Inefficacy of opioids in treating back pain

Inefficacy of opioids in treating back pain

Prescription medications are widely recommended to patients complaining of chronic pain. Some of the pain relievers recommended are potent enough to create dependence or addiction. Many people on prescription painkillers do not complete the treatment or hesitate to opt for it thinking it may not be effective in providing them relief from their suffering or may produce side effects. Still, America is the leading consumer of opioids consuming 80 percent of the global opioid supply. While agencies at the federal level are concerned about the widespread use of opioids, scientists are busy finding alternative ways of treating pain that can reduce prescription of painkillers.

A group of researchers in their survey carried out to analyze the effects of opioids for necessary pain relief revealed that many patients reported getting only limited relief and were worried about its addictive effects. The scientists, for research purposes, observed more than 2,000 people afflicted with low back pain. Among half of the total number of participants taking opioids, only 13 percent informed about getting complete relief from pain. Roughly 44 percent said that the drugs to some extent helped in alleviating pain, 31 percent described the opioids to be moderately successful while 12 percent found opioids to be ineffective.

Among 75 percent of the respondents, 65 percent of them informed of having had side effects as constipation, 37 percent complained of feeling sleepy, 32 percent were affected by cognitive and memory problems while 29 percent complained of addiction. Elaborating on the observations made, lead author, Dr. Asokumar Buvanendran, director of orthopedic anesthesia at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and vice chair of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Committee on Pain Medicine, said, “Patients are increasingly aware that opioids are problematic, but don’t know there are alternative treatment options.”

Patients hesitate to use opioids owing to fear of stigma

Another concern among the patients was the fear of stigma stemming from persistent opioid use. 41 percent felt that they were being judged for use of the drugs. Though 68 percent of the participants were consuming antidepressants, only 19 percent felt the fear of backlash due to antidepressants use.

Elucidating the observations made by the researchers at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) in Chicago between Oct. 22, 2016 and Oct. 26, 2016, Buvanendran added, “While some patients may benefit from opioids for severe pain for a few days after an injury, physicians need to wean their patients off them and use multi-modal therapies instead.”

According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, roughly 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Looking at the rising cases of mental and physical health problems among Americans and an upsurge in the number of deaths due to opioid misuse, the authors of the study suggested alternative therapies for pain management. These may include physical therapy, bracing, nerve blocks, nerve ablation methods or use of implantable devices. Also, techniques such as use of anti-inflammatory medicines and other therapeutic interventions of biofeedback and massage can also help manage emotions stemming from pain. The fact that prolonged pain makes life debilitating highlights the need to take into consideration all available methods to treat pain and not just follow a single and common course of treatment.

Opioid addiction can be treated

Opioid addiction problems stemming from pain treatment are responsible for most overdose related deaths in America. Figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported about record levels of deaths owing to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2015. Elaborating on the alarming state of opioid overdose, Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC director said, “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders.”

If you are suffering from the problem of prescription drug abuse, connect with the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline of California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 to find out how drug rehabs in California help people gain control of their lives or chat online to know about the finest drug treatment centers in California.