Opioid crisis putting new options on medical map

Not even mainstream medicine and Big Pharma can dispute the fact that the opioid crisis they were responsible for creating has become an unprecedented catastrophe.

The numbers are sobering: 91 Americans die every single day from opioids, and that includes people who received an Rx for these drugs directly from their doctors. The CDC reports that in the last 18 years, the number of deaths from prescription opioids has nearly quadrupled!

But along with all the grief and sorrow, something positive is emerging.

More and more patients — and doctors — are looking for alternatives to these addictive and deadly drugs. And what they’re finding are some amazing therapies to treat pain that have been right under their collective noses all along!

And best of all, these are remedies that you can put into action for yourself or a loved one right now!

A welcome mat for alternatives

Here’s something I never thought I would be hearing: “Naturopathic doctors are poised to be the leaders in combating the opioid epidemic.”

Naturopathic doctors are primary care physicians who believe that the body can be encouraged to heal itself through the use of natural therapies.

And an organization called The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is trying to get naturopathic medicine more widely covered by health insurance policies and made an official part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Imagine the feds fully embracing something that they’ve previously dismissed as “sham” medicine — and practically even as witchcraft. Now that would be something!

Unfortunately, we’ve got a long way to go before that happens. As it is now, Massachusetts has become only the 22nd state or territory to officially recognize and regulate naturopathic doctors back in January, and Pennsylvania only just came around last November.

So, first and foremost, the AANP is also working to get naturopathic doctors licensed in all 50 states.

But one of the best indicators of the new acceptance of alternative medicine by the mainstream came recently when the American College of Physicians recommended that therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture and yoga be used to relieve lower back pain, rather than surgery.

That prompted Robert Hayden, the official spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association, to refer to the College as “our new best friend” and to its recommendation as “a direct result” of the current opioid crisis.

Also, just last month I told you how some mainstream medical centers have adopted numerous alternative therapies, such as Chinese herbs, massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation, and yoga classes, into their practices. And the ones now on board include big-name facilities like the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins!

But as I said, you don’t have to wait for some kind of official declaration by a bigshot at some pay-for-play puppet of Big Pharma to try these centuries-old treatments for yourself!

And here are some easy ways to do that.

  • Low back pain: Instead of filling that Rx, why not try acupuncture? That’s something even a federal agency — the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) — recommends for that condition.
  • Knee osteoarthritis: The NCCIH encourages patients to try Tai chi (can you believe it?!) as well as acupuncture.
  • Back and neck pain: You can even get chiropractic adjustments to correct subluxations (when your spinal bones move out of position) monthly — covered by Medicare!
  • Migraines and back pain: Despite the fact that it might seem like a luxury that you would get on one of those fancy cruises, professional massage therapy is known to treat many painful conditions.

And you don’t have to live in a big city to find a licensed acupuncturist, massage therapist or even a Tai chi class, either. I think you may be surprised to find many of these alternative therapies right in your area listed in the Yellow Pages or online.

Now that mainstream medicine’s own reliance on the pill mills has resulted in a full-fledged crisis, what you should keep in mind is how much easier — and more acceptable — it’s now becoming for patients to look to “nontraditional” remedies.

When you think about it, they’re often the most traditional ones of all!

“As opioid crisis flares, naturopaths and chiropractors lobby for bigger roles in treating pain” Megan Thielking, April 4, 2017, Stat, statnews.com