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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pain Management Alternatives Meet Resistance

pain management
Everyone in the United States would like to see the end of the opioid epidemic. Both lawmakers and health experts unanimously agree that there is a lot of work to be done, if such a goal is to be accomplished. The main focus is providing expanded access to addiction treatment services for those already addicted, and reducing our reliance on prescription opioids for pain in order to prevent future cases of addiction. No easy task, but one that is necessary.

A number of bills have been passed that aim to address the aforementioned points, which should prove to be effective. Legislation is designed to: increase access to treatment, make it easier to acquire naloxone, encourage responsible prescribing and the use of prescription monitoring programs (PDMPs). It goes without saying that prescription opioids will need to be relied upon in certain situations, but both doctors and patients have become far too reliant on them—using opioids when alternatives could have been utilized. There are a number of methods that can be used to treat moderate and mild pain, such as:
  • Yoga
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
As you might imagine, the call for alternative forms of pain management has been met with some resistance, The New York Times reports. In fact, there are a number of obstacles in the way of offering opioid alternative pain management, setting aside the doctors and patients against such modalities. Lack of scientific evidence to support the use of alternatives will often times prevent insurance companies to cover such treatments. Physical therapy coverage varies from state to state.

Let’s face it, people want instant relief from even the mildest pain—making painkillers the ideal option among most patients, according to the article. On top of that, it's easier for doctors to write a ‘script’ rather than brainstorm and troubleshoot which pain management alternative will work best.

This year, the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) issued new guidelines for the use of prescription opioids. The agency called for the use of opioid analgesics only as a last resort, exhausting alternative treatments first.

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