While I am not an expert on opioids, I do have 30 years of professional insight on managing pain.
The seriousness of the opioid epidemic cannot be overstated. According to the CDC, since 1999 the number of overdose deaths quadrupled. From 2000 to 2015, more than half a million people died from drug overdoses.
Last month, 35 state attorneys general sent a letter to the chairman of America's Health Insurance Plans and encouraged them to "take proactive steps to review their payment and coverage policies to encourage non-opioid pain management options for chronic, non-cancer patients. Among the effective non-opioid alternatives were chiropractic, acupuncture and physical therapy."
The Joint Commission, which evaluates and accredits nearly 90 percent of all U.S. hospitals, will require accredited hospitals to provide non-pharmacologic pain treatment modalities as a necessary performance element. Strategies include chiropractic, acupuncture and physical therapy.
October is National Chiropractic Health Month. Chiropractors focus on disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects these disorders have on general health. Although we are widely known for our expertise in spinal manipulation, chiropractors practice a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. In addition, counseling on exercise, lifestyle and diet are commonly offered. Our hope is that insurance and governmental policy makers support a conservative approach to managing pain.
JOHN R. MCGINNIS, DC FICC
Clinic Director, Sumter Neck and Back Center