In the United States today it is estimated that more than 33 million Americans ages 12 and older have misused prescription opiate drugs. That astounding figure has risen from 29 million in just five years, and each year nearly 50,000 ER visits are due to opiate drugs. In addition, nearly 1 in 12 employees who were prescribed narcotic pain medicine due to being injured on the job were still taking the medications six months later, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.
These drugs are being used to treat long-term chronic pain but in many cases the pain does not improve nor does the patient’s ability to perform normal day-to-day functions show any improvement. While there are programs in place for the implementation of things such as psychological screening to help reduce narcotic use or determine if a patient would not be a good candidate for narcotic pain reliever use, it is estimated that only 4-7% of injured workers receive this type of evaluation and less than 25% of injured workers who were on the medications long-term received at least one drug test, which is also used to monitor the use and aims to prevent misuse of the medications.
While opiate drugs have known benefits when used properly, the potential risks and serious consequences when used improperly are causing an epidemic in our country. Even the White House has become involved and last April took measures to reduces the misuse and mis-prescribing of opiates. This FDA-backed program called Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis includes the following:
- Expansion of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs
- Recommending convenient and environmentally responsible ways to remove unused medications from homes
- Supporting education for patients and health care providers
- Reducing the number of “pill mills” and doctor-shopping through law enforcement
- Increased and on-going education, proper patient selection and patient awareness about drug safety
Tens of millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain, or pain lasting more than six months in duration, making it one of the most common health problems facing Americans today. In addition to the physical aspects, the emotional toll that it takes can actually make the pain worse. Consequently, the need for pain management is in high demand. There are alternatives to the use of opiate medications however, and treatments such as Chiropractic Neurology are showing that patient’s can not just mask the pain but gain real improvement without the use of drugs.
Where many treatments start with the patient’s report of the pain, Chiropractic Neurology seeks to not only identify where there is pain but to discover WHY there is pain. Pin pointing the reason for the pain is the first step in effective treatment and since each patient’s needs are different, having a doctor who works one-on-one with patients and treats each case specifically is incredibly important. Dr Ellis and his staff at Georgia Chiropractic and Neurology center believe in this approach and seek to treat the patient, not just the pain. The brain-based therapies that Dr. Ellis uses are non-invasive and best of all drug-free. Understanding how the brain and nervous system work together to coordinate functions in our body and marrying techniques from psychology, neurology and chiropractic care allows the doctor to asses the patient’s complete health picture and follow the right course of treatment for that individual. This type of treatment is fast-acting as well, with many patients reporting improvement in as little as one visit; a vastly different approach that traditional, and costly, drug therapies.
Do you, or someone you know, suffer from chronic pain or another ailment that has not been effectively treated with traditional medical therapies or drugs? You can find more information throughout our website on safe, effective and non-invasive treatment options. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment to review your case.