A lot of people wonder why we take such a thorough history from our new patients. It not just so that we can screen out “red flags” (things we potentially need to refer out for further testing) it’s also so that we get a better understanding of their life journey, and then can better help our patients develop personalised goals for their care.
One of the most common goals we are given is less pain, which is often coupled with less pain medications. I am not talking about the occasional Panadol here either, there has been a massive increase in the used of opioid based pain medications. In fact, between 1990 and 2014 there was a 4-fold increase in the use of opioids within Australia (1)! Australia also experienced a rapid increase in the number of opioid related hospitalisations as well as deaths (2).
This increase in opioid prescription is in line with a global trend, we are ahead of the UK but behind the US. The US has also seen overdose death rates and substance use rates quadrupled in parallel to sales of prescription pain relievers (1999-2008) (3).
A recent study (from the US) looked at a population of over 200,000 people over the age of 18 and compared the usage of opioids for low back pain. They found that there was a decreased rate in the use of opioids in the people who sought care from a chiropractor or physical therapist compare with those who sought treatment from a primary care practitioner (4).
This study reinforces what has been seen in previous studies which have shown; greater satisfaction of care and results, providing greater short-term reduction in self-reported pain or disability, and that a multimodal approach, which (most) chiropractors utilise, is often the most effective way to manage musculoskeletal pain (5-7).
So, if you, or someone you know, is struggling with musculoskeletal pain, AND you don’t just want a pill to cover up the cause, give us a call to book an assessment to see if we can help.