Is medication an answer to pain or chronic pain and is it the only or best option?
After reading a recent article which examined medication and the use of painkillers across the UK, I was somewhat shocked to learn that over a 1/3rd of the people questioned took painkillers in order to feel well enough to work. Over ½ of this use was to deal with pain or injury. The survey, conducted by Nuffield Health, went on to express how people were becoming increasingly worried about dependency on medication, but that they viewed it as an easy and relatively cheap way to manage an array of symptoms. Over 10% of the respondents were taking more than the recommended safe dose and over 20% took between 1-5 painkillers a day.
It is well known that long-term use of drugs such as anti-inflammatories and painkillers may cause headaches, sickness, stomach problems, ulcers, bleeding and more seriously kidney, heart and liver disease.
There is good evidence to support the use of manual therapy in dealing with back pain, such as osteopathy, physiotherapy and chiropractic, especially when used in combination with exercise, but only 1 in 5 people sought this route.
In the clinic, we often see patients who have taken medication for months and sometimes years. We work with our clients to look at addressing the underlying conditions with osteopathy or a mixture of osteopathy and other therapies, depending on their specific needs.
Often this will result in less requirement for medication and an adaptation of better strategies to deal with and manage pain. There does seem to be an increasing trend to reach for a quick fix from a bottle and not to look at why we have these problems and address the cause.
I hope, for the future, that more people will consider their options before they reach for the bottle and ultimately osteopathy and chiropractic will become funded so that treatment is available to all.