For some time now I have been practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine. Many times I wondered what the greatest impact I could possibly make as a Licensed Acupuncturist in the State of Maine. Katie Thomas’ article in The New York Times, Patients Prescribed Narcotic Painkillers Use More of Them for Longer, Study Finds, brought that need to a crisp reality. Maine was #1 in the country for Opiate pain medication prescribing three years ago and Ms. Thomas’ article gave stunning facts of what those prescriptions make possible in the lives of Mainers. In The Times article, it is said that nearly half of the people who used their pain med prescription for thirty days are still using their meds three years later. Conversely, my fifteen years of experience with reducing pain, few see me in terms of years and acupuncture is not habit forming. Prescription med overdose is the leading accidental cause of death with 16,000 deaths nationwide in 2012. In chronic situations, one third of those prescribed pain meds had concurrent prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs & muscle relaxants. If susceptible, addiction seems likely for those just trying to get beyond their injury or surgery. Other tools to reduce pain medicine prescriptions must be used.
America’s National Institute for Health support the use of acupuncture for the relief of pain. At Jade Integrated Health we ask doctors directly if there is a way to integrate the use of acupuncture to reduce pain and minimize the use of potentially addictive meds. Much of the time the visits are from folks in the chronic pain med use category and have additional sleep problems, anxiety or depression. All those additional symptoms are treatable with acupuncture, often times providing an opportunity to reduce or eliminate prescriptions for those additional imbalances.
Our dream here at Jade is providing Physicians a choice for their patients chronic or acute pain. We offer a well balance array of services provided by expert level clinicians. Pain will always be a part of living and currently medications are the most common solution used. When offered that solution please consider potential consequence for addiction as mentioned above. Ask your Medical Provider for non-addictive choices like Acupuncture, Yoga, Massage and Meditation.