Back Pain, Opioids, and Alternative Treatment

I have chronic back pain. I’ve already had two back surgeries and at the moment, it’s not that bad compared to what it was like before each of my surgeries. I don’t like taking medicine so when I do take pain medication or muscle relaxants it is few and far between.

We are told there is an Opioid epidemic in our country and because of that doctor’s aren’t wanting to prescribe pain medication. At various times I’ve had to become a patient of a pain clinic. I was really struck the second time I went in for more medicine. I wasn’t asking for pain meds. I just wanted the muscle relaxant. I hadn’t been in for a year. 30 pills had lasted me one year. Now I know they are worried about addiction and rightfully so, but to treat your patients as though they are doing something wrong by asking for help when obviously I haven’t been abusing the system is just wrong. I have a documented history of back issues and hadn’t been in for a year to ask for more.

More and more insurance companies and doctors are recognizing the benefits of alternative medicine like the chiropractor, acupuncture, and massage, which is awesome. They really can help. Acupuncture alone made it possible for me to quickly come off my pain medicine after each surgery.  However, my other issue is that I can pay $30 for a bottle of pills that will last me 30 days (or in my case a year). Or I can pay $30 for one visit to one of these alternative therapies which will help for a day or two and then I have to go back and pay another $30. No wonder people are getting hooked on opioids! It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the alternative treatments which have a chance of actually healing you vs just masking the symptoms. Until we can make these visits cheaper we are going to continue having an opioid problem. People can’t afford to pay $30 or $40 every day for treatment. This should be the real Healthcare reform.


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