The Opioid Crisis: How Did We End Up Here?

Bottom Line:


If you make it a habit to watch the news, you’ve probably wondered on more than one occasion “How did the opioid crisis start?”

Well, the answer might surprise you.

About 30 years ago, there was a fundamental shift in medicine regarding how pain was understood and treated.

The number of people with chronic pain seemed to be rising, and it was thought that the options to address the pain weren't adequate.



Why it Matters:


As doctors paid more attention to assessing pain, they also paid more attention to treating pain. Enter opioids.

Opioid medications began to be prescribed more and more frequently for chronic low back or neck pain.

Surprisingly, up until then, opioids were only prescribed for severe pain after surgery or advanced-stage cancer. But that all changed in the early 1990’s.

New opioids formulas were promoted as being less addictive, and physicians were encouraged to prescribe these drugs far more liberally than before, including for the care of chronic pain.

Prescribing these drugs very quickly created and exposed a number of problems.

Healthcare professionals noted how rapidly patients adapted to the drugs, meaning larger and larger doses had to be prescribed to sustain those promised pain suppressing effects as time went on.

That, of course, indicated these drugs weren't very effective at addressing chronic pain.

They provided short-term relief, but they seemed to become less useful for many people as time went on.

What’s more, the euphoric feelings often associated with these drugs put it’s users at a high risk for addiction.


Next Steps:


Now, some 30-odd years later, we are witnessing an opioid crisis.

If there is a silver lining to be found, we as a collective now realize that the answers and treatment of chronic pain are rarely found in a bottle.

Many leading healthcare organizations are now recommending non-pharmacological approaches to treating chronic pain including chiropractic.

If you would like to explore a drug-free approach to pain relief, schedule an appointment with us today.

As the leading natural pain doctor in Clear Lake, we have the tools and know how you’ve been looking for.


Our doors are always open, and we’re here to help!




Science Source:


Understanding the Epidemic. CDC. 2021.

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