About 30 years ago, there was a fundamental shift in medicine as to how pain was understood and treated. The number of people with chronic pain seemed to be rising, and it was thought that the options to address the pain weren’t adequate.
Why it Matters:
As doctors paid more attention to assessing pain, they also paid more attention to treating pain. Opioid medication began to be prescribed more often for symptoms such as chronic low back or neck pain.
Until then, opioids were only prescribed for severe pain after surgery or in advanced-stage cancer. But in the early 1990s, that all changed. New opioid formulas were promoted as being less addictive, and physicians were encouraged to prescribe these drugs far more liberally than before.
Prescribing these drugs very quickly led to a variety of problems. First, patients rapidly adapted to the drugs, requiring larger and larger doses to achieve the same effect over time. Second, these drugs weren’t very effective at addressing chronic pain. They provided short term relief, but as time went on, they seemed to become less useful for a lot of people. Finally, these drugs provided a euphoric feeling that quickly led to addiction.
Now 30 years later, we are consumed with the opioid crisis. Over 130 people die each day from opioids, and over 40% of those deaths are from prescribed opioids.
If there is a silver lining to this crisis, it’s that we now realize that the answers and treatment for chronic pain are rarely found in a bottle. Many leading healthcare organizations are now recommending non-pharmacological approaches to treatment of chronic pain, including chiropractic.
This month our practice will be focusing on providing you with information on how you can overcome pain without the use of drugs. It’s time to get your life back naturally!
(1) Understanding the Epidemic. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018
The opioid epidemic has led many leading medical groups to emphasize the importance of conservative care for low back and neck pain. The world’s largest medical society, the American College of Physicians, updated its low back treatment guide in 2017 to support conservative options, such as Chiropractic care. The guidelines were published in the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine and have been adopted by many leading healthcare organizations.
The average human head weighs about 8 pounds. Each day we all walk around with a bowling ball (our head) balancing on a toothpick (our neck). We are designed this way to allow for the full range of motion we all know and love. Even under the best circumstances, this places a lot of stress on our spine. But leaning forward even just 15 degrees pushes that weight up to 30 pounds, and with a 30 degree tilt its closer to 40 pounds!
Staying connected to friends and family is easier than ever with social media. The tradeoff is that your daily screen time may be 1, 2, 3 hours or more. And let’s face it, a lot of those hours online are spent in an awkward forward head posture that experts have begun to call “tech neck.” It can result in neck pain, headaches, spinal disc issues, and even pinched nerves.