Chronic reality

Chronic reality
Mari-Len De Guzman
March 22, 2017
Written by
I am one of the lucky parents whose children rarely ever get sick. In my house, that’s a good thing because my boys have never been crazy about ingesting anything that does not taste like food. When they were little, the site of a bottle of children’s Tylenol sent them running in the other direction.
Now in their teens, they are still not a fan of taking medicines but they understand now that sometimes they have to swallow the bitter pill, literally, to feel better. Then again, having that kind of aversion to ingesting medicines could be a blessing in disguise.  

News about a 14-year-old girl from Ottawa who recently died from fentanyl overdose had me thinking about my own kids. The girl’s photo was published on several news sites and has become the newest and youngest face of the opioid crisis. The overdose death of ninth grader Chloe Kotval just made this crisis much more real for many parents and much more urgent for schools and government authorities.

Whether it’s kids getting their hands on adult prescription medications from their medicine cabinets at home, addicts buying fentanyl-laced illicit drugs off the streets, or chronic pain sufferers feeling hopeless and turning to narcotics, this growing opioid crisis is a complex problem affecting people from all walks of life. The root causes are also as diverse as the demographics affected by this dilemma.

The cover story in the April issue of Canadian Chiropractor explores one aspect of the opioid crisis where chiropractors potentially have the most influence over: chronic pain. Chiropractors witness on a daily basis the kind of impact uncontrolled pain can have on people’s lives. They know a thing or two about how to get people back to normal functioning again. Now, as authorities scramble to find solutions to the opioid crisis and help people living with chronic pain, the value that manual therapy and other conservative, non-invasive treatments can provide is becoming clearer.

Medical doctors are now increasingly expected to revisit their opioid prescribing practices and urged to look at non-pharmacolgic treatment alternatives for chronic pain - especially low-back pain. It has been a long time coming, but the health care system may finally be stirring in the right direction on this issue.

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