acupuncture-in-place-of-opioidsIf you pull back the mainstream veil of the United States you may be surprised to see just how many functioning adults are addicted to heroin. In fact, some are calling it a crisis epidemic.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine,

“Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014”

The reason for these addictions is simple, it is mostly due to the over prescription of pain management drugs for everything from back discomfort to post-surgery recovery. As a result, obtaining favorite brand name opioids such as Percocet, Oxycontin, Vicodin and Demerol is now more difficult due to stringent restrictions. These restrictions are a ‘too little too late’ attempt at reining in the addicts that have already found a way around these limitations with, you guessed it, the powerful opioid heroin or even black market pharmaceuticals.

The analgesic (pain reliever) effects of acupuncture may be something that could quell this ugly cycle that some believe may also be perpetuated by monetary interests such as Big Pharma. Acupuncture is a safe, low cost protocol that, most importantly, “wakes up” the body’s pain management abilities. It can also re-set the brain’s cyclical loop that keeps craving the opioid compound, breaking free from potentially devastating effects.

In a Forbes article titled, ‘The Role Of Acupuncture In The Midst Of The Opioid Crisis’, acupuncture is described,

“Researchers believe acupuncture can replace opioids through stimulating the production of the human body’s “endogenous opioids” – using the body’s own chemistry to mirror or exceed the benefits of synthetic drugs without the risk of side effects.”

Acupuncture in place of opioids could very well be on the horizon of putting a significant dent in the difficult challenges associated with pain pill and/or heroin addiction.

Medical Action

There have been many conventional attempts at reducing opioid use and addiction overall, yet the numbers just don’t hold up. In fact, because addiction keeps rising, one rare item both parties in Congress have agreed to take action against is the opioid crisis.

The Centers for Disease Control and prevention recommends patients be told to take ibuprofen for pain rather than opioids and according to the Huffington Post, a bill has been passed named the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA which,

“tilts the federal response away from the old drug war tactics of mass incarceration to one that seeks to enhance and build up the country’s treatment capacity. It embraces the use of naloxone, the medication that can instantly reverse the effects of an overdose, and seeks to incorporate a more medical approach to the U.S. treatment system.”

These regulatory and political attempts are commendable yet much of the funded treatment once again lines the pockets of Big Pharma by encouraging medical intervention. It also continues to expose patients to synthetic remedies that may put undo strain on their body when in turn it might not be needed in the first place. Many are realizing this and calling for a more alternative approach, particularly acupuncture.

Going Against the Grain

It seems that if most Americans do not have the option to take a pill for pain management then other recommendations may be fruitless. Herein lies the problem as many have become “lazy patients” as a result of the pharmaceutical prescription cycle. As more information comes to light   regarding acupuncture use for pain management more people will realize that making a concerted effort to follow a recommended protocol may be the best approach.

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine reports that,

“In September 2015, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University researchers published a study finding that repeated acupuncture treatment might reduce or eliminate the need for opioids by restoring the balance in key brain regions, and altering pain-related attention and memory. The study was published by the National Center for Biotechnology, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

In addition to using acupuncture in place of opioids, this 3,000+ year old practice has successfully assisted many individuals struggling with addiction. In fact, over 700 addiction centers have been reported using acupuncture during detox as well as continued healing.

The Fix, an addiction and recovery site reports,

“Jim, a 51-year-old ex-con who received regular acupuncture treatments during his three months at the Circle Program at the Colorado Mental Health Institute, credits acupuncture with his newfound sobriety and claims he’s no longer the angry, emotionless man he used to be. “The more I did it, the more I was able to get in touch with my feelings,” he says. “I literally just started crying after the treatments. It’s highly unusual for me to let my guard down like that.”

Acupuncture has proven its worth on so many levels that using it in place of opioids seems like the best move during such an out of hand crisis. Hopefully more will take advantage of this natural remedy so obstacles such as Big Pharma will do an about face having no choice but to support alternative treatment. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health. To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of Insurance Companies that commonly carry acupuncture benefits for its members. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email info@intmedsolutions.com to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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