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I am amazed when talk comes up at the legislature or with individual insurance claims about whether chiropractic should be paid under the no fault act. Usually it involves discussions about limiting the coverage or adding treatment parameters. There is no real talk about how to deal with the person’s pain if you take away their chiropractic treatment, which works for so many.

One of the options has to be pain killers. Has there been a single one that hasn’t been looked at for significant damage to organs or causes for potential death? Let’s see what’s out there:

An advisory panel of the FDA voted to recommend a ban on Percocet and Vicodin. The panel noted that patients who take Percocet and Vicodin for long periods often need higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect. More than 400 people die and 42,000 are hospitalized every year in the United States from overdoses.

The FDA advisory panel, made up of scientists, doctors and consumer representatives, voted 21 to 6 in favor of lowering the maximum daily dose of nonprescription acetaminophen for adults, which is currently set at 4,000 mg; the panel did not specify a new maximum dosage. They also voted 24 to 13 to reduce the maximum single adult daily dose to 650 mg from the current maximum of 1,000 mg, or the equivalent of two tablets of Extra Strength Tylenol. Finally, the members recommended 26 to 11 that the 1,000-mg over-the-counter dose be switched to a prescription-only status.

In a separate vote, the panel recommended 36 to 1 that if acetaminophen-containing prescription drugs continue to be sold they be sold with a black-box warning.

Far more people are harmed by regular use of aspirin and ibuprofen (Nsaids). 100,000 Americans are hospitalized each year with complications associated with Nsaids and 15,000 to 20,000 die from ulcers and internal bleeding linked to their use.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has called for a black box warning for Darvon, Darvocet and other painkillers containing the drug propoxyphene because of overdose risks.

You look at this list and it makes you wonder why the discussion isn’t about how do we use more alternative medicines? Why are painkillers given out like candy? Now, I represented enough people with serious pain, so I know that many of the concerns that the loss of these drugs may cause. But, despite that it seems like anything that is done to limit their use is for the better.


  1. Gravatar for Joe Crumley

    This is a very important point, Mike. I know this has been a pet peeve of yours for years, and I'm glad to see you got the facts out there.

    It'll be interesting if anybody out there jumps in with the cost-control side of it.

  2. Gravatar for Daniel 8791

    Very good and informative article, Mike. Even if the drug companies don't like it; accident victims with pain should be polled to see what treatments are more effective, pain killers, chiro, other "alternatives" or a combination of them. Clearly, the results will vary and then should be looked closely upon by all parties involved. I know of doctors, who haven't hesitated to recommend taking higher doses of pain medication than even was prescribed. So like you said, keeping people from taking too many pills will likely help for the most part.

  3. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    Thanks for reading and the comments, it's a important issue that really needs to be looked at.

  4. Gravatar for Lauren Clum, DC

    It's great to hear a non-chiropractor talking about this stuff! We see patients everyday at The Specific Chiropractic Center that have been prescribed a litany of painkillers that may or may not be helping them, and may be causing who knows what side effects. Chiropractic not only helps them feel better quickly, it actually allows them to heal naturally so that they're not reliant on chiropractic or medication to feel good. So it's actually quite cost-effective. Thank you for talking about this!

  5. Gravatar for Facebook User

    You wrote: "Why are painkillers given out like candy?"

    Remember the movie with Nick Nolte titled "Lorenzo's Oil"?

    1)There is no money in solving a problem

    2)doctors are trained to write prescriptions, not solve problems

    3)NIH and FDA and AMA are in the pockets of the drug companies

    You have as much chance of our congress authorizing alternative medicine as Iran has of authorizing the right to free speech

  6. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    I agree that those are lofty goals, but we need to talk about it and as long as the federal government continues to get back to doing their job of regulating, alternative medicine may have far less competition. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  7. Gravatar for Facebook User

    We have an accident and injury center within my chiropractic office. You made some interesting comments. Sometimes anti-inflammatory may help in the first 24-36 hours after an injury, but longer than that, they interfere with the completion of the inflammatory process and can lead to excessive scar tissue development and ultimately fibrosis of tissue which leads to permanent restriction of movement and increased sensitivity - leading to permanent damage without intervention. I wonder how many fibromyalgia cases have started with poor healing/recovery from some soft tissue damage?

    A body is designed to heal, but it heals as it is able, and without proper motion for soft tissue injuries, they most frequently heal with excessive scar tissue (stiff weak & sensitive). If a bone breaks, and proper care is received, some time is spent re-aligning the broken ends, and if a stabilizing cast is set to prevent movement, within 6+ weeks the body has healed correctly. Let's say that person doesn’t get the proper care, the bone is not set nor cast & it is left to itself... the body will still heal itself, except it heals wrong- the body can only heal the way that it is... If your goal is the best recovery, your plans should include the best care to allow that to happen. To exclude chiropractic care to assist a soft tissue trauma case to "best" recovery makes about as much sense as to say a person with a broken bone should be allowed to heal without having it be set & cast: ridiculous.

  8. Gravatar for Daniel T. Barrett, D.C.
    Daniel T. Barrett, D.C.

    Thanks for posting this counselor. The biggest irony of all of our 3rd party pay systems is exactly that: chiropractic not only saves lives but money. Yet, the gov't and (it pains me to use the misnomer) health plans as well as auto/wc insurers do whatever they can to get people off chiropractic and onto drugs. Pennywise - Poundfoolish.

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