Chiropractic Care vs. Prescription Pain Medication: Which Option is Best for You?

It certainly seems that prescription medications are more commonplace these days.  Across all demographics, the regular use of these drugs seems to be mounting, and the overmedication of Americans has become a common topic of interest.  However, most are not aware of the hard and fast numbers.  A recent study by the Mayo Clinic put some startling statistics to a problem we were already well aware of: 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug.

According to the researchers, just over half use two prescriptions and a surprising 20 percent take five or more.  Among the most commonly prescribed drugs are painkillers and antidepressants.  Not surprisingly, additional research has found a direct correlation between regular use of painkiller opioids and depression.  It’s a cycle that, once it begins, can be incredibly difficult to break.  As overuse of these drugs continues to rise, the incident of overdose fatalities skyrockets.  In 2010, five times as many women died from painkiller overdoses compared to just ten years prior

What Can Be Done about the Opioid Epidemic?

Evidence that dependence on prescription painkillers can result in devastating consequences continues to mount.  As it does, patients and physicians alike are beginning to realize the true importance of alternative treatment options.  If the need for such strong medications can be reduced, side effects such as depression and even instances of death can be greatly diminished.

The unfortunate truth is that many patients do little to protect their bodies and health until problems have already begun to arise and debilitating pain has already set in.  In many cases, injuries that may not seem so severe at first are left untended and are allowed to develop into much more critical problems.  Given the number of these cases with pain originating in the back and neck, chiropractors are especially skilled at bringing relief before the condition escalates to a point of dependence on pain medications or even surgery.  In fact, a study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine in 2012 revealed that patients who regularly saw a chiropractor had a 75 percent reduction in their neck pain, while only 33 percent of those who took prescription pain killers saw improvement.

How Does Chiropractic Help Relieve Chronic Pain?

The primary problem with treating an ongoing condition with pain medication is that the underlying cause of the pain is never addressed.  Over time, use of these medications can even result in an inability to tolerate pain and the need for higher doses.  Chiropractic physicians, on the other hand, work to address chronic pain in a few ways:

  • Spinal Adjustments – Subluxations, or misalignments, in the spine can lead to pressure on nerves, causing a host of uncomfortable conditions, including chronic back and neck pain.  These subluxations may often be the result of physical trauma.  Through adjustments, chiropractors can gently restore proper alignment of the spine, bringing relief.
  • Spinal Decompression – Like manual adjustments, spinal decompression helps to relieve subluxations, and is particularly helpful for conditions such as herniated or bulging discs, sciatica, and degenerative disc disease.
  • Lifestyle Changes – Diet and specific exercises targeted to strengthen and stretch the affected area can also promote healing and comfort.  When combined with traditional chiropractic care, these elements become part of a non-invasive and natural healing plan.
  • Acupuncture and Massage – These two therapies are often used in conjunction with chiropractic care.  Acupuncture has been shown through multiple studies to effectively reduce pain from a number of ailments, while massage may contribute to a quicker recovery, easier chiropractic adjustments, and increased range of motion.

America’s increasing prescription narcotic epidemic is leading to higher rates of overdose and increased reports of depression and anxiety.  While pain may be temporarily relieved, over time, higher doses will be required and side effects with life-altering consequences may be felt.  By addressing underlying causes of pain, chiropractic care has been shown to offer more dramatic and longer lasting pain relief without the downsides of prescription drugs. 

If you suffer from chronic pain and are searching for a long-term solution, contact SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers.  With locations in Gastonia and Belmont, NC, we are able to offer patients quality care at a location that is convenient to them.  Click here to request an appointment with one of our skilled physicians.