Chiropractic: A Safer Strategy Than Opioids

Are Opioids Safe? Can Chiropractic Care Help With My Pain?

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) issued a news release on June 6, 2016, highlighting the publication of an encompassing white paper titled, “Chiropractic: A Safer Strategy Than Opioids.”

Chiropractic - A Safer Strategy Than Opioids - AUSTIN TX CHIROPRACTOR BEST REVIEWSAccording to the F4CP news release, the white paper “…articulates the value of a conservative, non-pharmacologic approach as an important option for pain management — particularly for back, low back and neck pain, headaches, neuro-musculoskeletal and other related conditions.”

The 28-page white paper begins by stating the growing concern about the problem, and offers a solution. “The United States has awakened on every level to the crushing impact of the opioid use/abuse epidemic. Calls have come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for a shift away from opioid use toward non-pharmacologic approaches to address chronic pain. An important non-pharmacologic approach in helping to solve this crisis is chiropractic care.”

Co-author of the white paper, Laura Carabello, Principal, CPR Strategic Marketing Communications, commented in the news release by saying, “According to a study reported by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, the problem remains that opioids frequently are prescribed for acute and subacute low back pain, despite low quality or inconclusive supporting evidence for their use in this circumstance.”

To help with the opioid problem, the F4CP white paper listed five calls to action.

  • Prescribers should heed CDC guidelines and begin prescribing safer alternatives such as chiropractic care for chronic pain management.
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers should institute more responsible marketing and physician education that will result in improved prescribing habits.
  • Hospital emergency rooms should evaluate their options for managing patients’ pain without the use of opioid painkillers.
  • Payers and plan sponsors – both government and commercial – should make chiropractic care an accessible, affordable, option for chronic pain relief, with reimbursement of DCs as covered providers.
  • Chiropractic services should be expanded in the Department of Defense and veteran’s health care systems since neuro-musculoskeletal pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the active military and veteran populations.

White paper co-author Gerard Clum, DC, President Emeritus, Life Chiropractic College West and Director, The Octagon, Life University, concluded the news release with an overview by saying, “The United States has awakened on every level to the crushing impact of the opioid use/abuse epidemic. This examination offers a greater understanding of the issues driving overprescribing of narcotics with corresponding initiatives that will help to extricate ourselves from this current, dangerous and often fatal reality.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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More Chiropractic Equals Less Opioid Use

Can Chiropractic Care Help My Pain? How Does Chiropractic Work Without Using Medications?

A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) on March 28, 2016, showed that when there was more spent on chiropractic services, or more chiropractors in an area, there was overall less opioid usage.

More Chiropractic Equals Less Opioid Use - Austin TX Chiropractor personal injury for car and truck accidentsRecently, there have been a number of studies and articles showing that there is a growing problem with opioid usage and addiction in the United States. According to the CDC, nearly 2 million Americans abused or were dependant on prescription opioids in 2014. Between 1999 and 2014, 165,000 people died from prescription opioids. In response to this problem, the CDC issued their new “Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.”

The purpose of the JMPT study was twofold: to see if either the ratio of chiropractors to the general public, or the amount spent on chiropractic services had a correlation with opioid use among younger, disabled Medicare beneficiaries.

This study looked at the number of chiropractors per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries as well as per-capita spending for chiropractic care on Medicare beneficiaries in the year 2011. The results showed that more chiropractors, or more spending on chiropractic services was associated with a decrease in the usage of opioid medication in younger, disabled Medicare beneficiaries.

“When people choose chiropractic, there is a less chance that they will turn to opioid pain medications,” states Dr. George Curry, president of the International Chiropractors Association. “Chiropractic has always offered drug free choice to a population that is being continually bombarded with pharmaceutical advertising.”

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) issued a release on the problem of opioid usage on April 4, 2016, which stated, “With 72 percent of doctors prescribing opioids for back pain and 67 percent prescribing these potentially addictive drugs for chronic joint pain, the F4CP points to the value of evidence-based, drug-free chiropractic care as a safe and effective alternative for pain management often resulting from back, neck, musculoskeletal conditions and headaches.”

The F4CP release continued, “Given the high prevalence of these musculoskeletal conditions — an estimated 126.6 million Americans (one in two adults) validated by a March 2016 report from the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI).” the care provided by doctors of chiropractic (DCs) becomes even more important.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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Drug Overdose Now Leading Cause of Injury-Related Deaths

How Many Drug Overdoses Occur in America? How Many Prescription Drugs Lead to Deaths?

A report published in June 2015, by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation noted that over 44,000 deaths occur each year in the United States due to drug overdoses. Of this, more than half are due to prescription drugs. The study shows that over the past 4 years, 26 states showed a significant increase in the rate of drug overdose deaths, while only six states showed a small decrease.

Drug Overdose Now Leading Cause of Injury-Related Deaths - Austin TX ChiropractorThe report titled, “The Facts Hurt” A State by State Injury Prevention Policy Report 2015″, looked at deaths from all forms of injury and accidents including drug overdose. It showed that on a national level, the number of drug overdose deaths, 44,000, has overtaken the number of automobile accident deaths which has dropped to 33,000 per year.

The report points out, “There are 120 drug overdoses a day and 6,700 emergency department visits for misuse or abuse of drugs. More than 22,000 overdose deaths involve prescription drugs, which have sharply increased in the past 15 years.”

One of the more alarming statistics the report brings to light is the number of children affected by this problem, “Children visit emergency departments twice as often for taking medications found in the home –– than for poisonings from household products. More than 70,000 children go to the emergency department due to medication poisoning every year. Most of these visits were because an unsupervised child found and consumed the medication—usually a prescription medication.”

In reporting on the scale of the drug issue, the report notes that about 2 million Americans abuse or misuse prescription drugs. Prescription drugs account for more than 22,700 deaths each year, with 16,000 of these being due to prescription painkillers and nearly 7,000 being due to anti-anxiety, sleep and other related medications. The costs related to this are approximately $55.7 billion a year.

The report states, “Around 1.4 million emergency department visits in 2011 were due to prescription drug misuse or abuse, including 420,000 due to prescription painkillers and 501,000 due to anti-anxiety, sleep and other related medications.” Some additional startling facts released in this report include:

  • Sales of prescription painkillers per capita quadrupled from 1999 to 2011 — and the number of fatal poisonings due to prescription pain medications nearly quadrupled.
  • Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult continually for a month. The rate of opioid/painkiller-related deaths continues to increase.
  • The rate of increase has slowed from 2006 to 2011, but overall drug poisoning deaths continues to steadily rise.
  • Emergency department visits for prescription drug misuse and abuse more than doubled between 2004 and 2011. The most commonly involved drugs were anti-anxiety and insomnia medications, and prescription painkillers.

A June 18, 2015, article in USA Today on this study quoted Amber Williams, executive director of Safe States Alliance, an organization of experts who work on injury and violence prevention nationwide. “Over 10 years, the opioid prescriptions have quadrupled, but there’s not a change in the overall pain that Americans had in that same period.” She continued, “There’s definitely a mismatch between the prescriptions and the health issues because the issues have remained the same.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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Prescription Painkillers’ Overuse Has Become Silent Epidemic – US Warns

Are Painkillers Over-Prescribed by Doctors? Is Chiropractic Care a Safe Treatment for Chronic Pain?

The headline above is from a January 16, 2015, article in the U.S. edition of the British news publication The Guardian. The article is based on a position paper released on January 13, 2015, titled, “National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain.”

The Guardian article begins by reporting that in 2012, Americans received nearly 260 million prescriptions for opiate painkillers.  This high number stands in contrast to the  National Institutes of Health (NIH) statement that there is “scant” research supporting the use of these drugs for chronic pain. The NIH paper is based on the work of a seven member panel of experts who studied the use of opioids in medicine. “Chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million Americans, or one-third of the U.S. population.”

Prescription Painkillers' Overuse Has Become Silent Epidemic | Austin TX ChiropractorOne of the key factors  the panel found was that there were no studies comparing the use of opioid therapy or no opioid therapy versus placebo for evaluating long-term outcomes related to pain, function, or quality of life.  “Unfortunately, a lot of these drugs are approved on the basis of short-term trials,” stated Roger Chou, MD, associate professor, medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, in an interview he gave to Medscape News.

In the paper summary, the panel states, “The rise in the number of Americans with chronic pain and the concurrent increase in the use of opioids to treat this pain have created a situation where large numbers of Americans are receiving suboptimal care.” They continue, “At the root of the problem is the inadequate knowledge about the best approaches to treat various types of pain, balancing the effectiveness with the potential for harm, as well as a dysfunctional health care delivery system that encourages clinicians to prescribe the easiest rather than the best approach for addressing pain.”

Perhaps the most disturbing comment from the paper speaks to the daily experience of a patient who is visiting a doctor for chronic pain.  The panel notes, “Particularly striking to the panel was the realization that evidence is insufficient for every clinical decision that a provider needs to make about the use of opioids for chronic pain, leaving the provider to rely on his or her own clinical experience.”

An article titled, “Mandatory Use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs” in the January 26, 2015, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at the problem. It reported that, “The rate of fatal prescription drug overdoses involving opioids almost quadrupled from 1.4 deaths/100,000 people in 1999 to 5.4 deaths/100,000 people in 2011.”

“Chiropractic represents a drugless approach to health,” notes Dr. Michael McLean, president of the International Chiropractors Association. “The problem is not just the use of these dangerous and powerful drugs, the problem is a culture that looks to eliminating the symptoms rather that searching for the underlying cause of pain and other health issues.”

If you or anyone you know suffers with chronic pain, chiropractic may be beneficial. Please contact us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation today.

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