Some traditional medical treatments of chronic pain or injury involve over-the-counter or prescription painkillers. The side effects of these pills can range from liver damage and ulcers to full-blown addiction. They also don’t treat the underlying cause of the problem, and a quick fix isn’t always the answer. Chiropractic care can be an alternative to painkillers by using exercises, nutrition, and rehabilitative exercises to address the reasons for the pain.
The Problems of Painkillers
Prescription pain medication, such as narcotics and opiates, can cause serious side effects, addiction, and withdrawal issues. Overdoses can kill.1 Over-the-counter pills are not necessarily safe, either. Acetaminophen, for example, when taken incorrectly, can cause liver damage, especially if one consumes too many pills or too much alcohol. It can also increase bleeding when taken with certain other medications.2 Ibuprofen and naproxen are other popular non-aspirin pain relievers. Along with aspirin, they are considered NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and even ulcers, increased blood pressure, or severe allergic reactions. They also cause problems when taken with alcohol and blood thinning medications. Aspirin is linked to Reye’s syndrome in children, which can cause brain, kidney, and liver damage.3 With all pills, the underlying causes of the pain are not addressed.
Chiropractic Care Can Replace Meds
Whether the pain is menstrual, joint, headache, leg, back, neck, or muscle, chiropractic care can address the issues behind the discomfort. “Chiropractic is the largest alternative/complementary health profession in North America,” according to Dr. Theo Kieu. “Chiropractic is not a treatment or a cure. It gives people the opportunity to be healthy by removing interference in their nervous system.”4 Chiropractors work to reduce the inflammation causing the pain, and also to regain flexibility and strength with exercises. Chiropractic care is especially effective in resolving low-back pain.5 Some doctors prescribe narcotics and opiates to patients as young as teenagers for issues such as sports injuries. This could lead to addiction issues and illegal drug seeking. Pills can leave patients drowsy and inattentive. Chiropractic care offers a “natural and addiction-free option”.6 In fact, in a 2012 study in The Annals of Internal Medicine, funded by the National Institutes of Health, it was found that “Chiropractic care and simple neck exercises done daily at home were much better at reducing pain than taking pain medications like aspirin, ibuprofen or even strong narcotics.” The key part of this is that chiropractic, along with exercise, are treatments that a patient can do for themselves, at home.7 They are options that can be practiced over a lifetime, reducing medical visits and costs. They also avoid the toxicity and addiction issues that medications can cause, and they address the root causes of the pain.