With millions of Americans now reliant on opioids prescribed by doctors, Dr. Scott Zack reveals how alternative therapies may be key to fighting the nation’s growing opioid crisis.
In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died following opioid overdoses, including both prescription and non-prescription, illicit drugs, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. During the same year, it was also estimated that approximately 1.7 million people in the United States struggled with addiction to prescription-only opioid pain relievers, as reported by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.
“1.7 million people, suffering from substance use disorders tied to prescription opioid painkillers, reflects a number which is more than 2.5 times greater than the estimated 650,000 who struggled with the illicit drug heroin during the same period,” reveals Dr. Scott Zack, an established Michigan-based primary care provider, and chiropractor. This, he says, only serves to further highlight the current and growing problem surrounding prescription opioid abuse and misuse in the United States.
The so-called economic burden of opioid abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is believed to be in the region of $78.5 billion per year. “This includes the costs of lost productivity, addiction treatment, healthcare, and criminal justice involvement,” explains Dr. Zack.
What’s now essential, then, according to the chiropractor and primary care provider, is that instead of immediately looking to opioid medications as a solution for pain management, doctors instead must also look toward forms of alternative therapies, such as chiropractic care. “Ultimately,” Dr. Zack suggests, “opioids simply mask pain, while therapy, such as chiropractic care, heals it instead.”
Opioids, he says, are a quick fix, and no evidence exists to suggest that opioid medications are capable of helping to improve function in patients who rely on them. “This is where chiropractic medicine differs,” adds the expert.
Dr. Scott Zack continues, “Instead of a pill which is effective for a few hours, chiropractic care allows a patient to feel good in the long term, without reliance on dangerous medications, and proven to afford improved function in patients with often longstanding, highly painful health complaints.”
Studies have shown that, of various alternative therapies, chiropractic medicine in particular can, by simultaneously increasing range of motion and bolstering pain thresholds neurologically, help patients to achieve a level of ongoing, natural relief from pain, entirely without the need for prescription medication or other drugs.
“Alternative therapies, I believe,” adds Dr. Zack, wrapping up, “should represent the first port of call in many instances when dealing with new pain complaints, and pose a viable alternative for patients already reliant on opioids and similar medications.”