The Friday Five – Drug-Free Pain Management Awareness Month
Each September, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (@F4CP), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the value of chiropractic care, sponsors National Drug-Free Pain Management Awareness Month. The annual designation is an opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, along with the benefits of drug-free options, such as chiropractic care, to safely and effectively relieve acute, subacute and chronic back pain. This week’s Friday Five offers 5 Pain Management Trends to Be Aware Of courtesy of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP).
Pain is prevalent across all ages
A 17-year study published in April, discovered “extensive escalation of pain prevalence” across adult men and women in the U.S. ages 25 through 84. The study found the steepest increases in joint pain, which increased by 21% over the 17-year period, and for low back and neck pain (15% and 16% increases). Researchers note that their findings “support the need for broad interdisciplinary research on, and interventions for effective responses to, the growing problem of pain in the United States.”
People are dying from inappropriate pain management
In December 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a press release linking the significant mental health and economic disruption caused by COVID-19 to a record 81,000 deaths between May 2019 and May 2020. Provisional data from the CDC, which is not yet finalized, shows this upward trajectory has continued unabated, reaching 90,000 deaths for the 12 months ending in November 2020.
Pain, opioid-use and heroin are closely linked
An August 2020 study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence shows that an inability to obtain prescription opioids is associated with the initiation of heroin use. Such findings are echoed in a National Institute on Drug Abuse report released in June 2021 which also found prescription opioids often precede heroin use and that many individuals with an opioid-use disorder report that they transitioned from prescription drugs to heroin due to lower cost and ease of access.
Many types of pain can be managed without drugs
A recent study found that harmful medication-related incidents occurred 42 times more often in senior patients who were first prescribed opioids as opposed to patients who first received spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). Doctors of Chiropractic deliver nearly 97% of SMT in the U.S., according to a recent analysis of claims data covering a 12-month experience in a national commercially insured population. Adverse drug events can include medication errors, overdoses or other drug reactions that cause harm to the patient.
Inverse association between chiropractic and patients using opioids
Similarly, a December 2020 study in Pain Medicine found patients with spinal pain who saw a chiropractor had half the risk of filling an opioid prescription. Among those who saw a chiropractor within 30 days of diagnosis, risk reduction was greater as compared with those with their first visit after the acute phase.
“During Drug-Free Pain Management Awareness Month, we recognize pain and opioid-use disorders continue to be closely linked and growing public health problems that require an interdisciplinary care model that more often includes drug-free care, such as chiropractic, as a first-line approach,” said Sherry McAllister, DC, president of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. “Chiropractic care alone cannot solve these urgent and complex challenges, but it can certainly play a significant role. Doctors of chiropractic across the nation are eager to do their part to help reverse these trends.”
About the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress
A not-for-profit organization with over 29,000 members, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) informs and educates the general public about the value of chiropractic care delivered by doctors of chiropractic (DC) and its role in drug-free pain management. Visit www.f4cp.org/findadoc; call 866-901-F4CP (3427).
National Drug-Free Pain Management Awareness Month occurs every September to raise public awareness about the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter pain medications.