“Why do you do this?“
In our office we provide Opioid Addiction Treatment Services, auto injury treatment, pain management, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, and acupuncture. A question I am being asked more often is: “Why do you do this?”. The question is often asked in regard to acupuncture. The questions has never been asked of me in regard to prescribing medicines or addiction treatment. It’s odd when one considers that, acupuncture has been used for thousands of years before prescription medicines or treatment for addiction were present.
Why opiates with their higher side effect profile and complication rates are chosen over acupuncture is a marketing and monetary issue that benefits the pharmaceutical industry more so than the individual patient. As I often say; “Nobody has overdosed from acupuncture”.
My position is that, opiates should be used as a last resort not a primary or knee jerk reaction to get a patient out of the office or a quick fix for their pain. Acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic ALL have the benefit of addressing the underlying issue without the risk of medication side effects (to include an overdose).
So, “why do I do this?” Simply, to safely make patients “pain free without pillsTM”. How I got started is: the real question. After treating auto injury patients primarily with prescription medications along side chiropractors for a number of years, I noticed a few things. One, I was only masking pain during chiropractic treatment. Two, the medical profession as a whole isn’t set up to treat pain other than masking it with pills. Many times insurance companies will deny physical therapy and sometimes deny surgery to patients in need. There are also times when these interventions fail. Some times, patients are limited to the number of visits that an insurance company will pay for. After looking at the situation, I began looking for a way to contribute to bringing pain relief to patients in an effective and economical way.
I have been practicing Chinese martial arts since 2007. This led me to look at acupuncture as a modality to treat patients. After researching the additional training required, I decided to obtain the training and add acupuncture as a treatment modality in my office.
My staff and I are happy to introduce acupuncture to our personal injury addiction medicine, and pain management patients. It’s not always without obstacles. We have had attorneys and chiropractors ask us NOT to perform acupuncture. Yet, these same attorneys and chiropractors have never asked us NOT to prescribe opiates! As we have been providing Addiction Treatment And Recovery Services in Marietta, Georgia for a number of years we see then potential harm that opiates cause. The aforementioned attorneys and chiropractors have monetary interests, as they want “conventional treatment to add to the value of the case”. We favor putting the patients health as the primary concern. The medical community as a whole will prescribe opiates BEFORE acupuncture, physical therapy or chiropractic. Unfortunately, the number of physicians prescribing opiates far out numbers the referrals made for opiate addiction treatment. The result is our current opiate epidemic.
Our goal is to make patients “pain free without pillsTM”. Currently, we offer acupuncture as well as Low THC oil registration (for qualified patients) to receive pain and decrease opiate use. Our hope is that chiropractors, medical doctors, lawmakers and insurance companies will see the reasoning in our approach and make our services more accessible. In the mean time, we offer a number of reasonably priced cash pay packages for people whose insurance will not cover their treatment. Remember, our first acupuncture treatment and consultation is FREE! We also have veterans’ discounts!
The story of Peter
The story of Peter. Peter had the unfortunate circumstance of being injured an automobile accident in Georgia. He was uninsured at the time of his accident. His lawyer was able to settle Peter’s case but after the lawyer took 40% of the gross personal injury settlement and negotiated lower fees for Peter’s doctors, the attorney had pocketed more money than Peter! Matters were made worse when, Peter continued to have chronic pain from his injuries. Peter was still uninsured and when he tried to obtain insurance, his monthly premium quotes were in the excess of $500a month. A cash visit to a Pain Management Doctor was less than $300 and would at least give him pain relief.
During his Pain Management Therapy, Peter wasn’t able to afford injections such as epidurals, he wasn’t offered acupuncture and he had already had chiropractic during his original treatment with his auto accident. He stated:“I want to try something else. The chiropractor helped but I am still in pain.”Peter had a several visits with a physical therapist but became discouraged and angry saying “all they do is charge me to teach me exercises that I can do at home!” He had no primary care doctor due to lack of insurance. The Pain Management Specialist only offered Peter opiate pain pills since Peter couldn’t afford interventional treatments and the pain doctor didn’t perform acupuncture.
Peter was able to continue to work construction and handyman jobs due to the relief provided by the pain pills. However, Peter became more physically dependent on the pain pills. After a while, Peter’s doctor became uncomfortable prescribing Peter higher doses of his medication. Peter then turned to marijuana and CBD oil to make up for the pain relief that the pills no longer provided. As a result, Peter tested positive for a urine drug screen and was discharged by his Pain Management Doctor.
Peter was still unable to get insurance due to the high premiums and out right denials caused by his “preexisting condition” from his auto accident. After being discharged from his pain doctor’s office, Peter tried to enter another pain clinic. He was told things like “it’s a 4- 6 week wait to get in after we review your records” and “we only accept new pain patients by referral from other doctors”. Peter was still having pain and needed to work. He started obtaining pills on the street. He experimented with other forms of opiates and even tried Heroin. Peter’s drug used became more than a dependence he had crossed over into the realm of addiction. He was missing work to seek out drugs, resorting to selling drugs, stealing and other activities he could engage in to get the money to fuel his habit. Eventually, Peter lost his job, was homeless and had alienated his family due to his addiction. He finally hit rock bottom and overdosed on Fentanyl which was manufactured on the street to look like the Oxycodone he had been used to taking.
While In the hospital, Peter was diagnosed with Hepatitis (apparently from his previous intravenous drug use). Upon discharge he was referred to Methadone treatment. Peter asked about Methadone alternatives but was told by his doctor there were none. Peter had heard about and occasionally used Suboxone during his time “on the streets”. Peter remembered Suboxone decreasing his cravings and making him feel“normal” without feeling groggy and short of breath like he did with methadone. Peter looked around and inquired about Opioid Treatment Centers and finally found a Suboxone Treatment Center where he could pay cash at a reasonable price. The Addiction Treatment in Georgia center was able to change Peter from methadone to Suboxone. Peter was also introduced to acupuncture to treat his chronic pain from the auto accident injuries. Peter was shocked at how much better he felt after a course of 10 acupuncture treatments. Peter said, “ I wish I had known about these needles before I took all those pills!”
As Peter continued his Suboxone and Addiction Treatment in Georgia, he was eventually able to find work again. He started and continued counseling at a church nearby (as he couldn’t afford a professional counselor without insurance). Peter learned to cope with life’s ups and downs. He learned coping skills and how to avoid triggers. He even learned to tolerate the judgmental look he received from the pharmacist when he filled his Suboxone prescription. He found it odd and often chuckled to himself at the irony.Peter remembered it was the same look he received when he would get his Oxycodone prescription filled in the past.
Eventually, Peter was old enough to obtain Medicare. He had lost homes, jobs family and had permanent liver damage. When he had his first Medicare exam he was offered opiates for his chronic pain. Peter refused stating he would “pay out of pocket” for acupuncture (which isn’t covered by Medicare). Peter’s Medicare doctor was always surprised by Peter’s insistence that acupuncture was controlling his pain. Despite Peter stating his pain was well controlled, Peters’ doctor continued to offer opiates. One day Peter finally became annoyed and asked: “Pills? Is that all you have? You do know that I have liver damage?, Right? Why do you keep trying to get me to take pills? Don’t you realize that the acupuncture needles have saved me from so much pain? If I had known about those needles I would have probably never taken the pills that got me into so much trouble!! WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DON”T UNDERSTAND ABOUT THAT!!!??
Peter’s doctor said,“well we don’t have studies or insurance approval stating that acupuncture really works.” Peter became more upset and said” DO YOU THINK I NEED A STUDY TO TELL ME THAT MY PAIN IS BETTER? ACUPUNCTURE HAS BEEN AROUND FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS AND YOU ARE TALKING TO ME ABOUT STUDIES?? REALLY? REALLY? DO YOU EVEN KINOW ANYTHING ABOUT ACUPUNCTURE? Peter’s doctor then said, No I have not studied acupuncture. I am a medical doctor. Peter then said, acupuncture has got me “Pain Free without Pills”TM you doctors all have something to learn!
- Addiction Treatment
- Auto Accident
- Auto Injury Care
- Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
- Brain Injuries
- Broken Fractured Ribs
- Facet Syndrome
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Personal Injury Care
- Out Patient Treatment
- Opioid Dependence
- Stem Cell/Regenerative Medicine
- Whiplash Treatment
- Work Place Injury