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Posted on 05-03-2017

Relieving Pain - Healthy Alternatives to Dangerous Opioids

You’ve probably heard there is an opioid crisis.  What does it mean?

The opioid epidemic refers to the rapid increase in the use of prescription and non-prescription opioids by people in the United States.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 78 people in the US die EVERY DAY from opioid-related overdoses (includes prescription opioids and heroin).  The CDC considers the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history, killing more than 33,000 people in 2015 alone.

The CDC has estimated that 3 out of 4 (75%) of the heroin users in the United States began their addiction to heroin after taking legal opioids prescribed by their medical doctor (MD) for the treatment of chronic pain.  

The cruel irony is that MDs are misprescribing opioids for the treatment of chronic pain, because there is no clinical evidence that opioids work for the treatment of chronic pain.

Image result for opioid epidemic comic

What are opioids?

  • Legal medications that are prescribed by MDs: including oxycodone,(oxycontin, percocet), hydrocodone (vicodin), morphine, methadone and fentanyl to treat moderate to severe pain.
  • Illegal opioids such as heroin and illegally produced and distributed fentanyl. Often these are mixed with other unknown drugs or substances so also increases their danger.  

All opioids have serious risks and side effects.

  • Serious risks of addiction, abuse, and overdose/death.
  • Severe side effects include increased tolerance, physical dependency, INCREASED pain sensitivity, constipation, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, depression, sleepiness and dizziness, confusion, lower levels of testosterone that can result in lower sex drive, energy, and strength and itching and sweating.

What caused this crisis?

  1. The typical scenario is that a patient goes to their MD because they are in pain. The MD prescribes an opioid medication.  (There are more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions dispensed daily by MDs!).
  2. The patient takes the medication, but develops a tolerance to it so s/he has to take higher and higher dosages for the same pain relief and subsequently becomes addicted to it. (Once addicted, patients will experience extreme symptoms of withdrawal when the drug is stopped).
  3. 33,000 people in 2015 overdosed and died at this point.  For those patients who don’t die, the results of their addiction can be catastrophic for them as “survivors.”  This shows up in failure at work, school, and home.  Their opioid abuse causes significant life disruption for others as well, from family, friends, co-workers, and our society as a whole.  

Where does heroin come in?

  1. The patient develops a tolerance toward their prescribed opioids, (they become addicted)
  2. MD stops writing them prescriptions due to their addiction.
  3. Now desperate due to their “legal” addiction, the addict resorts to getting their fix any way they can   
  4. They buy illegal heroin, because is cheaper and in some communities easier to obtain than prescription opioids.

Alternatives to opioid drugs

Non-opioid medication for pain:

  1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®)
  2. Medications for depression or for seizures
  3. Interventional therapies (injections)

Non drug therapy for pain:

  1. Chiropractic care is even better than those non-opioid medications. Studies have proven its superior effectiveness at relieving back and other musculoskeletal pain, when compared to over-the-counter medications like those.  
  2. Decompression Massage Therapy
  3. Massage
  4. Acupuncture  
  5. Physical therapy, stretching
  6. Yoga, Tai Chi or other gentle physical exercises
  7. Hot or cold packs
  8. Medical cannabis
  9. Cognitive behavioral therapy

We help people who are in pain every day,  call us! Hands on Healing Chiropractic, 408-371-0068

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THIS ---->https://handsonhealingco.chiromatrixbase.com/blog/b_80530_relieving_pain__healthy_alternatives_to_dangerous_opioids.html

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