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Tip of the Iceberg

Chiropractic Care for Pain

by Richard Picard

A clichéd but useful saying about pain being the “tip of the iceberg” equates the mass below the surface of the water as the source of the problem, often a correctable dysfunction of joints and muscles. Clichés aside, explaining pain as a symptom of a bigger problem is an eye opener for many people.

Treating pain to correct a problem is a lot like blowing one’s nose to cure a cold. The symptom goes away only when the source of the problem is corrected. Overall, the body is pretty resilient; however as injury or poor health develop under the surface, pain can emerge and become a persistent shadow over everything we do.

  

The rampant use of prescription medications in the United States has been going on for years, but few people are aware of just how big the problem really is. According to a New York Times article published on January 6, 2017 entitled “Inside a Killer Drug Epidemic: A Look at America’s Opioid Crisis”, opioid addiction is America’s 50-state drug epidemic. Public health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history, killing more than 33,000 people in 2015.

Back pain is one of the most common reasons why patients seek medical care, with an estimated 50 percent or more of people experiencing significant back pain in their lifetime. According to an article in the British Medical Journal more than half of regular opioid users report back pain. Furthermore, opioids do not seem to expedite return to work in injured workers or improve functional outcomes of acute back pain in primary care. Use of opioids to manage chronic pain is also associated with gastrointestinal and kidney problems as well as the risk of dependency.

Chiropractic care uses natural treatment methods to help reduce pain. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association states spinal manipulation modestly improves pain and function in acute low back pain with statistically significant benefit in both pain and function. In some cases, patients receiving chiropractic care and medical management with prescription drugs do extremely well. Often these patients can taper off opioids or succeed on a lower dose. This requires co-management of chronic pain as a collaboration between mainstream medicine and chiropractic. It will take greater awareness before this approach can fully emerge as the “go to” method of treating pain.

The wonderful thing about chiropractic care is that there are no drug interactions or side effects and it is extremely safe. Chiropractors not only work on the spine but they also can manage other areas of pain such as knee, hip, shoulder and wrist pain to name a few. The core philosophy of chiropractic is to look at the entire picture of why certain areas in the body are dysfunctional and causing pain to emerge. Chiropractors work to make the entire body function at its best, not only the area of pain, and ensure there are no underlying problems that may be further contributing to the painful area. Patients usually feel better in a short period of time and can often get back to their lives without living in constant pain.

Dr. Richard Picard has been in practice for more than 25 years and has a holistic view in the management of chronic pain conditions. He utilizes a natural approach to treating pain consisting of gentle musculoskeletal body work, natural medicine and nutrition. There is never any “cracking” or “popping” associated with his treatments and clients receive a comfortable and enjoyable experience. His practice is located at 342 Atwood Ave., Cranston. For more information, call 401-942-6967 or visit DrRichardPicard.com. See ad in the Community Resource Guide.