Op-ED: The Opioid Epidemic Hasn’t Happened by Chance

Op-ED: The Opioid Epidemic Hasn’t Happened by Chance

By David A. Jernigan, D.C.

As HHS Secretary-nominee Alex Azar awaits Senate floor action, Dr. Jernigan warns on his drug industry ties and calls for consideration of alternative medicine approaches to health care, especially for the opioid epidemic.

America’s addiction to pain pills was entirely predictable. The nation has long been over-medicated, blithely popping 3.2 billion medications annually, according to the CDC.*

Watch any nightly network newscast and we’re bombarded with drug ads, playing on our myriad health concerns and promising blissful remedies. Harvard tells us that the drug industry spends more than $5 billion a year on consumer advertising**, supporting, according to the U.S. government, more than $300 billion in pharmaceutical sales.*** Add to that the astronomical popularity of non-prescription or OTC drug products, and you can see that we’re a nation consumed by our aches and pills.

Given this environment, it is somewhat concerning that the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, whose job is to protect Americans’ health, is the former president of the U.S. division of global pharmaceutical marketer Eli Lilly and Company. His disposition towards expanding our synthetic drug culture versus furthering the development and application of natural medicine should be carefully explored during Congress’s consideration of his nomination.

While many pharmaceuticals clearly can save, extend and improve the quality of life, the reality is that their long-term use conveys merely the illusion of health. Remission is promoted as success, even though it is but a temporary abatement of symptoms. While Americans consume the most prescription medications, the World Health Organization ranks the U.S. as having the worst health among developed countries. With drugs to control the symptoms of every named illness, Americans are oblivious to the reality that despite their pills, they’re getting sicker.****  

A vital key to a healthier and more productive population is the development and promotion of a new medical corps, trained in the pure treatment philosophy of biological medicine, focused on identifying and treating the root causes of illness, rather than just the symptoms.

True healing cannot occur by simply masking symptoms. In those instances where pharmaceuticals are required as first-line treatment, the aim should be to get off medication as quickly as possible, and identify and correct the cause at its source.

The biological medicine treatment option is particularly effective for those with chronic pain and illness – cases that have been considered untreatable in conventional drug therapy – without the risk of addiction or worse. It applies advanced science in diagnostics and treatment technologies to treat the patient, not the disease, by restoring the body’s own healing potential.  

Lifetime reliance on pharmaceutical drugs only benefits the drug industry. While prescription drugs are convenient, requiring little time and effort to prescribe, symptom-suppression is not a real solution to health problems, and it often entails side effects that reduce productivity and ultimately lower quality of life.

Americans should demand that our healthcare providers, elected officials and industry regulators acknowledge the drug industry’s grip on our healthcare system, and work to recognize and promote natural treatments and disciplines that seek to restore health, versus continuing promotion of the drug-induced illusion of health. The confirmation process for HHS Secretary-designate Azar is a prime opportunity to start this process.

Dr. Jernigan is Founder of the Hansa Center for Optimum Health, Wichita, Kansas.

Authored by: David Jernigan, D.C.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of

This is the typical type of useless article which denigrates the use of opioids…while favoring “alternative” attempts at treating refractory pain of long-term duration: usually accompanied by no “look here…this works” substitute for judicious use of opioids in patients for whom narcotic pain medications work very well.

Perhaps doctor Jernigan is unaware of the recent in-depth analysis of “myths” and “prejudices” which go hand-in-hand with legitimate opioid prescribing for pain: SEE…”America’s War on Pain Pills Is Killing Addicts and Leaving Patients in Agony” REASON MAGAZINE ( on line ) pages 18-29, April 2018…by Jacob Sullum. Mister Sullum exposes issues upon which Doctor Jernigan rests his unproven theory that the so-called “opioid epidemic” just now came along ( only ) because doctors overprescribe.

Since we still have no National Pain Registry; we are unable to know with certainty whether a particular prescription killed a particular person. Bet against it, because The Vegas Odds on this issue will make the opioid-haters big time losers.

While I agree that the untrained-in-pain-mechanisms subset of American doctors prescribe opioids too liberally…there is still no proof that linking prescriptions to addicts is the reliable explanation for opioid addiction or deaths from drug overdose. All chronic pain opioid prescribing should be in the hands of pain-specialists: not Marcus Welby.

And even if such link could be proven…it is a far separate and more compelling argument that for those millions of pain sufferers who have tried ‘The Jernigan Alternatives’ espoused here, and still failed to get much better…the opioids have worked for many of them…and we have no right to take pain pills from those in whom the pills have helped.

William Mangino II MD, Anesthesiology/Pain Management

This is for mike Williams, l did so well in oxymorphone er, however the very drug that worked well 4 me after opana wAs pulled oxymorphone er 20mg the p mgmt l see refused to rx it, but yet thy rx the oxymorphone ir which l receive a lousy 1 tab a day & switched me ovr to OxyContin 20er which does nothing 4 me but mess with my short term memory, no pain control. They knw this but too lazy to budge but my insurance pays for oxymorphone er but doesn’t pay for oxycontin 20 mg er. I am trying anthr p mgmt in the 8th of Jan, as hav been with this 1 far too long, need a new set of eyes on me. It’s clear they do not care as long as u r under that 90Mme’s & l am sick of it! Good luck my friend the struggle is real!

Hitler is exactly what comes to my mind about the weak and the sick in the United States right now. Gosh…Maybe we should all run out and try some heroin and if we are lucky not to die from it, we will get better treatment with some methadone. None of this has any logic to it other than to rid of the weak and sick and push them to street drugs or suicide.

I say that RED with PHARMACIST STEVE by his side should be given the cash they need to set up shop in Washington DC to lobby on our behalf for an indefinite period of time.I don’t think their families would like that idea,but I feel that in face to face discussions with the ppl that make the rules these two together could change the direction of this for us(CPPs).O.K. then guys it’s settled.We go fund me the money for them and they live the next 6 months in DC lobbying politicians for our support.Done.

I once completely believed what Dr. Jernigan says: “Remission is promoted as success, even though it is but a temporary abatement of symptoms.” I believed in “the pure treatment philosophy of biological medicine, focused on identifying and treating the root causes of illness, rather than just the symptoms.”

But I, like so many other people without chronic pain, was suffering from the “arrogance of good health” (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2016/09/subtle-arrogance-good-health.html). I believed pain was either serious and curable or “not that bad” and thus tolerable – how silly of me!

After over a decade of medical efforts only resulting in increasing frustration, I learned that root causes are not always treatable, like my genetic condition of Ehlers-Danlos.

My question to all “alternative” or “integrated” pain management doctors is: how can they or any other medical practitioners “cure the root cause of pain” when it’s genetic or structural (like the damage of failed back surgery syndrome)?

Cynthia

Another article by a doctor who clearly doesn’t know what it’s like to live with daily severe unrelenting pain. Until a cure for pain has been found (hell, they don’t even know elementary things about pain, and as an animal lover, I hate to see animals experimented on to find out more), opioids provide quality of life and prevent suicide. When you doctors can match that with some other treatment, let me know. Your article is not enlightened in the least.

I am sorry but this sounds like the same old rhetoric from this government officials! I have been to two different top neurosurgeon that said my spine is so bad that I can’t be operated on. I also have severe ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn and Fibromyalgia.
The screws have come out of the plates in my cervical spine and my lumbar-sacrum spine. I see very reputable physicians who can check my drug intake through computer resources and drug testing. I take 3 pain pills a day. I don’t wish this on anyone. Just maybe someone in your family will suffer from chronic excruciating pain. What would you do? However, these decision makers get what they need.

Jeremy Goodwin, MS, MD

The reliance on medication is not unique to America but it compounds other factors that together alter the way health and sickness is viewed.

The government ought to reverse itself and ban all advertising of medications and put out useful public health messages in addition to removing the dominance of Big Pharma and the health insurance companies over decision making whilst bringing in universal care via a Medicare-Medicaid hybrid.

I have chronic neck and upper back pain from cervical spinal stenosis relating to a car accident in 1982. At the time of the accident, I visited several chiropractors not knowing they were doing more harm than good. Since then, I have had four cervical neck surgeries. The last being anterior and posterior which became infected sending me back to surgery whereas they removed my “fat pad” at the upper part of my back. I now have about a 1/4 or less inch of skin and my cervical bones are prominent and visible to the eye and able to physically feel them which to me, is like fingernails on a chalkboard. I have very little rotation and have to turn my entire upper torso to turn my head both ways.
I am in constant pain and discomfort. Since the new “laws” associated with the opioid addiction crisis, I was referred to a pain clinic for evaluation. I am now going to a dark, dingy pain clinic, providing them with a urine specimen monthly for 50mg of Tramadol four times a day. Does the Tramadol relieve my pain? No. Does the Tramadol help at all? Maybe for a couple of hours at minimal but, I can not sleep because my posterior cervical bones are constantly hurting from trying to lay down. I have five different types of pillows but none relieve the pain or the discomfort. I need relief. I’ve cried myself to sleep, I’ve laid awake for countless hours and, I’m being treated for depression and on medication.
Help me please.

Beckys

Chiropractic, all natural forms, diet changes, and gentle physical therapy, anti-inflammatory over the counter, all of which not one has been able to help my daughter to be able to walk in a grocery, buy or cook her food, shower daily or at will, take herself to her own appointments which she can’t do many of.
There is no cure for EDS, a genetic condition. There is no cure for chronic Lyme, which so many of you will get, sadly so.
Those that easily think removing opiods do not have disabling pain issues that can’t be solved.
Do not forget, deaths counted from opiod use by CDC absolutely includes heroin deaths. We are brusquely turning a blind eye to those that want to live, but need these meds.
Lets focus on the issue of heroin trafficking which many users will use the excuse they have all learned to say it is because of pain to get their drug addiction off the hook and try to blame society for their illegal drug use.
Respectfully to the doctor in this post, would he be able to cure the incurable genetic syndromes, diseases and autoimmune Lyme which we all know is the new AIDS with chiropractic means?
Would the chiropractic means be able to reduce pain of a knee or hip replacement mere days after surgery, which are so common these days.
When a doctor finds a way to regrow the sheath on nerves from MS or Lyme, I will be first in line cheering. Hope.

phillip Adler

As a pain patient, we KNOW the risk that we take. Most of us have been to PT, acupuncture, breathing class, yoga etc. In the many years I have been on opiate pain pills, not once have I ever been high, It’s the stigma created around them that if you take opiates regularly or any drug you are an addict. Understandably, I now I do not represent all responsible opioid users. However, Pain patients are probably more educated and stick religiously to the rules and guidelines more than anyone. This is because our lives literally depend on it, we are all regularly get added to the group of people who abuse opioids. Well that is like saying a diabetic is addicted to insulin…. There are no viable alternatives for many of us that uses opiates under doctor supervision. Majority of pain patients are not addicts or abusers. “The Real Opioid Epidemic” deceives us with false numbers. Opioid Addiction is a Huge Problem, but Pain Prescriptions Are Not the Cause. Opioid prescriptions used by the prescriber at the beginning of the addiction is for less than 2% addiction. A big problem is that we are not address the real problem “Heroin and Fentanyl” from China are the drivers of opioid overdose today. This is according from the DEA. Despite this, the federal Government focus on prescription painkillers. We are not taking prescription opioids to get high. Lumping heroin and fentanyl in with legit prescription opioids to manipulate your data is going to kill pain patients, and their deaths will be on your hands. Suddenly, opioids are now being considered evil and all must be destroyed.  We must learn to “accept our pain”. I don’t want to just accept my pain, any more than someone who feels that they were born the wrong gender should be forced to stay that way forever and just “accept” it. We are not getting the prescribed medications from a drug dealer. We are getting these medications from a licensed doctor who has examined, poked, prodded and run tests to find out what can help. There are hoops and T’s that we have to cross. There are no viable alternatives for many of us who use’s approved opiates under doctor supervision. We are not using these pills for recreational use. We are using them, so we can get out of bed and live a somewhat normal life. There are no viable alternatives for many of us that uses opiates under doctor supervision. I have been on opiates for over 10 years and when I miss a dose or run out and forget to refill it’s a total disaster. I don’t get any withdrawal symptoms no headaches or anything that goes with that. Just pain severe uncontrollable pain that the opioids helps to make tolerable. I understand that opioids are complicated.  People are different; opioid-induced analgesia exists. I also recognize that as a public health matter, the interests of treatment must be balanced against the potential for abuse.  But… Read more »

It’s amazing as assuming that you cannot fake true pain. Have pain for 28 yrs body breaking and its like quick sand and my biggest fear came to fruision. Broke my ankle 6x in 7 months I wish i was the dog but I need to be here for my caregiver as much as my spectrum son. Go to a pain conference. Get

Robert Ivan

To the honorable David A. Jernigan, D.C.,


Those of us in Persistent Chronic Pain Sir, are very happy with the illusion of “Pain Free” as you imply that as we mask the symptoms, we all have the opportunity for a cure, but refuse to fight for it. Many suffer from conditions that medical science simply has no cure for. That leaves little alternative but the illusion of hope.

I wait for the ultimate Physician who cures all ailments, relieves all pain and drys all tears. His birthday we celebrate in one day.

In my particular case, I have over the years enlisted the help of four (4) Chiropractors who ultimately did not help at all. Not even the miracle DRX-9000 helped in my case. Because of my lack of success using your services, should I offer up a blanket statement to all that Chiropractic medicine is useless?

For many Chiropractors do in fact help. Understanding that just as Dr. Andrew Kolodny, you have much to gain if your MYOPIC opinion is recognized. Please excuse what seems to be a judgment call, but it doesn’t take a doctorate to understand that your venue for revenue is based on Manipulation.

To the National Pain Report; My sincere appreciation for publishing Dr. Jernigan’s article. It is so important for all of us who suffer in pain to keep informed of the today’s conversations that may be tomorrow’s policy.

May I offer a prayer to each and everyone of you that suffers in silence and to those who we have lost this past year. May The Lord bless you and keep you all.

Notasheep

Guess I was the only one offended by this being published here of all places. If any CPP could be cured by wishful thinking, there would be no need for this, or any other site where the concern is CHRONIC pain, not the flu.

Welcome to holiday hell y’all. Where the headlines scream prescription deaths up by how ever many, while patients lay in bed wondering just who they po’ed deserve this kind of treatment. Then they realize natzi Germany exists and it is in the country they, their parents and grandparents and gr.gr .gr. grandpa’s fought and died for.

What do you suggest we do with an incurable chronic illness that causes the “worst pain known to mankind”? What do you suggest for people who are now killing themselves since they can no longer get enough pain medicine to control their agony? Can you tell me how to heal my permanently damaged nerves? When you can answer these questions, then get back to me. I’m the meantime, STOP being part of the problem.

Steve M

The real solution is full legalization. Functional “opioid addicts” built the railroads. We do need to make CAM more widely available, but pushing it on patients is extremely dangerous.

If anyone could go to a pharmacy once a month and buy a month worth of methadone for $10 without a Rx, that would eliminate the drug dealing, the majority of overdose deaths (many overdoses are caused by not knowing what they’re taking). Pharmacist should be required to sell it after demonstrating understanding of harm reduction.

Demonizing opioids only increases harm.

Kathy C

If anyone believes an Industry Insider with ties to the start of the “Opiood Epidemic.” Azar helped pass the Legislation in Congress that allowed the Manufacturers and Distributors of Opiates, to avoid Prosecution by the DEA. As the bodies piled up these Criminal made sure their Profits were protected. They also Made sure that no Federal Agency could readily count the dead.
Now he is peddling Magical Thinking about “Alternative Remedies.” Since the Media has been peddling these “Alternatives” there are people who are afraid to get a Flue Shot. What they are trying to do here is muddy the waters, they want to keep the public confused, as to the scope of their Criminal Behavior, and make sure that these Companies remain Profitable.
The mention of “Alternatives” is already fueling the very profitable Supplement OTC, and Herbal Cures Market. The Marketing has taken on a life of it’s own, with Chiropractors Mindfulness Coaches and even Psychologists jumping on board. It is like a Multi Level Marketing Scheme. When the number of dead started to climb, the Federal Agencies were so limited already they could not react. The Industry had already tied their hands. Azar and other Industry Lobbyists, told Congress that even counting the number of “Adverse Reactions” to any Phrama Product, Including Opiates, was “Government Overreach.”
Now we have a slow Genocide and a News Media that missed the Story. The Industry thralls are taking over what is left of our Government. Since we are not counting any of the dead, except for the poor souls that are dying from Heroin and illicit Drugs, and only because that is sensational. No one asked why they are still conflating the Numbers. Nowhere does Azar even state that people with Chronic Pain will have access to Treatment.
At this point we are Fact Free. They continue to Gas Light the Public. We can be sure that the Addicts won’t have access to “Evidence Based” Treatment. Since this is about “Belief” a lot more of them will die too. If they happen to believe in prayer or new age nonsense, they might get a little sympathy. The US has gone Fact Free. They are still in denial over this problem, so an Industry Insider who profited from the dead is a perfect choice. A scientific response just would nto be Profitable. It is the Mad Hatters Tea Party. If this country stil had Laws, against Corruption, or Selling Quack Cures, Azar would already be in Prison. Now they want to put him in charge.

Steve M

The nation may be overmedicated, but pain patients are not. We are vastly under medicated.

I could not agree with this doctor more.. except for different reasons… The opiate crisis started with the Harrison Narcotic Act 1914 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Narcotics_Tax_Act when our Congress was driven by racial biases and bigotry passed this bill which was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson… this law… created the “black drug market” and a pseudo prohibition of opiates.

The Feds have created an assortment of various agencies to enforce the Harrison Narcotic act https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Bureau_of_Narcotics

In 1970 Congress passed a bill that created the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) which created the BNDD ( Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs)… which a couple of years later would evolve into the infamous DEA. The CSA replaced the National Narcotic Bureau and its TWO MILLION/yr budget with 1500 employees and a 42 million/yr budget, and the WAR ON DRUGS was officially declared.

Currently the DEA has an official TWO BILLION/yr budget and 12,000 employees and an additional 79 billion/yr is spent by other city/county/state agencies, courts, prisons and others engaged in fighting the war on drugs.

In 1917 our judicial system declared that opiate addiction was a CRIME and not a DISEASE and any doctor caught maintaining or treating a opiate addict would be sent to prison.

Today, even though the last two Surgeon Generals have stated that addiction – all addictions – is a mental health issue and not a moral failing the DEA continues to function under a 100 y/o belief. So President Trump has a member (DOJ) of his cabinet that is working under the century old idea that opiate addiction is a crime and another member of the cabinet ( Surgeon General) working under the current concept that addiction is a MENTAL HEALTH DISEASE.

Some believe that the part of definition of socialism is for a bureaucracy to create a problem and then create a “solution” to the earlier problem that the bureaucracy created.

Coroners are now seeing between 60%-99% of all OD’s with a illegal Fentanyl analog and/or Heroin and typically 4-5 other substances in the person’s toxicology report. Yet, DOJ/DEA/law enforcement is still pursuing entities withing the legal medication drug channels of distribution. Maybe because law enforcement is still living in a early 20th century mindset or the entities that they are pursuing are not armed, don’t shoot at law enforcement, easy to locate, and have a excellent “paper trail” ?

And DOJ/DEA is still functioning like a Ford Model T.. which is what was the normal mode of transportation in 1917. Maybe they are still operating in the “horse and buggy” mode of the early 20th century.

Brian Davis

I had cancer. They gave me FIVE TIMES TOO MUCH RADIATION. the ONLY thing that helps is opiates.
It is this kind of thinking that is causing COMPLIANT CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS TO COMMIT SUICIDE.

Sandie

Would it be considered then acceptable to suffer rather than mitigate the suffering with medication? Isnt the pursuit of pain relief the reason we have pain killers?

Melissa rowan

As a surviving Stage III Breast Cancer Patient and multiple years dealing with Autoimmune Disease – Psoriatic Arthritis/& Osteoarthritis Alamo many years being in denial of a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, please tell me how my body is supposed to heal itself…sounds more like a “religious laying on of the hands “. How exactly is my body supposed to harness and supply healing itself…apply advanced science in WHAT diagnostics and WHAT treatment technologies are you proposing exactly. To treat the patient, not the disease, by restoring the body’s own healing potential. That’s a load of Garbage. If my own “BODY HAD ITS OWN HEALING ABILITIES- WHY AM I A STAGE III CANCER PATIENT, WHO WILL REQUIRE ONCOLOGY SUPERVISION FOR THE REMIANDER OF MY LIFE? Does anyone ever talk to actual patients about this? My guess would be NO- haven’t seen any legitimate patients Points of view. How dare you claim I should be able to muster some wacky self healing mojo. I have undergone dozens of invasive type treatments, been lied to as to their FDA status to no avail. I not only deal with the cancer dx (considered chronic- No remission! Also a crippling generic Arthritic Disease for which has no cure either. Both of which are extremely painful. So please, make it Crystal as to how you propose to treat the patient, not the disease, by restoring the body’s own healing potential, Post Haste! As for your commentary on advertisements and such on media for medications for a sundry list of ailments & conditions…That started out with the ED PILL, the little blue pill!!!! I don’t see how in good conscience you can make this any of your business. Our health care should be left alone. I’m sorry the pharma companies have made a fortune, perhaps go after the MEDIA who took/takes money to commercially promote medications for those who can possibly enjoy a better quality of life with the advancements in the medical community. This witch hunt is Ludicrous as is the inherent desire to stand in judgement of those who actually do SUFFER, through no fault of our own. Do you not have any loved one who has been through an illness or a disease with no cure only medication to help get thru it and have any semblance of quality. I recently was asked by a family member- a movie going family member” if I or others thought this was a sort of “Purge” of persons with illnesses etc….as it reminded her of the movie. Please stop trying to choose what YOU think is best for others…you don’t know. As for your misguided illusion that the body has its own ‘healing potential’, outdoor we just wait until you become ill or your Mom, Wife or daughter and then you can show us all how this is done? Btw there are No advertisement or marketing promotion of opiods….yes the dirty word which has helped countless less fortunate persons have a quality of life, enjoy ‘their’ lives. We… Read more »

Diane Rosen

I expect you will be paying for all the hundreds of supplements and experimental tests, doctors and hospital bills while we figure out where my autoimmune disease spring’s from, how to stop the deadly and insanely painful way that my autoimmune system attacks my body 24/7. Thanks, just let me know when the check will be coming.

Sandy M

There are some conditions like mine that has no cure. I had a hemorrhagic stroke in my right thalamus. You must know about the Thalamus and the motor cortex. I had a deformed back and just had Scoliosis surgery 4 years ago from T3 to L5-S1, Iliac …the hips, I have metal from top down to my hips. Before the Scoliosis surgery, I had 3 different pain clinics give me injections and procedures of all kind and nothing helped. I had PT after stroke and with being diagnosed with Thalamic Pain Syndrome, they wouldn’t touch me. My neurologist who retired after over 45 years of practicing, said I was only ONE out of TWO patients he ever had with this condition. It’s a constant stabbing, burning, aching, like hitting a nerve in a tooth, i can hardly move my arms and sensitive to certain materials and sheets, noises bother me, soumds of all diffetent kind and so many more sensations, horrific, terrific, feeling. It is really pain. I can hardly move somedays. And, I hate being this way. It took a truckload of medications, and by trial and error to finally find medication that gives me enough relief I can have my grandchildren over and get some things done. The left side of my face is paralyzed and I bite my jaw and tongue. My legs are so bad I use a cane and still can’t walk from front door to car. My husband helps me as much as he can, but has health issues too. I’m 70 years old, had this thalamic pain 18 years and it has only worsened. There will be more deaths if “real” pain people can’t be helped I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. They treat animals better than us. And people will die because they will look elsewhere for help. My neurologist said it’s like taking insulin away from a diabetic. I understand there are doctors and people who play the pill game. But most doctors who truly care for pain patients, know them well. It is those who abuse medication that cause us people in really real pain who are to suffer. They’ve thrown us in the JUNKIE category, it’s not right. Dr. Kenneth Mc Henry had this pain as well, thalamic pain, and he said its like being in a Nazi camp, worse than the Holacoust..I don’t know how to spell it. My brain feels like the wires are all crossed and if you don’t know what it is, please GOOGLE it, it has had several different names, but my neurologist said it’s in the thalamus where I bled and was lucky I didn’t die. Now I wonder maybe I would have been better off. I don’t care to be compared to other countries, when there is real Pain, it is PAIN and throw my back that leaves me off balance as well, this is a living HELL., this should be between dr. and patient, not the government. Check my records, I… Read more »

connie

While there are often natural alternatives for a lot of things I haven’t found anything that isn’t a pharmaceutical that really helps me for chronic pain. Nowadays the government has put too many restrictions on “natural” medicine unlike a century ago when anyone had access to alternatives that worked for SEVERE pain!

Heidi hyatt

I completely agree. Pharmaceuticals not only mask root problem but they cause a myriad of other side effects and symptoms that can hinder a doctor’s ability to get to the root of the problem. But let us not forget, there are MANY whose quality of life would decrease greatly without available prescriptions, also there WILL be a epidemic of self medicating to decrease severe pain from wince there is no reprieve or healing treatment.

Iam sorry but this article seems to be wrote in a flavor that suggest a country where everything is cool and mellow,kinda like a cross between a Chinese herb shop and a yoga class.Is this what the author means by work to recognize and promote natural treatments and disciplines?Because if he thinks Alex Azar is going to promote this this type of approach to healthcare he is simply wishing.Lets face it for the most part Americans are just to lazy to do the things needed to have a healthy life.We indulge and then we take a pill.

Dr Jerrigan’s point about treating the patient rather than the symptoms may ring true for many readers. But as in many medical issues, the Devil might prove to be in the details.

Many disorders which plague Americans are known to be primarily diseases of life style: smoking, excess alcohol, over-eating and excess dietary sugar contribute to a wide range of disabling and deadly diseases. These include several forms of cancer, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes associated with gross obesity. Even these disorders, however, are dwarfed by thousands of genetically-linked disorders that are individually rare but collectively create more widespread disability.

This being said, real “cures” may not be as obvious as implied. Certainly no category of medical practitioners has a monopoly on therapies that work for at least some people, some of the time. This is also true of chiropractic, in which Dr Jerrigan practices. Spinal manipulation has been found to contribute positively to faster resolution of lower back pain and seems helpful in some patients for neck pain, whiplash, and headaches. But randomized double-blind trials data are lacking for many claimed applications of chiropractic manipulation. So-called “subluxation” has never been proven as a mechanism in chronic pain, and many mainstream practitioners dismiss the concept entirely.

Ask any customer of a chiropractor about “maintenance treatments” which are often recommended as long-term follow-up after initial interventions. While potentially lucrative for the chiropractor, such treatments have highly debatable efficacy as “cures”, given that the patient is encouraged to come back for on-going treatment. Is this not the same criticism that the author levels at mainstream medicine?

Finally, I would agree in principle with one idea here: Much of current medical practice may indeed be characterized by over-medication and “cook book” medicine encouraged by insurance companies that don’t want to pay for extended medical consultations.. We know that anti-depressants have no more effect than placebo for mild to moderate depression, yet they continue to be prescribed to millions. We also know that stimulants prescribed to kids who are disruptive in school may have negative long term side effects. But ADHD continues to be over-diagnosed. It is becoming clear that surgical interventions and steroid injections create elevated risks of long term damage in Adhesive Arachnoiditis and CRPS. But orthopedists and others continue performing these procedures, rather than losing the revenue streams they produce.

Ultimately, the kinds of changes to which Dr Jerrigan alludes may boil down to a life-level motto from which many of us still flinch: “Let change begin with me” is a tough standard to practice for ourselves and our families. But it may become a necessary standard in a world where we don’t have enough doctors to treat the medical problems we and our parents have created for ourselves by unhealthy life styles.

Ibin

it seems to me at the current time in medical science, there is not a “cure” for all pain generating conditions. Disease, injury and attempted corerction is a part of life. IF we live long enough, pain will become part of life. Should we be treated with the easiet method of pain management possible? No. For the time being, “chronic” pain for whatever reason does exist and may be treated with many different methods but, the end desired result is adequate, non self harming pain management. For CDC to simply limit medication to those that we currently do not have a different,reasonable, effective means to manage pain otherwise, and the denial of it ,that in fact affects every other aspect of life is insane to me. WHILE in pursuit of a better, maybe natural, effective means to manage lfietime pain, for the involved agencies in healthcare to simply sanction the only effective means of pain management for many people is wrong. The providers of pain managment medications have had to keep records, document the results as well as the type, dosage, and frequency of medicatipns prescribed “justifying” the benefits of said prescribing. I, would like to be healhty, 25 years old again, pain ree, active, able to do “what” I wished but, it’s not gonna happen. So, I do the best I can……along with accepted, current medical therapy for my individuall pain management, tailored for my success in pain management. To simply sanction medication to one and all with officials stating that “this is best”, is simply ignorant of the patients needs. I do not now, or will I advocate for any one, pain management treatment. Only an effective, non self harming pain management therapy tailored for each patients’ individual issue. A “cure” for all pain generating; lifetime issues would be a gift but, continued research into the many different disease and pain afflictions will never be resolved but, again to sanction, remove ANY pain management therapy with the pretense that there is an opiod crisis among all patients that use opioid medication therapy is wrong. I beleive that there is in fact drug abuse in this country now, and there has been drug abuse world wide forever. I, we, the patients with intractable pain understand that drug abuse must be addressed but to “throw the baby out with the bath water”, to deny what may be the only effective means of pain managment that we, the ones with intractable pain…… that is manageable now, is simply barbaric, gesatapo like, inhumane and to me….. UN American like. I am sure we would all like to feel like a healthy 25 year old until departure into the next realm. This of course is not possible but, let’s utlize what IS at our dispoal now, until , pain management thearpy “acceptable”, possibly non abusive IS realized. Reasearch will continue however, let’s not condemn what effective treatment for incurable, lifetime, continuous pain we have…..now ALL patients with pain issues are not drug abusers… Read more »

Robert Ivan

To the honorable David A. Jernigan, D.C.,
Those of us in Persistent Chronic Pain Sir are very happy with the illusion of “Pain Free” as you imply that as we mask the symptoms, we all have the opportunity for a cure.
My dear Sir, for many of us, we are awaiting the ultimate Physician. The only one that can cure all ailments, reliever of all pain and dryer of all tears shed by millions of human beings in agony the likes of which you cannot even imagine. We are about to celebrate His Birthday in two days of my comments. Do you have any idea of whom I speak sir?

How in the name of our Lord, can you as a Doctor of Chiropractic, of what was not that many years ago known as Doctor of someting else, make judgments on all the ailing individuals in our great nation.

In my particular case, I have over the years enlisted the help of four (4) Chiropractors who ultimately did not help at all. Not even the miracle DRX-9000 helped in my case. Because of my lack of success using your services, should I offer up a blanket statement to all that Chiropractic medicine is useless?

For many Chiropractors do in fact help. Understanding that just as Dr. Andrew Kolodny, you have much to gain if your MYOPIC opinion is recognized. Please excuse what seems to be a judgment call, but it doesn’t take a doctorate to understand that your venue for revenue is based on Manipulation.

Say your prayers tonight and maybe Santa will not see how bad of a boy you were this year, lest you find a lump of coal under the tree come Christmas morning.

To the National Pain Report; My sincere appreciation for publishing Dr. Jernigan’s article. It is so important for all of us who suffer, to know the opinions of the all the players.

May I offer a prayer to each and everyone of you that suffers in silence and to those who we have lost this past year. May The Lord bless you and keep you all.

Bob Schubring

Dr Jernigan’s approach to matters leaves out the most important consideration.

Who defines Optimum Health?

In Hitler’s Germany, the ancient Sanskrit symbol of health, the Swastiika, an image of a person whose 4 limbs were all in motion, got adopted by the National Socialist Workers Party (NAtional SoZIalistche bund) as the Party’s symbol. NaZis then set out to define optimum health, as a condition in which the person stayed strong until retirement age and abruptly dropped dead of catastrophic illness. Lingering sicknesses were to be avoided at all costs, for they were expensive.

In retrospect we now ridicule the NaZi system. The Health Swastika has come to symbolize racial hatred, losing it’s original meaning in the translation. But it’s important that we understand the key reasons why the NaZi system produced a dangerous form of tyranny.

NaZi tyranny happened, because it assumed that everyone lived for the State. So health policy was designed to enrich the State, by killing off the people whose lives cost a lot of money to maintain.

The mere fact that America has a diverse population, who maintain themselves alive with pharmaceuticals, is not a reason to condemn that process of keeping ourselves alive. Those who propose to use naturopathic means to increase health, must prove that their methods actually work, by demonstrating to pharmaceutical-dependent people, that the methods work better than the pharmaceuticals do. Using force, shame, or deception to persuade pharmaceutical-dependent persons to give up their pharmaceuticals is wrong, because force and deception are wrong.

Alternative treatment methods, that use no pharmaceuticals, must prove themselves to work, just as pharmaceuticals must prove themselves to work. A level playing field in which all these methods may freely compete, is what’s needed.

Oh, if it were only that simple for those of us who have tried every non pharmaceutical remedy to no avail! I am sure there are many,many people who take medication that may not have tried other non pharmaceutical remedies,but there are also many people like me, who without pain meds are in so much pain we can’t even dress ourselves or tend to our hygiene, let alone have some semblance of a life. After failed and botched surgeries, I have medical cement in my back where it shouldn’t be and a neurostimulator that doesn’t do much for my pain, as neurostimulator implants work best for nerve pain and my pain os not nerve pain. I wish all these so called “experts” saying opioids don’t work long term could experience mine and others pain for just days and only take OTC meds….bet they wouldn’t last long! The fact is, without my pain controlled by opiates I seriously contemplate how to end my life. I don’t WANT to, I have a beautiful 11 year old son and wonderful husband, but my pain is so severe between crushed vertebrae botched vertebroplasty and Multiple Sclerosis, that living without pain management is unbearable….and I have always had a high pain tolerance….snapped both bones in my arm as a child, no tears, broken ankles…stroke, organ failure, seizure, gallbladder attacks, nearly died at age 20…
but never needed pain meds until 2006 when I crushed my spine…the pain is simply unbearable.

HAZZY

I CAN NOT TAKE ANY TYPE OF NON STEROIDAL PAIN MEDS PERIOD !!!! SO WHAT DO I DO PUNT???

MichaelL

Sadly, while we are suffering we are told we have to wait for medicine to develop treatments for untreatable diseases? That also ignores things like spinal cord trauma, also unrepairable. Mine causes a paresis and neuropathy. It happened when L-2 exploded into the spinal canal. Why should I continue to suffer because no doctor around here treats peripheral neuropathy with “narcotics”. Wish I had a phone number, because i would be on the phone to my pain doctor, keeping him awake all night while the untreatable neuropathy prevents me from sleeping!

Kratom can help.

Big Pharma should go the way of tobacco and alcohol. WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED TO PUSH DRUGS NON-STOP ON ALL FORMS OF MEDIA????? We wonder why the cost of our prescriptions are so high. Take 5 BILLION DOLLARS out of advertising and promote the drugs to the people who should be informed and often are not, i.e. the pharmacist and your doctor!

Danny Elliott

I was electrocuted resulting in a damaged brain that causes severe, intractable pain (a simplified explanation) that only medication created by pharmaceutical companies have spent untold amounts of research and development. I have seen experts around the country, only to be told by all that nothing can be done to “cure” or “fix” the problem. What does Dr. Jernigan propose I do without my medications that are proven to be the ONLY relief that I can obtain? And, by the way, doesn’t the “D.C.” after his name stand for “Doctor of Chiropractic”? If so, I don’t believe the National Pain Report should give such prominence to a pseudo-science.

Barrow

With all due respect, there IS NO “opioid epidemic.” There is a systematic act of inhumanity being visited upon legitimate pain patients– chronic and acute– and their doctors, whipped up by false statistics and a gleefully complicit media, and enforced by strong arm tactics by the CDC, DEA, PROP, and etc.

Military veterans, the disabled, the elderly, children born with severe birth defects, people with serious, painful, incurable illnesses, others who have been irreparably injured by often multiple botched surgeries, and more in categories too numerous to list are suffering horribly, Dr. Jernigan, from the sudden, arbitrary slashing of their medication or denial of access to it altogether. People are dying, Doctor, some by their own hand because they simply cannot live in physical agony. Could you? For the rest of your life?

For God’s sake, please, please address the crisis that is happening right now to millions of people who are faced with losing everything– pain control, family, friends, financial stability, their homes, their quality of life, their lives themselves, because of this inhumane situation. The task of “fixing” our “pill-popping” society is going to be a long and arduous one. Perhaps it needs doing– but are Americans really going to let millions of people suffer and die in the meantime? Right now, apparently the answer is ‘yes’. God help us all…

Melissa Rowan

As a surviving Stage III Breast Cancer Patient and multiple years dealing with Autoimmune Disease – Psoriatic Arthritis/& Osteoarthritis. Plus many years being in denial of a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, please tell me how my body is supposed to heal itself…sounds more like a “religious laying on of the hands “. How exactly is my body supposed to harness and supply healing itself…apply advanced science in WHAT diagnostics and WHAT treatment technologies are you proposing exactly. To treat the patient, not the disease, by restoring the body’s own healing potential. That’s a load of Garbage. If my own “BODY HAD ITS OWN HEALING ABILITIES- WHY AM I A STAGE III CANCER PATIENT, WHO WILL REQUIRE ONCOLOGY SUPERVISION FOR THE REMIANDER OF MY LIFE? Does anyone ever talk to actual patients about this? My guess would be NO- haven’t seen any legitimate patients Points of view. How dare you claim I should be able to muster some wacky self healing mojo. I have undergone dozens of invasive type treatments, been lied to as to their FDA status to no avail. I not only deal with the cancer dx (considered chronic- No remission! Also a crippling generic Arthritic Disease for which has no cure either. Both of which are extremely painful. So please, make it Crystal as to how you propose to treat the patient, not the disease, by restoring the body’s own healing potential, Post Haste! As for your commentary on advertisements and such on media for medications for a sundry list of ailments & conditions…That started out with the ED PILL, the little blue pill!!!! I don’t see how in good conscience you can make this any of your business. Our health care should be left alone. I’m sorry the pharma companies have made a fortune, perhaps go after the MEDIA who took/takes money to commercially promote medications for those who can possibly enjoy a better quality of life with the advancements in the medical community. This witch hunt is Ludicrous as is the inherent desire to stand in judgement of those who actually do SUFFER, through no fault of our own. Do you not have any loved one who has been through an illness or a disease with no cure only medication to help get thru it and have any semblance of quality. I recently was asked by a family member- a movie going family member” if I or others thought this was a sort of “Purge” of persons with illnesses etc….as it reminded her of the movie. Please stop trying to choose what YOU think is best for others…you don’t know. As for your misguided illusion that the body has its own ‘healing potential’, outdoor we just wait until you become ill or your Mom, Wife or daughter and then you can show us all how this is done? Btw there are No advertisement or marketing promotion of opiods….yes the dirty word which has helped countless less fortunate persons have a quality of life, enjoy ‘their’ lives. We… Read more »

Mike Daniels

I am 57 years old and have had severe headaches since i was 10. Doctors think this is caused by my many concussions i had as a child. I have been on every drug possible, surgeries, treatments, neck injections, botox, etc. I spent 10 years at the cleveland clinic seeing a team of doctors and neurologist with no help.

I decided to be D.N.R. because of this it is registered at Medic Alert and tatooed on my chest and wrist. Now, you people want to take away the medicines I take just
So the pain is manageable. The pain is 24/7 the drugs I take keep it somewhat manageable.
I am on Oxymorphone ER 20mg 2 daily
Klonopin 2mg 3 times daily
Imitrex injections on most days.

Most pain meds make it worse. The immediate release pain medications cause increased pain so there is little i can take.

These medications have valuable uses and MUST NOT BE STOPPED.
I am treated like some junkie because os my needed meds.

Please listen and keep these medications available for the people who really need them. I am counting on you… please help

Thank you

Karen M Augustine

I suffer with Fibromyalgia, CRPS, RA, Sjogrens, CFS and Chronic Migraines and not having the opioids that I do not abuse would leave me bedbound. This is complete and utter BS. I have 27 grandchildren, and without something to treat the symptoms of these diseases I would not be able to enjoy my grandbabies. They don’t look at the fact that we are a country that is on the border of a country with numerous drug cartels that have infiltrated our borders and how much heroin is used, and causes the overdoses that has created our so called opioid epidemic. This article only focuses on people that suffer with chronic pain abusing what is sometimes the only thing that stands between being functional members of society and being bedbound. The article doesn’t mention how many chronic pain patients commit suicide each year as we are stripped of our rights to have the pain relief that these drugs provide

Nothing new under the sun. History repeats itself.