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Chiropractor for Algonquin and Lake in the Hills
Photo of opioid pill bottles.

How Does Chiropractic Care Reduce Opioid Addiction?

Chiropractic Care Can Play a Key Role in Combating the Nation’s Opioid Addiction Epidemic

Opioid Addiction, a class of prescription medications used to treat pain, now qualifies as a “national public health emergency”. Who can help us get this epidemic under control? According to research, one group that may play a leading role is chiropractors. Chiropractic care reduces the use of opioids and can help combat this epidemic—here’s how.

Opioid Addiction Have Become a Leading Killer of Americans



President Trump recently declared the opioid addiction epidemic a “national public health emergency,” and with good reason.

Drug overdose deaths increased over 20% in 2016—the biggest jump ever recorded. There were 64,000 recorded deaths attributed to accidental drug overdose that year. This makes drug overdose the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.

More than two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths were from opioids, including both prescription opioids like oxycodone and illicit opioids like heroin. This means opioids are the main driver of the country’s drug overdose epidemic.

Prescriptions Lead to Addiction to More Dangerous Drugs

Those figures on opioid deaths includes deaths caused by heroin and other illicit drugs, but the real source of the opioid addiction epidemic is prescription painkillers.

First, people get an opioid addiction from prescription painkillers. Then, when they lose access to those or build up a tolerance, they often transition to cheaper and more potent opioids like fentanyl and heroin.

In 2016, traditional prescription opioids killed 14,400 Americans, illicit synthetic opioids like fentanyl killed 20,100, and heroin killed 15,400. Demand for fentanyl is driven by people who started with prescription opioids, and research similarly shows that 75% of heroin users started with painkillers.

Because prescription painkillers are a “gateway to opioid addiction,” reducing the number of prescriptions is key to fighting the overdose addiction epidemic.

Chiropractors Reduce Prescriptions to Opioids

Picture of prescription painkillers that lead to opioid addiction.
Many Americans get addicted to opioids after being prescribed painkillers.

So, who’s writing all those prescriptions? Here’s what the research says:

  • Doctors of Chiropractic write 0.0% of opioid prescriptions
  • Primary care MDs write 28.8%
  • Internists write 14.6%
  • Orthopaedic Surgeons write 7.7%.

Research also shows that chiropractic care reduces the number of patient visits to primary care MDs. That’s because chiropractic works: 94% of lower back pain patients experience significant pain reduction after 4 weeks of chiropractic care, compared to only 56% after 4 weeks of medical care.

As a result, the number of chiropractors per capita correlates to a lower number of opioid prescriptions in that area. Chiropractors don’t write the prescriptions themselves, and make you less likely to visit an MD who will prescribe opioids.

Chiropractic care is playing a key role in combatting the opioid addiction epidemic in the US. If you want effective treatment for your back pain or other painful condition, you’re better off getting chiropractic care than going to a primary care MD.

Algonquin Chiropractic Center has been providing that effective treatment for decades. When you come in for a consultation, we’ll give you a thorough examination and review all the treatment options with you, instead of just prescribing a dangerous drug to mask the pain.

For effective care that avoids unnecessary addictive drugs, call Algonquin Chiropractic Center at (847) 854-2000 today!

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