It’s no longer a debate that America has a national epidemic of fatal overdoses from opioid drugs. A person can become addicted to opioids within 48 hours of use and there are very few predictors of who will become addicted and who will not. Many of the fatal overdoses happen with appropriately prescribed medications for real pain. The search for solutions reaches far beyond the medical practitioners prescribing the initial medications to community leaders, schools, government agencies and law enforcement. There is virtually no part of the American society that is not touched by the opioid crisis and now Medicaid is finding a way to do their part to help.
Many states either have, or are considering expanding Medicaid coverage to alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, biofeedback, massage and yoga. The goal for states like Ohio who have expanded their coverage to include acupuncture is to give additional options to both patients and physicians instead of opioid drugs. Those against these Medicaid expansions suggest the evidence for the effectiveness for alternative therapies is low. In all actuality, the evidence is low when the expectation is the same size, length and caliber of studies done with pharmaceutical drugs of which the funding for study is essentially endless. There is little that can be done to provide the type of evidence for effectiveness of alternative therapies the conventional medical community desires until research organizations are willing to fund it.
In the meantime, the combined efforts of chiropractic care, physiotherapy, and stem cell therapy are offering many many people safe, effective, and accessible alternatives to opioid drugs for pain. The provnenness has been well documented for many years and is one of the best known solutions to slowing down the rise in opioid drug use for pain. Medical doctors are waking up to the reality that opioids are not the solution, but remain perplexed by what the solution are. The opioid crisis is opening doors for medical practitioners of all disciplines to come to the table with respect and openness for the options available to their patients. No longer is it effective, welcomed, or helpful for the conventional medical community to offer pain medications as a first line therapy for pain. It is becoming increasingly unacceptable to the public for medical doctors to not be willing to understand, respect and offer alternative solutions. The medical doctors who are first adapters to suggesting alternative options for pain are finding favorable results, increasing trust from their patience, and a satisfaction of truly being able to help solve the pain rather than temporarily cover it up and hope for minimal unintended consequences of the prescription drugs. One pain doctor relies on, championing the alternative options for pain compared asking doctors to do the hard stuff like working with a patient on finding the alternative therapies, exercise, and support they need to avoid using opioid drugs is comparable to implementing hand washing in surgery… it took a generation.