More and more studies are being done to determine common trends in medical treatments for back pain. Studies show an alarming rise in the number of opiates being prescribed, often for extended periods. According to patient testimonies, opiate reliance is on the rise. Patients (and their caretakers) are beginning to opt for surgery and prescription drugs more often than seeking noninvasive methods of treatment. This combination can leave patients with painful medical complications for the rest of their lives, which is as unfortunate as it is avoidable.
Studies have not shown, however, what long-term effects patients with back pain experience while taking prescription medications. When people have spine related injuries and diseases, prescribing opiates is comparable to taping together a broken pair of glasses. Sure, you can see clearly, but how long will that tape hold together? Opiates are good for pain and only pain. They do not heal the underlying problem.
Back problems are inherently physical problems. If a patient has back alignment problems or a pinched nerve, medication isn’t a viable solution, as it is only able to mask the symptoms of a larger problem. And because it covers up the warning mechanism of pain, it can actually make injuries and illnesses worse. The only effective treatment options for back pain are, first – physical approaches like chiropractic care, acupuncture and physical therapy. Second, medication to manage pain and inflammation and LAST is surgery, but only when all other methods have exhausted.
Risk of Addiction
Opioid medication also poses the risk of addiction for patients. Opiate reliance is something many patients report. Not only is the risk for opiate addiction very high for those who abuse their prescriptions, but taking the medications as directed by a doctor can also become an issue for patients. By their nature, opioids have diminishing returns for pain relief. Patients find themselves taking more and more of a drug for less and less relief. Which isn’t helped by doctors who make a habit of increasing dosages without considering the CAUSE of the pain and using alternative treatments to treat it.
Thankfully, there are some treatments that can non-invasively help those with back pain avoid the use of opiates and risk of opiate reliance. Limiting bedrest without over working yourself can help you gain back strength after injury. Placing pillows either beneath or between your knees when you sleep can help alleviate pressure on the back. Utilizing heat and ice as pain arises can keep you from relying too much on medications. Consult your chiropractic doctor for more information. If you stay active, even minimally, you can accelerate the healing processes of the body.
Make sure to follow-up with your chiropractic physician and/or an acupuncturist. Acupuncture has been shown to stop and help heal back pain in patients. It often does more than prescription pain medications. Chiropractic doctors, likewise, have alternative treatment methods that they can help patients that need relief. Together, these two treatment methods can improve your quality of life as you heal. They can manage your pain, all without the risks of surgery and drug use. Call Dr. Michael Newman and his compassionate staff at 305-666-1402 to learn more about this issue or to make an appointment.