Massage therapy is the natural choice for pain relief—an understatement, as prescription pain medication abuse has now reached “epidemic” proportions.

That was asserted this week by two top U.S. health agencies.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration state that prescription drug abuse is an epidemic,” Mike Wahl, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., F.A.C.M.T., medical director of the Illinois Poison Center, said. “Prescription painkillers, specifically, are responsible for the bulk of this public health crisis.

Massage therapy has been found to reduce headache pain, back pain, and pain in cancer and general hospital patients, in numerous, unrelated studies.

Painkillers (analgesics) were the number one substance most frequently involved in all human exposure cases reported to poison center in 2011. In addition, analgesic (painkiller) exposures as a class increased more rapidly than any other substance over the past 11 years, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers‘ National Poison Data System.

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