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Crist Chiropractic & Wellness | Article

Tennesseans Dying to Hear Message of Conservative Chiropractic Care

10/13/2015
Just last Monday, the front-page of the Tennessean reported that at least 1,263 Tennesseans died last year from opioid overdoses, up 97 deaths from 2013. Citing the situation as “an epidemic sweeping across the state, affecting people in both small towns and big cities,” the article went on to say that more people died in 2014 from opioid overdose in Ten­nessee than in car accidents or by gunshots. While this has been a major focus of the Haslam administration, the state remains a leader in the number of prescription painkillers per person.

According to another report by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH), prescription drug abuse has quickly become a top national public health concern, as misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers alone costs the country an estimated $53.4 billion a year in lost productivity, medical costs and criminal justice costs. In the report, TFAH (in consul­tation with a number of public health, clinical, injury prevention, law enforcement and community organization experts) reviewed a range of national recommendations and examined a set of 10 indicators of strategies being used in states to help curb the epidemic. Optimistically, Tennessee scored seven out of 10 on the new Policy Report Card of Promising Strategies to Help Curb Prescription Drug Abuse including one key recommendation, to expand access to and availabil­ity of effective treatment options as a key component of any strategy to combat prescription drug abuse.

Putting this recommendation into action, the TCA consistently educates the public, legislators, employers and others of the proven benefits of chiropractic care as an alternative to prescription painkillers. Chiropractic physicians are the high­est rated healthcare practitioners for low-back pain treatments above physical therapists, specialist physicians/MDs (i.e., neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons), and primary care physicians/MDs (i.e., family or internal medicine). Plus, a systematic review in 2010 found that most studies suggest spinal manipulation achieves equal or superior im­provement in pain and function when compared with other commonly used interventions for short, intermedi­ate, and long-term follow-up.

Most people who become addicted to opioids are not looking to abuse, the Tennessean reports. A car wreck or week­end accident may be the one incident that introduces a patient in pain to a dependency and addiction. With prescription pain drug abuse now classified as an epidemic in the United States and the number of spinal fusions soaring 500% over the last decade, the essential services provided by chiropractic physicians represent a primary care approach for the prevention, diagnosis and conservative management of back pain and spinal disorders that can often enable patients to reduce or avoid the need for these riskier treatments.