MEGAN THIELKING @meggophone APRIL 4, 2017
Seizing on the opioid epidemic as a chance to expand their reach, naturopaths and chiropractors are aggressively lobbying Congress and state governments to elevate the role of alternative therapies in treating chronic pain. They’ve scored several victories in recent months, and hope the Trump administration will give them a further boost.
Their most powerful argument: We don’t prescribe addictive pain pills.
Shunning pharmaceuticals, they treat pain with everything from acupuncture to massage to castor oil ointments. They offer herbal supplements and homeopathic pills.
There’s little rigorous scientific research to back up such treatments. Yet patients often say they feel relief. And providers say their alternative approaches are vitally needed at a time when more than 30,000 people a year die of opioid overdose in the US alone — and half of those deaths involve a prescription painkiller, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.