Heroine and Over-the-Counter Medications: Are You In The Wrong Office?

Many patients with musculoskeletal disorders have invariably tried the sequence of OTC medications, steroid injections, and then prescription opioid painkillers, but is this so called “relief” offered in medical offices an illusion? Are you in the wrong office?

Since these drugs do not correct the underlying source of pain and are temporary at best, with serious and dangerous side effects, is there a better option? Are you embracing the easy solution of treating the pain through prescription use?

Patients are now finding themselves in what is being called the “purple haze” or the “hillbilly heroin epidemic” of opioid use. Few realize that these painkillers have a similar chemical make-up to heroin, thus having a high risk of addiction. In fact, 1 in 20 American adults are now addicted to prescription narcotics and 4 in 5 heroin addicts say they came to the drug from prescription painkillers. The most common opioid drugs include: hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), methadone (Dolophine), morphine (Roxanol), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), and oxymorphone (Opana). Many view these opioids with the idea that they are legal and paid for by insurance, so the must be safe, right? Wrong. Did you know that 46 people die daily in the US due to these prescription painkillers alone? (According to the CDC)

You may be asking, what is the better option then? Our answer would be, chiropractic. The FDA is now saying that non-medical and non-chemical approaches should be tried first, and that is exactly where chiropractic comes in. The chiropractic profession is showcasing itself as the non-drug solution to the abuse of painkillers, shots, and surgeries. It is the first line of defense against the opioid epidemic and an entrance point for patients with musculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractic fixes the cause, is the solution, and does not merely cover up the disease with potentially dangerous and addictive drugs.

October is National Chiropractic Health Month, so in the face of the US opioid epidemic facing us, let’s raise the awareness of a more conservative approach to pain management and the value of such an approach. Let’s fight against the $29.9 billion dollars spent on promotion of these drugs each year (2005, New England Journal of Medicine) and promote a healthier way. Let’s ask ourselves, are we in the wrong office?

By: Dr. Sarah Kirn, B.S., D.C. September 23, 2016

References:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/datastatistics/ , September 15, 2016
Doctors of Chiropractic Provide Alternative to Opioids for Pain Management. American Chiropractic Association, acatoday.org. Chiropractic Economics, page 10, September 1, 2016.
Riekeman, Guy F. D.C., More TOR’s = Fewer Opioid Rx’s. Global Impact, Today’s Chiropractic Leadership, page 2, Summer 2016.
Smith, JC, MA, D.C., Dr. Welby Goes Breaking Bad. The American Chiropractor, pages 20-33, August 2016.