Taking Prescription Pain Medication? Get a Second Opinion – a Chiropractic Opinion
The Argus Leader recently featured a story about what one woman in Pennsylvania is doing in an effort to get medical doctors to prescribe fewer narcotic pain medications for patients, in light of the opioid addiction crisis happening today in the U.S. In her article, the author mentions alternative pain relief methods, such as tai chi, massage therapy and acupuncture. And while these have value as natural, drug-free remedies, the story has one glaring omission: chiropractic. Because chiropractic is the only proven, effective, all-natural method of treating pain, it is clear that the author has little-to-no knowledge of chiropractic or what it entails, or the fact that chiropractors help patients with both pain and musculoskeletal complaints without the use of prescription medications.
In response to this omission, I wrote a letter to the Editor of the Argus Leader regarding the topic of opioid addiction and alternative pain treatment options because I wanted to share my 35 years of experience as a chiropractor in a news media forum where it would be heard by the “decision makers” when it comes to treating pain (i.e., medical professionals who are in the position to refer patients to a chiropractor for pain relief, as well as the people who educate these professionals in how to make appropriate referrals).
The original article about the woman in Pennsylvania states, “We haven’t trained doctors to help people with addiction. We need to help doctors understand how to better care for patients.” My response to this is that doctors of chiropractic are trained to relieve pain without drugs, and they’ve been doing it for over 120 years. Doctors of chiropractic undergo a similar number of hours of study as their medical counterparts, with much of that time focused on the musculoskeletal system of the body and its integral relationship with the nervous system. That’s what makes chiropractic so effective when dealing with aches and pains. Chiropractors do not prescribe drugs for pain, so patients who utilize chiropractic care for the relief and elimination of pain/discomfort run no risk of dependence or addiction. Chiropractic is 100% natural, and therefore safe for people of all ages.
The article points out that medical doctors feel they have no effective options for treating patients’ pain, aside from prescription painkillers. Chiropractic should be the physicians’ number one choice for relieving patients’ pain, rather than prescribing addictive opioids. Once a patient has experienced chiropractic treatment, he or she will often return to the chiropractor for the relief and/or treatment of other ailments, having benefited from chiropractic care for his/her initial condition. Most of the patients who are referred to me are in fact referred by my existing patients, who tell them, “Chiropractic worked for me. You should try it.” These referred patients usually don’t come in as the result of being referred by medical doctors. When a patient goes to a medical doctor for a headache, for example, rarely does that doctor refer the patient to a chiropractor. Instead, pain medication is the first line of “treatment”. But where prescription painkillers mask pain, chiropractic determines, addresses and corrects the underlying problem that’s causing the pain in the first place! And isn’t it more desirable to fix the source of pain than to mask it with drugs?
The article’s author does a disservice to the public by not mentioning chiropractic care as an ideal, proven pain relief alternative to medication. This might be simply due to a lack of exposure or knowledge on the author’s part about chiropractic, what it entails, and how it works. And while the author is not at fault for this, this omission of chiropractic as an alternative pain relief method translates to a missed opportunity to educate the general public about the benefits of chiropractic care.
If new patients seek chiropractic care only when it is recommended by an acquaintance, this leaves it up to chance. What we really need is for medical doctors to recommend chiropractic care as an alternative for pain relief.
Over the years, an increasing number of people have been utilizing chiropractic care to feel better and live a healthier lifestyle. Some stigmas still exist due to lack of knowledge and/or experience of chiropractic care. These preconceived notions are hard to change and overcome, which is why I wrote the letter to the Argus Leader Editor. It’s very hard to change the way things are done in the medical field. Changes happen gradually and slowly.
Here in South Dakota, we are fortunate because The Midwest is the “Bible Belt” of chiropractic; chiropractic care is widely accepted by the general population, and many individuals have a chiropractor whom they see regularly. This is likely due to the fact that chiropractic is natural and so effective, and Midwesterners are hard-working people; we don’t want to lie around and wait to “get better” - we want the problem solved so we can get back to work!
Anyone wondering if chiropractic is right for them should ask an acquaintance to give them a recommendation for a chiropractor they utilize and trust. At Reinecke Chiropractic, we offer a variety of pain solutions. We will conduct an examination to determine the exact cause of your pain, and then develop a plan of treatment. The great thing about chiropractic is that usually the cause of the pain/discomfort is fairly obvious. Pain may be caused by muscle weakness in the spine, a joint malfunction, or something more complicated. Whatever the problem, we’ll identify and address it. All of the chiropractors at Reinecke Chiropractic are experienced in the newest and latest innovations in chiropractic care, and we utilize a wide variety of treatment methods and therapies to correct the problem and alleviate the patients’ pain.
If you’re curious about chiropractic or are interested in trying something natural and proven to relieve your pain, call us today!