There is no question whatsoever that both sales and use of over the counter and prescription pain medications are on the rise. Global sales of pain medications were $22 billion for 2010, which represented a growth rate of almost 9 percent since 2005. The top five prescription pain medications (OxyContin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, Celebrex, and Lidoderm) accounted for more than 76 percent of those global sales. Although some of these medications are used for acute pain, the most common use is for chronic pain. In fact, a 2011 study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that more than half of patients prescribed opioid pain medications, such as morphine, codeine, or OxyContin, were still taking them five years later. Patients taking opioid medications for more than 90 days were more likely to have taken these medications before and been given doses greater than 120 mg.
There certainly must be a better way to help patients manage their acute or chronic pain symptoms. Dr. Nathen Horst believes that there is a better, more effective, treatment for pain than taking medications that are expensive and addictive, and may have unpleasant side effects. Chiropractic care has been proven safe and effective, as well as non-addictive.
What Causes Pain?
Patients are often told that their pain is “just in their head.” Oddly, in a certain way, this statement is true. The specificity theory of pain states that it is the result of certain brain receptors directly sending signals through a dedicated pathway to the central and peripheral nervous systems. However, it is somewhat more complex than that. There are a number of theories regarding the cause of pain, but one of the most intriguing is gate theory, which states that the brain may actually modulate pain signals through a gate mechanism in the spinal cord. If the gate is open, pain messages get through to the brain. If the gate is closed, those messages may not get through. It also theorizes that acute and chronic pain may use two different pathways to and from the nervous system.
How Can Chiropractic Reduce Dependence on Pain Medication?
Pain researchers all agree that the spine and central and peripheral nervous systems play a central role in how pain is perceived and transmitted to and from the brain. It is not difficult to imagine that if the spine is out of alignment, both the spinal cord and a number of these nerves may be pinched or constricted, which could increase pain levels for the patient. When Dr. Horst performs a spinal adjustment, he eases the spine back into proper alignment, thereby relieving pressure on the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. This may reduce pain, and so therefore reduce the need for pain medication.
Patients taking pain medication for long-term chronic pain are at higher risk of adverse side effects and drug interactions, as well as addiction. Chiropractic care may provide a safe, effective way for them to break the cycle of drug dependence, and reduce or eliminate their chronic pain.
Contact Horst Chiropractic today.