CDC Reports National Epidemic: Prescription Painkillers Cause More Deaths Than Illegal Drugs; Alternatives Should Be Tried First, Says Health Advocate Paul Kasper, Sr. of Alivio Corporation

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription painkillers cause more accidental drug overdose deaths in the United States than cocaine and heroin combined. The CDC found in their recent study "Increasing Deaths From Opioid Analgesics In The United States" that between 1999 and 2002 deaths from prescription painkillers increased 91.2% while overdose deaths attributed to heroin increased by 12.4% and cocaine by 22.8%. "These numbers are alarming and, in many cases, avoidable," says Paul Kasper, Sr., President of Alivio Corporation, a manufacturer and provider of electrical stimulators for pain control.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription painkillers cause more accidental drug overdose deaths in the United States than cocaine and heroin combined. The CDC found in their recent study Increasing Deaths From Opioid Analgesics In The United States that between 1999 and 2002 deaths from prescription painkillers increased 91.2% while overdose deaths attributed to heroin increased by 12.4% and cocaine by 22.8%.

"These numbers are alarming and, in many cases, avoidable," says Paul Kasper, Sr., President of Alivio Corporation, a manufacturer and provider of electrical stimulators for pain control. "It's true that prescription drugs help some pain sufferers feel better, but at what cost? There's a dark side to taking prescription drugs for pain that people don't talk about, from debilitating side effects like 'cloudy thinking' and constipation to the grim-faced realities of addiction, black market drug trafficking, and, as the CDC study suggests, overdose deaths. Because the risk is so significant, prescription drugs should be a last resort--not the first."

Kasper recommends a "ladder of treatment" for pain control that begins with easy steps like taking aspirin and ends with prescription drugs and surgery as a last resort. In many cases, Kasper says, pain sufferers get the results they need without subjecting themselves to the risk of prescription drugs. Kasper cautions to check with your physician before trying any new pain treatment.

Kasper's Six-Step "Ladder of Pain Treatment":

1. Over the counter (OTC) pain relievers. Even OTC medications carry the risk of side effects, but aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen (Aleve) are your best bets, especially for relief of acute aches and pains.

2. Alternative therapies and supplements. Many pain sufferers have found relief with such alternative therapies as acupuncture, yoga, visualization and meditation. Supplements, such as glucosamine and chondrotin for joint pain, and ginger and turmeric for inflammation, are often recommended by alternative health practitioners.

3. Exercise. Exercise to lose weight and reduce stress on joints. Perform stretching and range of motion exercises, especially helpful for back, knee and shoulder pain, to strengthen core muscles that support your spine and joints and increase flexibility.

4. Physical Therapy. If OTC medications, alternative therapies and exercise don't alleviate the problem, your physician may recommend physical therapy. A Physical Therapist (PT) has the resources and expertise to target your specific condition. PTs routinely use clinical electrical stimulators as an important part of treatment plans for chronic and acute pain.

5. Portable, Home-use Electrical Stimulators. Research has shown that the most effective electrical stimulators for pain relief are:

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS). Effective for acute pain.
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulator (NMES). Breaks muscle spasms, increases circulation and strengthens muscles.
  • Interferential current stimulator (IFC). Increases circulation, reduces swelling, breaks muscle spasms and increases endorphins (natural pain killers).

All electrical stimulators block pain messages to the brain. A recent survey of 200 pain patients using the Alivio IF4, a portable interferential stimulator, reported that up to 90% of those patients received significant pain relief. Patient feedback supports that multiple treatments per day, at home, versus treating 2-3 times per week in the clinic, are most effective.

6. Prescription drugs and surgery. In extreme situations, prescription drugs or surgery may be necessary. Drugs such as Oxycodone can be effective, however, side effects can be debilitating and, in some cases, dangerous. Surgery is often ineffective and costly.

"Narcotic pain medications are dangerous. There are other treatment options that work - and pain sufferers should know about them," says Kasper.

According to the CDC, it's a matter of life and death.

About Alivio Corporation

Alivio Corporation, an industry-leader in home electrotherapy products and services, manufactures and distributes the physician-prescribed Alivio IF4 interferential stimulator and the Alivio STX muscle stimulator to relieve acute and chronic pain and promote healing. Alivio also distributes the RxTENS transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, conductive electrode garments, and related supplies. The Alivio IF4 is the only portable, home-use interferential stimulator proved effective in a national peer-reviewed, double blind study. With a highly-trained staff dedicated to providing all-inclusive physician and patient services, Alivio Corporation is the electrotherapy provider more and more doctors and patients are relying on to relieve pain, promote healing, and achieve measurable results. More information can be found at aliviocorp.com or call 800-285-1025.

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Cynthia Kasper
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