Physician Prescribers Should Recommend Drug-Free Options Rather Than Opioids for Pain Relief

The recent opioid overdose-related death of Prince, a world-renowned musician, has once again put the spotlight on how overmedicated our society is and how desperately it is in need of an adjustment.

Last March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shook the medical industry to its roots by encouraging doctors to use conservative care options prior to taking out the prescription pad for opioid use.

The move came in response to growing alarm over the most recent statistics, showing an annual toll of 28,647 deaths involving the potentially addictive drugs. The United States makes up only 4.6 percent of the world’s population, and yet consumes 80 percent of its opioids — and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone.

The most popular alternative approach, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine, is chiropractic care. And now the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, the voice of the chiropractic profession, is out with a new white paper (“Chiropractic: A Safer Strategy Than Opioids”) that doesn’t stop at merely calling on prescribers to strictly follow the guidelines. Among the Foundation’s other recommendations:

• Establishing there is “more responsible marketing and physician education” on the part of the pharmaceutical manufacturers.

• Ensuring that chiropractic care is covered by all government and commercial insurance plans.

• Expanding chiropractic services to more veterans and active duty military members who are experiencing pain.

“The United States has awakened to the crushing impact of the opioid use/abuse epidemic,” says Sherry McAllister, DC, the Foundation’s executive vice president. Doctors of chiropractic, who have a minimum seven years of higher education, provide nonpharmaceutical care and conservative pain management to sufferers of neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, such as acute and chronic back and neck pain, as well as headaches. Numerous studies have shown chiropractic care yields improved patient outcomes, higher satisfaction and lower costs.

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