Opioid use can date back as early as 3,400 BC. For millennia cultures used opium poppies to treat pain, but they also acknowledge it’s euphoric and addictive effects. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, recognized it’s usefulness in treating pain.

From the 1800s on, chemists, scientists, and eventually pharmaceutical companies refined the plant to develop the modern opioid drugs we know today. Morphine, heroine, oxycodone, oxycontin, and many others were attempts to make a drug that had better pain relieving properties with less dependence or addictive qualities.

The issue comes from overuse and misuse. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) 68% of the over 70,00 drug overdose deaths in 2017  involved a prescription or illicit opioid. And this number continues to increase.

There are numerous calls to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed. But leaving pain untreated is out of the question. This requires a non-drug approach. Chiropractic may be a significant piece of this puzzle for musculoskeletal pain.

Chiropractic care for pain

Musculoskeletal issues, like neck and back pain, is one of the most common reasons people seek treatment from chiropractors, along with headaches. There’s even some evidence that chiropractic may be more cost effective than traditional medicine for these types of pain. This may be because chiropractic tries to address underlying structural issues of the spine without the use of drugs which may only mask issues.

But possibly the biggest potential benefit of choosing chiropractic for pain management is a series of new research. One study found that those who received chiropractic care had a 55% less likelihood of filling a prescription for an opioid analgesic. Another, 49% lessStarting with chiropractic care for pain may reduce the need for opioids.

Chiropractic is the largest, drug-free health care profession in the world. It may be a great place to start for pain relief.