Chiropractic Physicians Urge Conservative Treatments for Pain Amid Opioid Epidemic
During National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM) this October, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) will bring attention to the public health crisis caused by pain, and in particular the overuse of prescription painkillers, with the theme #PainFreeNation. The campaign is part of the chiropractic profession's ongoing efforts to educate the public about the value of exhausting conservative forms of care for both acute and chronic pain before resorting to higher risk options, such as opioids.
National Chiropractic Health Month is a nationwide observance that helps raise public awareness of the benefits of chiropractic services and the profession’s natural, whole-person, patient-centered approach to health and wellness.
"Opioid medications involve the risk of overuse and addiction. Beyond this, prescription drugs that numb pain may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is, or that it has healed. This misunderstanding can lead to overexertion and a delay in the healing process or even to permanent injury," explains ACA President Anthony Hamm, DC.
President Hamm notes that people in pain should be informed of all management strategies, including non-drug approaches such as chiropractic, to reduce their risk of overuse and addiction.
"Each patient is unique, and care plans should be tailored to focus on what is the safest, most effective treatment for the individual. Chiropractic physicians stand ready to work together with medical physicians to help address this epidemic that has caused unnecessary suffering, enormous loss of human potential and massive financial and personal costs," he adds.
Fortunately, health care quality organizations have begun to recognize the value of this conservative, multidisciplinary approach. Earlier this year, the Joint Commission, which certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including every major hospital, revised its pain management standard to include chiropractic services and acupuncture. Clinical experts in pain management who provide input to the commission's standards affirmed that treatment strategies may consider both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches.
The American Chiropractic Association based in Arlington, Va., is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of ethics and patient care, contributing to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients. Visit www.acatoday.org.