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Chiropractors Praise Federal Opioid Legislation

Since March, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have pushed forward legislation to control opioid use in the United States. The legislation included the John Thomas Decker Act, which aims to increase research on opioid education available to athletes and their families, provisions for alternatives to opioids, and drug-addiction resources. These federal actions have earned the praise of the American Chiropractic Association because of the prevalence of opioid use for neck and back pain.  Opioid pain medications are not uncommon methods of treatment for chronic neck and back pain. However, these medications simply mask the pain rather than treat the source of the discomfort, and can result in devastating consequences like addition, depressed respiration (slowed breathing), brain damage, and in the case of overdoses, even death. Particularly for back and neck pain, as well as soft tissue injuries like those to the ligaments and tendons, opioid prescription is common and widespread, and can lead to long-term use.  While legislation to control opioid use is an important step, ACA President David Herd explained that there is still more to do. "Efforts must now be directed toward educating health care providers and the public about conservative forms of pain management," he said, adding that "chiropractic physicians are well positioned to serve as a first line of defense in the conservative management of acute and chronic pain." Rather than relying on long-term opioid use to manage chronic pain, chiropractic care is a non-invasive, safe, and effective alternative that addresses and resolves the source of pain. Rethinking chronic pain and treatment in a way that places focus on the cause of the pain, and not the symptoms, can pave the way for better health outcomes for patients.

Source: American Chiropractic Association. May 24, 2016