Advantage Health & Wellness makes adjustments for the opioid crisis.

Although it may seem like a recent development to many, chiropractic care celebrated its 123rd birthday on September 18, 2019. To put that into perspective, in 1895 Grover Cleveland was in the middle of his second non consecutive term as president of the United States, the first U.S. patent for an automobile had just been granted, and nearly two-thirds of Americans still lived in rural areas.

The long-standing practice now offers hope in addressing one of the biggest problems currently plaguing the United States: the opioid epidemic. Headlines in major media outlets have been relentless in bringing attention to alarming statistics such as:

  • More than 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the U.S. in 2016, totaling more than 115 fatalities per day.
  • Approximately 350,000 people have died of opioid-related causes over the past 17 years—three times as many as perished in the 20 years of the Vietnam War.
  • Every 19 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from an unintentional prescription drug overdose.
  • Estimates show opioid abuse costs U.S. employers an estimated $18 billion a year in sick days, lost productivity, and medical expenses.

Analysts predict things will get worse—much worse—before they get better. Rather than continuing down the destructive path of masking pain with over-the-counter and prescription opioids, Americans of all ages should look at the potentially life-changing benefits of chiropractic care.

In many cases, chiropractic care can not only relieve pain in the short term, it can also help avoid or at least delay costly invasive surgery. Non-surgical treatments are less disruptive to the lives of patients and their families, innately have lower risk, and cost far less. They also help patients avoid starting down the path of opioid use that can lead to abuse.

Dr. Kevin Trembush is the owner and founder of Advantage Health & Wellness (AHW) and manager of Advanced Physical Medicine of WV (APM), located together in one facility in Morgantown. This creates, in effect, a multidisciplinary practice that brings chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, and medical doctors together to assess patient pain, figure out what is causing it, and determine how best to manage it by using many types of expertise and, if possible, without resorting to surgery or opioid medications. For those seeking out an alternate method of pain management, a multidisciplinary practice such as this is a great first step.

At AHW and APM, patients begin with an evaluation, which can involve a chiropractor, a physical therapist, and a medical provider as well as x-rays and other testing. From this, Trembush’s team puts together a program to manage the pain. This might involve therapies that may be used long-term, like chiropractic or massage, or injection therapy, where medicine is injected into a specific pain generator. It might involve lifestyle changes.

“That’s very specific to each person: What are you doing to facilitate this pain? How do we avoid this from happening?” Trembush says. “This is very personalized care. Current literature is now supportive of the fact that, in most cases, we get as good or better results with pain management as dangerous drugs will. Most of the time, patients are getting the results that they came in for.”

Weight loss can be an important part of pain management, too. “I’ve found that, if somebody just loses a quarter of their over-weight, it makes a tremendous difference in their reporting of knee pain, back pain, and pain in general.”

An opioid-free approach to pain management is not right for all patients. “If you’re having chronic pain from cancer or cancer treatment, pain from a true psychological pain generator, or tooth pain, I’m not the guy to come to,” Trembush says. “We will help you find the right place to be if we are not the answer for you.”

But, he says, almost everyone else can find pain relief without resorting to surgery or addictive opioids. Even if the first plan of action isn’t successful, the team at Advantage Health & Wellness and Advanced Physical Medicine will keep searching. “Until patients get tired of trying, we’re going to continue to try,” Trembush says.

posted on May 8, 2020

written by Kevin Trembush

photographed by Carla Witt Ford

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