Chiropractic and Opioids

It is hard to live in Canada and not be aware of Canada’s current Opioid Crisis. An estimated 2,000 Canadians are dying annually from prescription opioids. Our country is facing a national crisis. Currently, Canada is the second highest consumer of prescription opioids in the world. Evidence points to back pain and other musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions as one of the key drivers.

Headlines related to chronic pain and fentanyl overdose are rising in frequency and urgency. Many chronic pain patients have been universally mismanaged by all health professions even with the best intent and the best minds clamoring for solutions.

Chiropractic can be a piece of the puzzle in the development of an effective opioid reduction strategy. By providing prompt access to effective health care options, like chiropractic care, evidence suggests that we can reduce reliance on opioids to treat acute and chronic MSK-related pain.

In fact, new guidelines released by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, recommend a coordinated multi-disciplinary healthcare team, which includes chiropractic, be used to help manage pain and avoid the dependency of opioids.

Albertans and all Canadians deserve earlier access to conservative chiropractic care for their MSK health issues before they become chronic pain sufferers. It is now understood that current solutions in the pain management of non-cancer conditions affecting the MSK system (bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints) have become too reliant on opioids.

Chiropractic is a safe, evidence informed option to treating chronic pain, and our high patient satisfaction levels make chiropractic a popular option for patients looking to address pain and improve function.

Federal and provincial governments are widely recognizing the crisis that exists with opioid addiction and overdose. The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) has engaged in months of advocacy with the federal government and other health professions to build awareness and understanding that available evidence points to back pain and other MSK conditions as a leading reason for opioid prescribing. We have also had the opportunity provincially to discuss how conservative treatment options like chiropractic can contribute significantly to the health care of Albertans who suffer from pain.

As the national media discuss the link between over-prescribing and the opioid crisis, it appears that the public needs the expertise of chiropractic services more than ever.