to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients.