Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
As a chiropractor I am passionate about providing my patients with effective and natural solutions for pain management. In today’s world, where pain medication use is prevalent, it’s essential to explore alternative approaches that can reduce our reliance on drugs. Chiropractic care is one such holistic solution that offers promising results. In this blog post, we will explore how chiropractic care reduces pain medication use, promoting overall well-being, and enhancing your quality of life.
Understanding the prevalence of pain medication use and their risks
Pain medication has become a common go-to for managing various types of pain. However, relying solely on drugs can lead to unwanted side effects, dependency issues, and long-term consequences. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the potential risks associated with pain medication and explore alternative options.
The opioid crisis
Opioids are a commonly prescribed medication for pain in North America that offer limited benefits and serious harms. (1) In fact, these highly addictive drugs accounted for more than 60,000 deaths in the US in 2016. (2) Further, with the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic the death toll number reached over 106,000 in 2021. (3)
As another example, Canada is the second highest consumer of opioids in the world. (4) Consequently, this high opioid use equated into over 5,000 overdose deaths in Canada from January of 2022 to September of 2022. (5)
One of the key reasons opioids are prescribed is for chronic low back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions. So with the rise in opioid addictions and deaths we need alternative strategies to deal with chronic pain. In particular, we need strategies like chiropractic care that deal with the underlying cause of pain versus strategies that just mask the pain. As we will discuss in more detail chiropractic care reduces pain medication use.
NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories)
NSAIDS are common prescription pain medications. Examples of over-the-counter NSAIDS are brand names like Bayer(aspirin), Advil, and Aleve. A couple of examples of common stronger prescription NSAIDS are Celebrex and Voltaren. (6)
- NSAIDS produce ulcers in the digestive tract (with potential internal bleeding) in 15-30% of long term users.(7)
- In the UK NSAIDS are responsible for 30% of hospital admissions for adverse drug reactions, mainly due to bleeding, heart attack, stroke, and renal damage. (8)
- As well, NSAIDS have been shown to accelerate damage and erosion of joint cartilage, advancing the osteoarthritic process. (9)
Acetaminophen drugs like Tylenol are common pain relievers that can come with serious consequences. In fact, acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States and other Western countries. (10)
Chiropractic care: a holistic approach to pain management
Chiropractic care takes a comprehensive and natural approach to pain management. It focuses on the intricate relationship between spinal health, proper alignment, and optimal nervous system function. By identifying and addressing spinal misalignments, chiropractors aim to restore the body’s natural healing capabilities, alleviate pain, and improve overall health.
I have written extensively about the benefits of chiropractic care for pain management. To learn more about this topic click on one or more of the posts listed below:
Evidence-based benefits of chiropractic care in reducing pain medication use
There is lots of evidence that patients receiving chiropractic treatments experience a significant reduction in pain severity and frequency. By addressing the root causes of pain, chiropractic care helps individuals achieve long-term relief and minimizes their reliance on medication.
In fact, extensive research supports the positive impact of chiropractic care in reducing the need for pain medication. For example, a study in 2022 showed that patients with back pain were less likely to receive opioids if they received chiropractic care as compared to patients who did not receive chiropractic care. (11) These findings are consistent with other research studies, which shows consistently that chiropractic care is associated with a reduced risk of opioid prescribing. (12, 13)
The fact that chiropractic care reduces pain medication use like opioids is huge. Indeed, more support for chiropractic services in the healthcare system would reduce the need for opioid prescribing and have a positive impact on the opioid crisis. This is why in 2017 the Canadian Medical Association recommended chiropractic care as part of a multidisciplinary team to help manage pain and avoid opioid dependency. (14)
Chiropractic care as a complementary treatment option
Chiropractic care is not intended to replace other healthcare modalities but rather complement them. In other words, chiropractic can be effectively combined with other treatments to maximize benefits and improve overall outcomes. Other treatments could include:
- exercise programs
This multidisciplinary approach provides patients with a well-rounded and personalized pain management plan.
In conclusion, if you’re seeking an alternative to pain medication, chiropractic care offers a drug-free and holistic solution. As an experienced chiropractor, I have witnessed the transformative effects of chiropractic treatments on my patients’ lives. By reducing pain medication use, chiropractic care empowers individuals to take control of their health and improve their overall well-being. If you’re ready to explore a natural approach to pain management, I encourage you to consult with a trusted chiropractor and embark on a journey toward a healthier, pain-free life.
To learn more about how chiropractic care could help you and your family read Dr. Collins’ complete guide to chiropractic care: Chiropractic Care for Everyone