Effectiveness of Opioids for Pain Control is Questionable while Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation is Recommended

June 12, 2018

The opioid epidemic. It’s in the news. Georgetown does not2 escape the opioid issue. Dr. Butwell knows some Georgetown chiropractic patients with Georgetown back pain struggle with opioids that were, at some point, prescribed to assist them in coping with their back pain and now want to be done with them. Dr. Butwell gets it and is prepared to help Georgetown back pain sufferers get relief without opioid drugs. The effectiveness of opioid drugs for control of Georgetown back pain is questioned while spinal manipulation such as offered at Dr. Butwell is suggested.


Low back pain burdens a back pain patient’s life. It is not a surprise that a back pain sufferer desires a pill to get rid of the pain, a Georgetown back surgery to get rid of the pain’s source now.  Sometimes it is not that simple: the pill may have unwelcome effects or the benefits may not last very long; the surgery relief may not last or produced an unexpected outcome. Dr. Butwell appreciates the role of drugs for pain relief when needed, respects the part back surgery has in a Georgetown back pain sufferer’s journey toward pain relief and a better quality of life. Dr. Butwell also offers complementary care to those back pain relief options and, for some Georgetown back pain sufferers, back surgery prevention in addition to post-back surgery rehabilitation and Georgetown back pain relief.


A recent Cochrane data review of randomized clinical trials on the effectiveness of opioids and other drugs for chronic low back pain concluded that the effectiveness is sadly quite modest. Opioids’ effects on pain reduction and function improvement are small to moderate and short-lasting compared to placebo. The side effects, serious ones for those who use strong opioids for a long time, were common. (1) Some patients react better to drug therapies than others. Researchers found it hard to figure out just how effective drugs like oxycodone and clobazam and imipramine will be for which chronic low back pain patient. (2) Dr. Butwell figures out each Georgetown back pain patient who comes for Georgetown chiropractic care and establishes the suitable treatment plan to secure some back pain relief.


Patients opt for back surgery often expecting quick pain relief that will remove the need for pain control drugs. Researchers checked into this idea and reported that many back pain sufferers who were prescribed opioids before surgery expected that surgery would end the need for opioids. Reality shows that of 2491 adults who underwent lumbar fusion back surgery, 1045 needed long-term opioids before surgery, and 1094 took opioids afterwards. Of the pre-operative opioid patients, 77.1% continued taking them long-term, 13.8% occasionally, and just 9.1% discontinued or consumed them short-term subsequently. 34.4% continued with a lower dose, but 44.8% did so with a higher dose. Of those who didn’t take any opioids before back surgery, 12.8% became long-term users.  What was the end result? What do patients need to know who are considering Georgetown back surgery as the final answer to their Georgetown back pain? Lumbar fusion back surgery seldom stopped the long-term opioid use and increased the risk of starting their use later.  Patient expectations of pain reduction and opioid use reduction demand reconsideration. (3)


Researchers work to create guidelines for back pain relief treatment. These guidelines direct that non-effective treatments should be avoided (systemic corticosteroids, TENS, traction, electrical muscle stim, benozodiazepines, botulinum toxin injection, etc.) and suggest that clinicians coach and encourage patients, direct them to remain active and do self-care. Acute back pain patients can choose exercise, manual therapy, heat, and NSAIDS. Chronic back pain patients can use exercise, yoga, manual therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, biofeedback, massage, rehabilitation, etc. Radicular back pain patients may do exercise, spinal manipulation, NSAIDs.  (4) Georgetown chiropractic care at Dr. Butwell  suits these guidelines. Dr. Butwell offers a Georgetown chiropractic treatment plan of spinal manipulation with Cox Technic, exercise, rehab, and more.

CONTACT Dr. Butwell

Schedule you Georgetown chiropractic appointment now with Dr. Butwell. Opioids are not the only option for Georgetown back pain relief, particularly Georgetown chronic low back pain. Dr. Butwell offers optimism for chronic low back pain relief to Georgetown back pain sufferers wanting to avoid or escape the opioid epidemic.

Chiropractic spinal manipulation at Dr. Butwell is worthwhile over opioids for back pain control.