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For many, opioid addiction starts with chronic pain

Opioid addiction is an increasingly widespread problem in Aiken.

For many people, opioid addiction doesn't start with a desire to do drugs. A lot of cases of opioid addiction begin in the ER, where people are prescribed opioids after sustaining serious injury or while seeking relief from chronic pain.

To combat this issue, there are business in Aiken, like chiropractors and massage therapists, that are using their skill sets to heal or relieve chronic pain.

Doctor Jerry Odom, a chiropractor with The Joint, said that about 30 percent of Americans live with some sort of chronic pain - more than the amount that live with diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.

"Most people, when they're in pain, they go to the ER or their primary care provider," said Odom. "Most often they get prescription opioids or muscle reactors ... We adjust the structural disfunction in the body, allowing it to heal itself, which more often than not erases the need for opioids all together."

By treating the root of chronic pain issues, Odom and other chiropractors in the CSRA are hoping to eliminate the need for prescription opioids, thereby reducing the risk of addiction for many.

"Pain relievers only relieve the symptom, they don't treat the cause of the pain," Odom said. "We treat the cause."

According to a study done by the Southern California University of Health Sciences, people receiving chiropractic care were 55 percent less likely to fill an opioid prescription than those not receiving chiropractic care.

Odom has seen the results of chiropractic care on chronic pain in Aiken.

"I just had a patient come in yesterday ... She's had chronic neck pain and low back pain for years, and has been taking several different types of pain relievers," Odom said. "She reported to me yesterday that she hadn't taken anything in eight days."

Chiropractic care isn't exclusive to just treating back pain. Odom said that people most often see him for shoulder pain, and that chiropractic care extends to "any joint in the body," which not everyone realizes.

Odom, an Aiken native, is a chiropractor with The Joint on East Gate Drive.

Massage therapists can also heal chronic pain. John Gerideau of Gerideau's Massage & Bodywork on 151 Waterloo Street, also has a focus of healing chronic pain with his work.

There are a number of massage therapy and chiropractic practices in Aiken, some of which do not require health insurance for an appointment, like the Joint. Find one near you and call ahead to learn about booking an appointment.


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