Publication date: Aug 13, 2019
As doctors who aim to relieve the pain of our patients, we face a collective dilemma: How can we manage our patients’ pain while still doing our part to fight the opioid crisis?
As we grapple with this question, it’s important to understand that the opioid crisis has come about in response to a number of different but interrelated factors, specifically(2): • Doctors over-prescribing opioids for pain management • Misinformation about the addictiveness of prescription opioids • Hospitals, doctors and health systems focusing on patient-reported pain control as a primary indicator of success • A complicated and skewed reimbursement system • The increasing availability of illegal opioids like heroin Given the complex nature of the opioid crisis, it’s no surprise that there is no simple solution.
A further complicating consequence of the cutback was that people living with acute or chronic pain – who relied on opioids to function normally – had a harder time getting the prescriptions they needed.
Another measure took the form of legislation that limited opioid prescriptions for acute – but not chronic – pain.
Given that the National Institutes of Health reports that 25. 3 million adults experienced pain every day over the previous 3 months and nearly 40 million adults report severe levels of pain, it’s clear that drastically limiting opioid prescriptions poses a significant problem for many Americans.
Though these pain relief methods are not as well-known among patients (and some doctors) as opioids, they can be incredibly effective – and don’t come with the often unpleasant side effects of opioids.
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