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Integrated Healthcare Needed to Reduce Painkiller Use

11th December 2017

NZ Chiropractors’ Association Says Integrated Healthcare is Solution to Reducing Painkiller Consumption

Chiropractic care could be a cost-effective solution to the overuse of painkillers and better management of chronic pain if there was better integration of primary healthcare services, says the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA).

Chiropractor and NZCA spokesperson Dr Cassandra Fairest explains: ‘Primary health care professionals need to improve communication with each other. A recently published study of the use of chiropractic in the USA[1] found a substantial proportion of US adults used chiropractic services along with their regular medical care over the past 12 months, and subsequently reported associated positive outcomes for overall well-being and/or specific health problems. New Zealand’s chiropractors are taking the lead to inform, educate and inspire people to prevent pain and disability by engaging in physical activity. However, research shows that in too many instances patient care is not optimised because of inadequate communications between the health care practitioners[2].’

A study published last year concluded communication barriers may be viewed as a major contributing factor to the ongoing chronic pain management/chronic painkiller and opioid overuse problem2.

Dr Fairest adds: `Chiropractic care can play a major role in the management of chronic pain for many patients. However, often patients may be receiving care from more than one primary health care professional. For example, the family chiropractor may not know what the GP is advising, or vice versa. Because of this lack of understanding between professions and their communication, the quality of care may be deficient which could contribute to poorer health outcomes for New Zealanders.’

She points out: `We were really pleased to see our medical colleagues are now recommending people become more active to reduce inflammation and associated diseases. This is something chiropractors have been strongly advocating for many years.’

Further to this, a major international study published in the Lancet[3] demonstrated that simply increasing physical activity is a widely applicable, low cost global strategy that could reduce deaths and cardiovascular disease in middle age.

The NZCA has developed a Just Start Walking programme to put a spring in your step. The NZCA also recommends getting a spinal check-up with your family chiropractor prior to starting any new exercise regime. An NZCA chiropractor will evaluate your spine and nervous system for dysfunction and analyse your posture for imbalances, which may be negatively impacting upon your movement and overall health.

Some Tips on How to Get Started
Visit your local NZCA chiropractor for a spinal health check up
Commit to daily 30 minute walking programme
Start slowly – set achievable targets to prevent injury and to motivate you
Find a friend or work colleague to walk with
Wear appropriate footwear which is designed for walking
Warm up with a few gentle stretching exercises at the start and end of your walk
Drink plenty of water and have regular breaks and healthy snacks
Mix it up – walking different routes, at different speeds with different inclines
Enjoy your walking and the benefits it can bring!



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