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The Opioid Crisis: Is Chiropractic a Solution?

Recently, the very real dangers of opioid painkillers have deservedly been receiving national attention. Opioid addiction has become one of the country's foremost health crises, with massive increases among the commercially insured population. According to a report from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), “members with an opioid use disorder diagnosis spiked 493 percent” from 2010 to 2016.

The term opioids includes semi-synthetic and synthetic drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl, as well as morphine. Opioids work by binding to receptors in the body, including those in the brain and spinal cord. They reduce the sending of pain messages and therefore lessen the sensation of pain. They are often prescribed for acute (short term) pain, such as after surgery. However, when prescribed for long term use for such chronic conditions as headaches and back pain, it's apparent that opioids present a greater risk than benefit.

Opiods have an effect on many organs and bodily functions, and can cause dizziness, itching, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Because they can also have a sedative effect, they are linked to an increased risk of traffic and work-related accidents and falls. Adverse long term effects of opioids can include hormone imbalances, respiratory depression, physical tolerance and dependence, and addiction that leads to abuse and overdosing. Stopping the use of opioid drugs can cause withdrawal symptoms such as additional pain, nausea, anxiety, and irritability.

Because of opioids' side effects and risks of dependence, the BCBSA is now officially recommending that opioids “should not be prescribed as first or second lines of pain therapy.”

Rather than expensive and dangerous narcotics, chiropractic care can be a viable option for those suffering from certain types of chronic pain – an option that is not only drug-free but cost-effective. It involves treating the entire self, not simply masking symptoms. From short term treatments like hands-on manipulations and massage to long term management of nutrition and exercise, we at Andresen Active Healthcare will work with you to personally tailor a wellness program to not only alleviate immediate pain but create a pain-free, healthy lifestyle.

If you'd like to avoid or reduce your use of prescriptions or invasive surgical procedures for pain relief, call us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Andresen and make a positive, natural change in your pain management.

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