Back pain medical expert Dr. Sean Wheeler advocates the urgent need for change in how those who suffer from chronic back pain are treated and cared for within the healthcare industry, including by medical insurance companies involved in payment approvals for medical treatment.
According to Dr. Wheeler, decreasing long-term reliance on pain medication as a treatment option is needed, as the repeated use of these medications does not address the systemic cause of chronic low back pain.
Now comes word of a new study supporting decreased use of opioids for relief from low back pain, in this report from today’s New York Times:
“People with chronic low back pain are sometimes prescribed opioids for pain relief, but a review of studies has found opioids generally ineffective.
The analysis, in JAMA Internal Medicine, pooled data from 20 high-quality randomized controlled trials that included 7,295 participants. The studies tested various narcotics…
The drugs relieved pain slightly, but the effects were not clinically significant, and the medicines did little to improve disability…
Measured on a 100-point scale, the magnitude of relief did not reach the 20-point level the researchers defined as clinically effective, little different from NSAIDs [i.e., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs] like aspirin.”
As characterized in the study:
“For people with chronic low back pain who tolerate the medicine, opioid analgesics provide modest short-term pain relief but the effect is not likely to be clinically important within guideline recommended doses.”
Beyond today’s news of opioid ineffectiveness, Dr. Wheeler commented:
“Fund researching on alternative effective pain management for back pain patients is a pressing need, in a field that has not seen a significant medical advance in four decades.
Research into bracing muscle® endurance as the cause — and source of relief — of chronic low back pain is overdue.
It is time for our healthcare profession, including health insurors, to effectively address what has become the world’s most disabling condition, that of chronic back pain.”
Read more about this latest research on opioid effectiveness in JAMA Internal Medicine, and in The New York Times.