Last month, our local online newspaper, MLTnews.com, had a compelling story about the heroin epidemic in Snohomish County. I was struck by one quote in particular from a University of Washington researcher, who was explaining what influences teens to start using opioids — usually oxycodone, and usually obtained from their parents’ medicine cabinet. (Turns out that many teens then turn to heroin, as it’s cheaper and easier to obtain.)
Throughout their childhood, these young addicts saw seeing parents and others overusing and abusing drugs and painkillers, the researcher said. “If you grow up hearing people complain about pain and taking pills to address this, and seeing people using drugs recreationally, you’re more likely to carry this pattern into later life,” he noted.
It’s no coincidence that this year’s focus of National Chiropractic Health Month — celebrated in October — is on the public health crisis caused by pain, and in particular the overuse of prescription painkillers. The campaign is part of the chiropractic profession’s ongoing efforts to educate the public about the value of exhausting conservative forms of care for both acute and chronic pain before resorting to higher- risk options, such as opioids.
As a chiropractor, I advise my patients that taking prescription drugs for pain masks the symptoms without addressing the underlying problem. That may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is, or that it has healed. This misunderstanding can lead to overexertion and a delay in the healing process or even to permanent injury.
I believe that people in pain should be informed of all management strategies, including non-drug approaches such as chiropractic, to reduce their risk of overuse and addiction.
If you are in pain, why not take the conservative approach first and see if chiropractic can help, without drugs or surgery? Call our office at 425-778-9600 for your consultation.
— Dr. Waldron