In response to the opioid epidemic, the CDC has issued statements and guidelines to help educate doctors about the dangers of opioid use and abuse. In a press briefing, CDC Director Tom Frieden remarked: “Plainly stated, the risks of opioids are addiction and death, and the benefits for chronic pain are often transient and generally unproven.”
The agency, while not a regulatory agency, issued recommendations for prescribing doctors which they hope will help reduce the over-use of opioid medications for chronic pain. They note that while opioids may have benefits for palliative care, cancer patients and end-of-life treatment, they should not be utilized on a regular basis for chronic pain.
According to Deborah Dowell, a senior medical advisor at the CDC and co-author of the guidelines, chronic pain patients take up to 70% of opioid prescriptions written. However, they only account for about 5% of the patients taking the medications. The rate of addiction and overdose is also disproportionately higher among chronic pain patients as compared to other patients.
CDC Director Frieden acknowledged “The prescription overdose epidemic is doctor-driven. . . . . . It can be reversed, in part, by doctors’ actions.”
For acute and chronic pain patients, the CDC recommends doctors try conservative care first, then try low risk medications such as muscle relaxers. If conservative care is not successful, then the doctor should still give serious consideration before moving to an opioid prescription. If given, the CDC suggests the lowest dosage for the shortest possible time, and the patient should be monitored closely.
Thankfully, there is a proven alternative to opioids within the conservative care options available to the public. Chiropractic has been shown to be better for pain management than opioids and has no risk of addiction. It is gentle, natural and cost effective.
The CDC says just NO to opioids! Don’t take the chance. Try #chiropractic1st for back pain. Find a doctor at tnchiro.com.