opioid epidemic

The Opioid Epidemic: How Massage Therapy Can Stop The Pill Pop

June 6, 2016

What Are Opioids, And How Are They Causing Such Devastation?


Opioids are medications that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus.


Medications that fall within this class include hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, and related drugs.


So, how has opioid use amounted to epidemic-like proportions?


In an article entitled “Can Massage Help Combat the Opioid Epidemic” that was recently published by Massage Mag, the author states:


“In 2014, more than 28,000 Americans overdosed on some type of opioid, a figure representing more than 60 percent of all drug overdose deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)—and the rate of death due to opioid overdose increased by 14 percent from 2013 to 2014, the most recent year for which statistics are available.”


Combatting the Opioid Epidemic: Massage Therapy Leaders' Actions


In the wake of this tidal wave of opioids that are being misused and overused as a form of pain management has got leaders in the massage therapy industry up in arms.


In an article entitled “Massage Therapy for Pain—Call to Action”, authors, which consist of MTF President Jerrilyn Cambron, D.C., Ph.D., and former MTF President Ruth Werner, B.C.T.M.B. write:


“It is our incomplete understanding of opioids and their appropriate role in pain management, as well as a health care workforce unprepared by their training to manage pain effectively, that often results in the exclusion of all other options, and has led our patients and us into this predicament,” they write, adding, “Massage therapy is the evidence-based new thinking that will, with other integrative, non-pharmacologic approaches, help pain medicine overcome the current opioid-focused old thinking that has devastated so many lives.”