Sponsored by Performance Health
Physical pain is an all-too-common phenomenon.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reports that as many as 100 million Americans are in some type of chronic pain at any given time.
Not only does this come at a high cost to patients financially, there’s also the issue of patients potentially sacrificing safety when trying to find much-needed relief from the pain they feel on a daily basis.
Unsafe pain relief options
In 2016, the National Safety Council (NSC) published a report titled Prescription Nation 2016: Addressing America’s Drug Epidemic. In it the NSC reveals that in 2012 more than 259 million opioid prescriptions, also commonly referred to as “painkillers”, were given to patients to help them alleviate their pain. However, roughly 52 of these patients lost their life every day due to overdosing on these types of drugs, with an additional 1.9 million becoming addicted to the very medicine that was prescribed to help them.
While most patients feel that prescribed medicines come with a certain amount of safety, what they often fail to realize is that opioid-based painkillers are in the same drug family as heroin, even creating similar effects on the brain, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. This not only outlines the need to educate patients about opioid drugs, their effect on the body, and the risk of addiction, but to also provide them safer alternatives for treating the pain. One option is the use of topical analgesics.
Topical analgesic safety
Topical analgesics are creams, oils, gels or lotions which contain ingredients that when applied to the skin, provide pain relief to the affected area. In an article about relieving arthritis pain with topical analgesics, Healthline states these medicines work three different, yet effective ways. They may contain salicylates that reduce swelling and inflammation, or counterirritants like menthol or eucalyptus to distract your brain from the pain through heat or a cooling sensation, or capsaicin to block the pain receptors in the skin.
Additionally, many scientists have studied the effects of topical agents and determined that they are a safe method of treatment. For instance, researchers specializing in pain and pain management published a review of topical analgesics in the June 2015 issue of Pain and Therapy. As stated in this review, “this modality of therapy has lesser side effects and drug-drug interactions and patients tolerate this form of therapy better than many oral options.” They also noted that topical analgesics are not typically utilized as often as they could be.
Incorporating topical analgesic products into your practice
For some patients, the mere fact that you are their chiropractor is a good enough reason for them to give topical analgesics a try. Others may need a nudge to understand that topical analgesics are both a safe and effective pain treatment method, allowing them to give up unsafe options for good.
When it comes to this second group, the first step is to educate them on the dangers of relying on opioid prescriptions. These dangers include among others putting them at risk of opioid addiction and what this type of addiction does not only to the individual, but to the family unit as a whole.
Admittedly, this may be difficult especially if your information contradicts the advice and information they’ve been provided by their primary physician. However, giving them links to various reputable addiction websites, like the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the American Society of Addiction Medicine or SaferPainRelief.org enables them to collect their own information and validates your concerns.
The next step is to discuss topical analgesics and how they work. When you use topical analgesics as part of the patient’s treatment, they can experience pain relief without the negative side effects often associated with common prescription painkillers, such as feeling tired or limiting the ability to work or drive.
Patients are more likely to want to continue to use topical analgesics instead of relying on a form of treatment that could, in the long run, do them major harm. Make it easy for your patients to extend the benefits of your treatment by selling topical analgesics in your office or clinic. It also helps to give patients a sample of the product so they can try it out themselves.
About Performance Health
Performance Health’s new Biofreeze® Professional national campaign promotes you and your care as a safer alternative to opioids and NSAIDs as part of its national Safer Pain Relief campaign. The goal of Safer Pain Relief campaign is simple: Help people understand the full range of muscle and joint pain relief options—and the associated risks and side effects—so they apply the safest, most effective solutions for their unique needs. We know the best way to get ‘safer pain relief” is by combining professional care with professional products. That’s our message…it always has been and it always will be. Visit www.saferpainrelief.org to learn more!