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Chiropractic care alternative to managing pain with medication

Prescription pills or surgery may seem like the only solution for patients living with pain. Two local chiropractors are taking a different route.
Updated: May. 5, 2022 at 10:45 PM EDT
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SAGINAW TWP., Mich. (WNEM) - About 50 million Americans are living with pain, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As we endure the ongoing opioid crisis, many are turning to pain relief alternatives that don’t include taking painkiller pills.

Prescription pills or surgery may seem like the only solution for patients living with pain. Two local chiropractors are taking a different route to relieve pain. At Massa Chiropractic in Saginaw Township, getting rid of long-lasting agony for good is the goal.

“So, Brittany and I have both been chiropractors for about three-and-a-half years,” Dr. Aaron Massa said.

Aaron is a third-generation chiropractor working alongside his wife, Brittany, his dad, Thomas, in the building his grandpa built in 1959.

“Anyone in the general population looking for pain relief or a pain alternative,” Dr. Brittany Massa added.

Walking in, you can get a quick fix, or work overtime to address long-term pain. For some of their clients, trips to the chiropractor run deep.

“We have veterans, we have people in recovery, in and out of rehab houses, we’ve also had people who have to get surgery,” Brittany said. “Some of these people, especially if they’re coming out of addiction, they struggling with things like getting out of bed in the morning, putting on socks and shoes because they are in so much pain. Everyone struggles with it.”

Their clients look to ease pain without giving in to the typical path to relieve it -- opioids.

“They are trying to avoid taking pain medication because they may have had addiction issues in the past and they really want to avoid taking using them again,” Brittany explained.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2019 reported about 10-million people older than 12-years-old misused opioids.

“Anytime you’re taking an opioid or non-opioid pain medication, pain reliever, all you are doing there is alleviating symptoms and covering them up short-term,” Aaron Massa mentioned.

It’s like a small band-aid on an open wound. More needs to be done to fix it.

“It’s easy to get into using them and keep using them too, and a lot of times when their prescription does expire, some of them are left in pain still,” Brittany Massa added.

Aaron and Brittany Massa invited TV5′s Blake Keller to their office to see what a treatment plan might look like for their clients.

“You’ve been using medication, you tried other things, it’s not working. We generally would set up a treatment plan, we’re going to adjust them, do some soft tissue work,” said Aaron Massa, describing how they approach a new client.

After a massage, an adjustment, and some stretching exercises, there is instant relief. For the Massas’ patients, they see the change and transformation right before their eyes.

“Some people, I mean, will cry because they’re so upset and hurting so much and they’re missing out on so many things in their day-to-day life,” Brittany Massa said. “So, it’s nice to see the transition after a few times of them coming in, seeing them smiling, walking a bit better, telling you about something they did over the weekend that they would’ve never done before.”

They are not only seeing these transformations and results in their office. A 2020 study from the American Academy of Pain Medicine said patients with pain in their spine, who saw a chiropractor, had half the risk of filling an opioid prescription.

“We’re just trying to give people the tools to take care of themselves,” Aaron Massa said. “That’s the reward at the end of the day and that’s the big payoff is getting people back into doing what they love and making them feel good, and like they can do the things they enjoy doing again.”

The Massas said once you go, you don’t necessarily have to keep going for the rest of your life. Whenever you have pain, you can address it at any time.