Many people suffer from acute or chronic pain. Spinal conditions, such as neck and lower back pain, contribute to a significant amount of those suffering various degrees of discomfort. This article will address safe alternative treatment options for pain- and non-drug options to combat our nations opioid epidemic.

We all know that those suffering from pain can take various measures to gain relief. For minor aches and pains resting while the condition heals tends to work most of the time. On occasion, a person may utilize an over-the-counter medication, a topical ointment or cream a cold pack or heating pad to assist in returning to comfort.

When discomfort becomes more intense and possibly unbearable many seek care from a medical healthcare practitioner. These types of healthcare providers may recommend treatment with a prescription medication.

There are also alternative treatment options for pain like chiropractic care, massage, physical therapy and acupuncture.

Patients and their healthcare providers should work together to find each individuals requirement to control pain.

We all know that a type of medication called opioids, has been and is being used for pain control. Opioids such as Percocet, oxycodone, hydrocodone in others are commonly used. Originally, these types of medications were intended for people who had intractable pain such as those suffering from terminal cancer. These pharmaceuticals tend to be addictive. Unfortunately, these drugs have also been prescribed for those suffering discomfort that might be handled through other means.

Overuse and abuse of opioids has taken a severe toll on the lives of tens of thousands in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes as many as one in four patients who receive prescription opioids long-term for noncancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction. More than 1000 people are treated daily in emergency rooms for misusing prescription opioids.

Much research has been done to seek nonpharmacological alternatives to pain control. In 2017, the American College of Physicians recommended using noninvasive, nondrug treatments before resorting to pharmaceutical therapies. The American Medical Association and the CDC have also called for using nonpharmacological approaches to pain management.

Experts have noted that chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists and acupuncturists have had great degree of success in providing patients relief of discomfort they desire. Approaches used by these types of practitioners may not only give relief of pain but can correct the original cause of condition and promote healing.

The state of West Virginia is to be commended in being in the vanguard when addressing the opioid epidemic. Governor Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 273, “Reducing Use of Certain Prescription Drugs” into law effective June 7, 2018. This legislation mandates insurance companies to cover 20 visits of alternative therapies, such as chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy and acupuncture as a nonpharmacological treatment approach for those suffering from pain. Additionally, patients will not require a referral from a PCP or other practitioner to access alternative therapies.

Since scientific research recommends nonpharmacological, noninvasive methods of pain control it seems it would be wise for other states and even the federal government to adopt safer methods for pain control and management.

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