By now you may have seen the recent news.
According to a report by the National Safety Council, Americans are now more likely to die from opioid overdose than in a car crash. Talk about devastating. The report states Americans, as a group, have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose and a 1 in 103 chance of dying in a car crash.
As chiropractic professionals have
the responsibility to reach out the population of the United States. A full-on
awareness campaign to promote the safe and effective care we provide. The time
is now. Reach out to your local media, have your patients sing your praises to
family and friends and on social media, hold health care days in your
community. Take out ads in local magazines, in newspapers, on radio, on
television. The up-front cost for advertising may hurt a little, but
considering the crisis and that people are seeking ‘alternative’ care, your
investment will pay off.
Although the National Safety
Council report is shocking, it’s nothing we haven’t known for some time now.
There has been study after study recently that has pointed to this outcome.
The low back pain problem
A recent study in the Lancet Medical Journal found that back pain treatment is being mismanaged across the world. In 2009, a study found that opioids, which kill 35,000 people each year, were prescribed to 60 percent of patients who visit the emergency department due to low back pain.1
“The burden from low back pain has reached a tipping point where the condition is growing rapidly, is poorly understood and is being mismanaged medically,” said Rachelle Buchbinder, MD, a professor who helped spearhead the study. With over 93 people per day dying from an opioid overdose, and 70 percent of those people being prescribed opioids for back pain, it is important to realize that there is a research-backed treatment proven to significantly reduce lower back pain.2
The Lancet study also states that
it’s hard to find a specific cause of low back pain. Unfortunately, the source
of the pain is hard to pinpoint because most doctors do not look to the feet as
the origin of pain and fail to assess the body’s entire biomechanical
A structural imbalance
Most chronic low back pain is due to some form of musculoskeletal weakness or structural imbalance. The root cause is often an imbalance in one or both of the feet that eventually contribute to health concerns farther up the kinetic chain, especially back pain conditions.
When we stand, walk, or run, the
lumbar spine and pelvis balance on the lower extremities. This means that
normal foot mechanics can adversely influence the normal functions of the
ankle, knee, hip, and even the back.3 George Sheehan, MD, states
that structural imbalance of even minor degrees can result in incapacitating
injuries and persistent disabilities.4
There is hope. A 2017 study
published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation proved that
Foot Levelers custom-made foot orthotics reduce low back pain. 225 adults with
symptomatic low back pain took part in the study. At six weeks, patients who
received Foot Levelers custom-made orthotics realized a 34.5 percent decrease
in low back pain.
Treatment of musculoskeletal
conditions is the number one cost in U.S. health care today.
“Low back pain is one of the most common reasons cited for missed work and the NIH study confirms more than one-quarter of adults reported low back pain during the past three months. Most alarming is the link between low back pain and the deadly opioid epidemic, a challenge that is effectively addressed when custom orthotics and drug-free chiropractic care are the first-line approach for low back pain management,” said Manuel Duarte, DC, MSAc, DABCO, and DACBSP, Chair of Clinical Practice at National University, and one of the study’s lead researchers.
Melanie Slaughter, a sheriff’s
deputy in Roanoke, Virginia, was a patient who suffered from low back pain.
Like millions of others, she was prescribed opioids. And they didn’t work.
“I feel, for me, the (opioids)
made me sick. I know they can also be addictive and they don’t fix the problem.
And that’s the bottom line. They need to address the structural issue, or
whatever that might be going on that’s causing the back pain,” Slaughter
said. “If anyone were ever to come and ask me, if they were having the
back pain that I had, I would recommend that they try chiropractic and custom
orthotics. I’m a firm believer that between the chiropractic and custom
orthotics, they can fix whatever is going on structurally and get rid of the
According to Lancet, in 2015, it was calculated that 540 million people are affected by low back pain at any one time. For many, low back pain is a reoccurring problem. Action is needed to address this epidemic. It’s time providers stop turning to ineffective and useless treatments of the symptoms and start looking to solve the true causes of chronic lower back pain. Clinical research shows that custom orthotics are the answer. They are proven to be a safe and cost-effective treatment of low back pain.
To download a free pronation flyer for your patients, click here.
1. Fox, M. (2018, March 18). “Low Back Pain the Top Cause of Disability, Gets Wrong Treatments.” Retrieved from http://nbcnews.com
2. Al-Muslim, A. & Whalen, J. (2017, Dec 1). “FDA Approves Monthly Injection for Opioid Addiction.” Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com
3. Katoh Y et al. Biomechanical analysis of foot function during gait and clinical applications. Clin Orthop Rel Res 1983; 177:23-33.
4. Sheehan, G. (1975). Dr. Sheehan on running. Mountain Vie