Using opioid pain killers may actually prolong chronic pain for patients. The University of Colorado in Boulder released a study showing that following a traumatic nerve injury using morphine can actually prolong the recovery. The opioid drug causes an irritation to the nerve in what they call a “double hit hypothesis.” Meaning the nerve is damaged twice from the initial injury then again with the medication to decrease the pain.
Not many people are walking around out there taking morphine for pain killers, but opioid drugs are used to treat chronic pain, and especially back pain that I see a lot of in my practice. I have seen a trend changing towards using a round of steroids to decrease inflammation and boost the immune system for acute pain in patients. Seems to be a better choice over the addictive pain medications, but of course any medication is going to have a side effect. In the chiropractic world we say there are three things that cause subluxations that cause nerve compression and pain. Stress, Trauma and Toxins. Stress is obvious we have all had those days or weeks. Trauma is a fall on the ice or even prolonged sitting at a desk chair or long car ride. Toxins are drugs that we put in our bodies. Whether it be caffeine, ibuprofen or opioid drugs, these all have a result on your musculoskeletal system.
Chiropractic care provides a drug free treatment for both acute and chronic pain. If you follow along I have been talking about the recent Gallup Poll showing the effectiveness of chiropractic care. Results and satisfaction with chiropractic care are great. Roughly 90% of patients feel they have improved with care and would recommended care to a friend or family member.