Back Pain Treatment – A Dormant Public Health Issue

Back Pain Treatment – A Dormant Public Health Issue

Lower back pain represents one of the most debilitating health problems faced by Americans, especially those who have reached the age of 40. People who suffer from lower back pain often seek the help of a medical professional, but it appears doctors have not done a good job of treating the common malady.

The Infectiveness and Dangers of Narcotic Painkillers
People who suffer from lower back pain require effective back pain treatment. Yet evidence mounts that physicians turn to costly back scans, narcotic prescription drugs, and other treatments that not only do not mitigate back pain, but in some cases, the treatments makes the lower back pain much worse.

The evidence derives from several studies, including one performed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Researchers studied the results of back pain treatment on patients from 1999 to 2010. The study concluded that doctors have become increasingly negligent in diagnosing and treating lower back pain. Physicians have turned away from prescribing NASID pain relievers and instead, they rely on addictive opioids such as OxyContin. Over the counter painkiller prescriptions have fallen from 37 to 25 percent of all prescriptions ordered by physicians who treat lower back pain.

Negative Consequences
An article published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal criticized the growing number of physicians who rely on powerful narcotics as magical panaceas for back pain treatment. The primary danger of prescribing narcotic painkillers is the potential for patient drug abuse. Research has shown that over 40 percent of patients prescribed opioids abuse the drugs, along with illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines. In 2008 alone, over 15,000 Americans died from opioids abuse.

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