The Opiod or Pain Medicine Crisis and What Can Be Done

Did you know that the United States represents 5% of the worlds population yet consumes over 50% of the pharmaceutical drugs produced.  We supposedly have the latest and greatest research, trials and the most money invested into figuring out how to treat serious health issues.  Did you also know that as far as positive health care outcomes from all sort of different treatments,(surgeries and medicine), the United States is ranked 37th world wide.

This being said, I believe there is a time and a place for medicine; it saves lives every day and works great under emergency situations.  When it comes to non-emergency situations and protocols to treat chronic health conditions, (fatigue, pain, diabetes, arthritis, migraine headaches, reflux etc.),  this is where we are failing miserably.

First of all when talking about opiod drugs or pain medicine I think it is important to know the two different approaches to health and health care.

Wholism versus Reductionism- The Two Approaches To Health Care.

We have Wholism which states the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts; meaning the body works best with all of it’s cells, tissues, organs, and systems contributing to increased health, well-being, radiance and resilience. Some of the basic foundations of Wholism and optimal health are:

  1. Expressing a positive, creative spirit
  2. Healthy, loving relationships
  3. Whole food diet and good quality nutritional supplements.
  4. Regular physical exercise, functional movements.
  5. Quality and adequate rest, physical and mental.
  6. Purpose-living with a clear purpose, what you are here for.

The basis for Wholism is to see what is working in the body and build on that; to build on what’s right for a person’s health.

The second approach is call Reductionism which is the basis for modern conventional Western medicine.  This perspective has a principle of reducing each part down to the smallest component, which really negates that the body works best when all of it’s parts are working together.  The main principle of Reductionism is to identify and attack what is wrong in the body; this is a big part of how pharmaceutical medicine and opiods work.  When I mean work, I don’t mean getting good results; I just mean managing symptoms.  If you look at the definition of a drug it states a synthetic chemical reaction administered to cause a physiological change for the purpose of suppressing or managing a symptom.

I am paraphrasing the book “Nature vs. Drugs”, they go to describe the situation as “a challenge to the Drugging Fraternity, which, while immense progress has been made in all other sciences, still maintains, just as it did centuries ago, that a sick person has to be poisoned in order to be cured”

Does it make sense that the people addicted to opiod drugs have been poisoned and unfortunately not cured?  Opiod drugs are basically forcing a chemical reaction to occur so the person doesn’t feel the pain.  Is it at all possible for the body to get used to pain medication?, to require more pain medication over months and months due to the body getting used to it and it no longer being as effective?  I have personally seen patients come into my office who have taken 4 Vicodin that day; for one they say it hasn’t even touched the pain, and secondly how did they even drive to my office after taking 4 really strong pain pills?  I am not a medical doctor or a veterinary doctor but I wouldn’t be surprised if an elephant was effected by taking 4 Vicodin; probably just want to lay down and go to sleep.

William Osler- described as the father of modern medicine lived by this purpose to give the patient the best health possible…“One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine”

Did you know that last year American’s spent over 800 billion dollars a year on over-the-counter pain medicine, meaning ibuprofen, Tylenol, other NSAID’s and anti-inflammatory drugs.  One can see that even if people suffering in pain are not taking dangerous, addictive opiods; they are taking dangerous over-the-counter medicine.

The Questions To Ask

Questions that are often asked by patients are how serious is my condition or pain and what can you do to help me? It is fine to know the dangers of opiods and other pain medications but what are the alternatives to dealing with, fixing, or correcting the pain?  I have been a chiropractor and nutritionist for over 17 years and my answer is that you have to find the underlying or root cause of the pain or condition and then have a plan to treat or correct it; how can the pain ever go away if the patient has no idea what’s causing it?

What’s Causing My Pain?

As a chiropractor I can tell you from experience that the main causes of pain in the body are: scar tissue, spine/nerve irritation, and circulation problems.  Scar tissue can be caused by serious injuries like falls or car accidents but also by repetitive micro-traumas like postural stress, computer work, exercise and even sleeping.  Postural stresses causes significant stress and tension on the muscles surrounding the spine, eventually causing injury, leading to tissue damage and scar tissue.  Who would have thought it was so easy to have scar tissue form in the body?  Postural stress also causes significant stress on the spine and nerves which eventually causes a subluxation; meaning a partial dislocation; if that sounds painful than you are correct; it is.  Subluxations and scar tissue will cause blood flow to be stuck; if circulation is not happening near the site of an injury than it has a real hard time healing, plane and simple.

Most people suffering with chronic aches and pains will have scar tissue, subluxations or circulation issues; usually a combination of all of them.  Until this is addressed and corrected through treatment the chronic pain will…well remain chronic and not go away.  Do they make a medicine that corrects subluxations and scar tissue? Not yet and I don’t see it ever happening; it’s just not possible to positively effect structure,(spine and scar tissue), with a pill.

What Can Be Done?

This is where chiropractic care comes in; think of this as restorative health care; giving the body what it needs to correct and fix the root cause of the problem; then and only then will the pain go away and things return back to normal.  Using chiropractic adjustments and manual scar tissue releasing techniques the scar tissue will disappear, subluxations will be re-aligned or corrected and circulation will return to normal. If this sound really simple and easy…it is, there is no magic here just the body healing and repairing itself naturally with a little help from their chiropractor.  Unfortunately many people have accepted chronic pain as “normal”, no, no, no…this is the furthest thing from normal and most likely these folks have never been to see a chiropractor.  The majority of people who come in to my office who are suffering with chronic pain have been taking medicine for chronic pain for 5, 10, 15 + years; how do you think that’s working for them?

Are you any different from the majority of people suffering in pain?  Do you now believe that pain is a serious issue that won’t go away by taking medicine to just feel better?  Now that you know the main causes of pain in the body are you up for doing something about it; something more natural that you have most likely not experienced before?

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