Hello, everyone! This is Dr. Bob Salamon with Lowcountry Chiropractic. As always, I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy! In my last blog, we discussed massage therapy and its benefits. Today, we’ll be talking about the side effects of pain medication, and how chiropractic care may be a better treatment option for you. When suffering from back or neck pain, muscle pain, or headaches, most people reach for over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol or Advil. Some may use prescription pain medication, such as opioids. According to the CDC, 10.7% of adults surveyed in 2015-2018 said they used one or more prescription pain medications in the last 30 days. While these medications may appear to work short-term, they are actually not that great in the long run. Pain medications simply mask the pain for a little while, but they do not address the root cause of that pain. If you are interested in learning more about the downsides of pain medication, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started.
Although medications that relieve pain can be helpful for patients and doctors alike, they can have side effects, just like any other drug. The most common pain medications are over-the-counter medications that you can purchase in the store without a prescription. These include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, and they are usually taken for mild pain or fevers. Unfortunately, these medications can have negative side effects. For example, medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. NSAIDs inhibit certain enzymes in the body to reduce pain and inflammation. These drugs can cause bleeding in the stomach if taken over long periods of time. They can also cause indigestion and stomach ulcers, and if taken far too often, they can cause kidney damage. Acetaminophen is not a member of the NSAID family and does not cause stomach problems. However, taking too much of this drug or combining it with alcohol is known to cause liver damage.
Opioids are the most powerful painkillers and are often prescribed to people who have recently had surgery or are suffering from a serious, long-term condition that causes pain, such as cancer. These drugs block signals between the brain and the body in order to block severe pain. Some of the most used opioid painkillers include codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone. While these drugs can be beneficial for people with severe pain, they also have negative side effects. One of the most common side effects of opioids is constipation. Other side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, itching, and sweating. These side effects can interfere with your daily life, making it difficult, if not impossible, to work or commit to activities.
One of the most severe side effects, however, is addiction. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year. Many people who take opioids feel the need to continue taking them even when they don’t need them anymore, and taking large amounts of these drugs can stop your breathing and lead to death. Although only a small amount of people prescribed opioids become addicted to them, the risk increases the longer you use the drugs. In most cases, opioids should be a last resort for pain management.
Another thing to consider when taking over-the-counter or prescription painkillers is the cost. If you need to keep buying bottles of pills to manage your pain, those costs are going to add up over time. Not only will your wallet be hurting, but so will you– The pain is bound to come back after a little while.
With that being said, over-the-counter or prescription pain medications are one of the worst options for treating acute or chronic pain. As mentioned above, these medications only mask the pain. Think of it as putting a bandaid over a wound that needs stitches– It may help for a short period of time, but it is not addressing the problem. Chiropractic care, however, focuses on finding, diagnosing, and treating the source of the problem. It is a natural treatment option that emphasizes the body’s ability to heal itself.
For many people with acute or chronic pain, the source is in the spine, joints, or muscles. Sometimes, interferences called subluxations stop your body from functioning the way it is supposed to. In fact, most health problems or pains are actually caused by subluxations. These subluxations are often caused by misalignment in the vertebrae. This can be the cause of a variety of issues, such as pain, numbness or tingling, fatigue, headaches, stiffness, and nausea. Because the vertebrae are in such close proximity to the spinal nerves, subluxations can lead to neurological problems. Chiropractic care removes these subluxations through adjustments or joint and spine manipulation. These techniques can restore your body to better health. You can learn more about subluxations in one of my previous blogs!
Since chiropractic care is non-invasive, all-natural, and does not require any medication, there are little to no side effects. Those who have never had a chiropractic adjustment before may experience mild symptoms for a day or two afterward because toxins that were trapped within the area of the subluxation have been released. This is a good thing, and means that the body is being cleansed. Any symptoms, such as muscle soreness, are only temporary and are uncommon. The majority of chiropractic patients do not report any side effects, but instead feel immediate relief! Chiropractic adjustments are safe when performed by a licensed and trained professional. In fact, chiropractic care is one of the safest and most effective treatments out there.
After an adjustment, you should get adequate rest and stay hydrated. Hydration is one of the best ways to flush out toxins and keep your body in good shape. Additionally, exercising regularly and eating well are key to getting the most out of your chiropractic adjustment. Your chiropractor can recommend nutritional advice and simple exercises that can be done at home to keep your body functioning optimally. When it comes to chiropractic, consistency is key. Ideally, you should adopt healthy habits and come back for routine adjustments to diagnose and remove pesky subluxations before they start causing problems. These “maintenance” appointments will ultimately lead to you staying healthier and pain-free. It is important to note that no medication or exercise can get rid of a subluxation. Exercise and stretching help keep your muscles loose, but only chiropractors can remove vertebral subluxations.
As you can see, chiropractic care is an extremely safe, non-invasive, long-lasting, and effective treatment for acute and chronic pain. Correcting the cause of your health problems with chiropractic care can help you avoid costly medications and even costlier surgeries down the road. Stop reaching for the Tylenol and try a chiropractic adjustment! Your body will thank you. If you have any further questions about chiropractic care, feel free to reach out to us. I hope you found this article informative. If you or a loved one are suffering from any type of joint or back pain, you may benefit from chiropractic care. Consider reaching out to Lowcountry Chiropractic! We specialize in different chiropractic techniques, as well as both therapeutic and Swedish massage. Send us an email or give us a call and we’ll assess the situation and develop a treatment plan to address your needs. We want to help you live a healthy and pain-free life– it’s what you deserve. As always, this is Dr. Bob and I have your back covered!
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