Decrease Pain, Increase Mobility, Limit Opioid Medications

By Dr. John Rosa

pain management

What if I told you that you could decrease pain without medication?

The title of this article is the holistic strategy used with patients who come to my chiropractic centers in pain. My goal is to educate patients, caregivers and anyone else who is interested, how to manage pain without the use of opioid medications.

I recently placed myself into a busy Primary Care medical practice where we have been able to reduce opioid prescriptions by 70% through the integration of Chiropractic, physical therapy and behavioral medicine. Some of the therapies and behavioral approaches include yoga, Acupuncture, massage, mindfulness and meditation, among others. This highly successful integrative approach clearly illustrates that we, as a society, do not need to be drug dependent to be pain-free.

The Pain Is Real

Without question many people live with chronic, oftentimes debilitating pain. As a result of attempting to relieve this pain, the pharmaceutical industry has created highly addictive medications. The medications do relieve the physical pain, but more often than not they lead to more severely painful problems such as addiction and death. And, importantly, they inhibit the body’s own healing wisdom.

In addition, doctors and the pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to prevent the unnecessary use and abuse of opioid medications. In a recent article I read about some very recent research on the topic, “the researchers concluded that prescribers, pharmacists, drug companies and the FDA — all of whom had agreed to special rules and monitoring for use of the powerful opioid — had allowed it to fall into the hands of thousands of inappropriate patients. Over time, the FDA and drug companies became aware this was happening but took no action, the researchers found.” The research also stated that, “Using five years of insurance claims data, the researchers found that between 34.6 percent and 55.4 percent of patients shouldn’t have received the drugs.”

Integrative Pain Management

I’ll begin by saying that integrative pain management is a process that requires more effort than merely popping a pill. However, long-term, this method allows the natural healing process of the body to work its wonders. The body’s ability to heal itself is nothing short of miraculous, but we have to give it the time it needs. A comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to pain syndromes and musculoskeletal disorders will typically not satisfy most American’s desire for instant gratification, but it will lead to healing versus addiction.

Speaking Of Pain

In my quest to educate and help move our society away from the use and abuse of opioid drugs, I conduct events and speak to groups about the opioid epidemic and how we can help turn the tide of this devastating practice. Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and a place for the use of opioids, but those times and places are not widespread and do not call for widespread prescriptions. We, as a culture, must get over our insistence on instant gratification.

The most common pain related diagnosis is low back pain. The most common cause of disability is low back pain. The most common reason for prescription opioids is low back pain. And, the treatment that has the highest rate of success battling low back pain is Chiropractic. Funny…Chiropractic is the only physician in the medical world that NEVER prescribes medication, yet only 1% of medical doctors make referrals for the known cure. Now that’s painful!

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