October is National Chiropractic Health month, and this year, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is turning its focus to the opioid epidemic, which is sweeping the United States with astounding speed.
Here’s some information the ACA thinks is important for you to know (and we agree):
- Americans, constituting only 4.6 percent of the world’s population, have been consuming 80 percent of the global opioid supply.
- As many as one in four people who receive prescription opioids long term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggle with addiction.
- From 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people – three times the U.S. military deaths during the 20 years of the Vietnam War – have died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids.
And here’s how chiropractic can be part of the solution:
- In January 2015, the Joint Commission, the organization that accredits more than 20,000 health care systems in the U.S. including every major hospital, recognized the value of non-drug approaches in the face of the U.S. opioid abuse epidemic by adding chiropractic and acupuncture to its pain management standard.
- The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and the National Pain Strategy both encourage medical doctors to utilize nonpharmacologic conservative care and consider non-addictive alternative options, behavioral changes and non-addictive pain relievers.
- A study that examined large Medicare datasets revealed that in geographic locations with more doctors of chiropractic and a higher level of Medicare payments for chiropractic manipulation, there were fewer patients taking opioid drugs.
- Chiropractic care in conjunction with standard medical care was found to offer a significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning when compared with only standard medical care for men and women between 18 and 35 years of age with acute low-back pain.
- Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) are the highest rated healthcare practitioners for low-back pain treatments above physical therapists, specialist physicians/MDs (i.e., neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopaedic surgeons), and primary care physicians/MDs.
- A study on upper-cervical chiropractic care for neck pain, headache, mid-back and low-back pain concludes that 9.1 out of 10 patients indicate a very high level of satisfaction in the care they received.