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This month we are digging into opioid drug use. Read this study here and come back next week for an amazing story of a woman who got her life back.
When you’re suffering from severe pain, you want relief. You need to be able to do your job, to play with your kids and mow the yard. You go to your general practitioner, who sees you are in distress and wants to help. You get a prescription for a strong opioid painkiller and an anti-inflammatory.
Once you are taking the drugs, a few things are happening without you realizing it. First, you don’t have the pain there as a symptom reminding you to take it easy and not damage that area further. Second, your body’s natural ability to heal is turned down, as the healing receptors are now blocked. While natural solutions like chiropractic help your body to heal, drugs just mask the symptoms.
Third, opioid addiction and abuse have become a serious problem. You could be opening yourself, and your family members, up to the slippery slope of greater addictions. Let’s dig deeper into these last two points.
When signals go from the source of the pain up to the brain, it starts a whole Rube Goldberg machine. A chemical called prostaglandin is released to alerts the brain that the tissues are damaged. In response inflammation occurs, with red blood cells carrying oxygen, white blood cells fighting infection and macrophages cleaning up.
If this healing doesn’t occur properly or is shut down with drugs, it creates scar tissue and doesn’t fully recover. Dr. Ryan compares this to patching a wall after the Kool-Aid Man broke through. If you didn’t cut and remove the damaged drywall and start with a clean edge, the resulting patch would rough, much like scar tissue.
The statistics linking prescription opioid use and street heroin are terrifying. Many people start taking opioids trusting it will be ok. But as their pain continues, they find themselves on a mad train towards addiction.
The dangers of opioids don’t just stop with the person to whom they are prescribed. Your loved ones could be affected by having them in the household. In a study of high-risk teens, 85% of those who had abused prescription painkillers (often stolen from a family member) moved on to heroin. It seems once the access to prescriptions is cut off or difficult, desperate people go to street drugs.
More studies are coming out showing that the dangers of drug use are even greater than we had anticipated. This study shows an increased risk of dementia by as much as 50% could be caused by taking prescription drugs used to treat a variety of conditions; allergies, colds, high blood pressure, depression, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, COPD, urinary incontinence and overactive bladders.
Opioids were the topic of a Friday Night Live video discussion between chiropractors Drs. Ryan and Denise Dopps. They offered a hopeful perspective on dealing with pain naturally, noting that they have no judgment for anyone who has been taking opioids in search of pain relief. They also recognize that the drug problem is less about prescribers than it is about the pharmaceutical industry.
However, they hope to shine light and hope on the subject of opioids, offering natural solutions. Next week, we will tell you about how one patient, Catherine, was relieved of her pain and able to stop taking drugs. We’ll also share encouragement from states like Ohio, who are taking measures to end drug abuse.
You can watch the full video, complete with their anecdotes and humor below.
Click here to make an appointment with Dr. Ryan or Dr. Denise Dopps at our NE Wichita office (21st and Greenwich). If you are not in the Wichita area, reach out to us at
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