There’s a study out that says chronic back pain patients who suffer from psychiatric disorders like depression or anxiety are significantly more like to abuse their opioid medication. The study is published in Anesthesiology, the official journal of the American Society of Anesthesiology.
Scientists discovered that patients suffering from a lot of depression or anxiety experienced increase side effects, 50% less improve for back and 75% more opioid abuse compared to patients who didn’t report depression or anxiety.
50 million Americans (including this reporter) suffer from chronic lower back pain.
“High levels of depression and anxiety are common in patients with chronic lower back pain,” said Ajay Wasan, M.D., study author and professor of anesthesiology and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Learning that we are able to better predict treatment success or failure by identifying patients with these conditions is significant.”
The research sample was 55 patients were identified as having significant depression and anxiety.
“It’s important for physicians to identify psychiatric disorders prior to deciding whether to prescribe opioids for chronic back pain as well as treat these conditions as part of a multimodal treatment plan,” said Wasan.
“Rather than refusing to prescribe opioids, we suggest that these conditions be treated early and preferably before lower back pain becomes chronic. For those prescribed opioids, successful treatment of underlying psychiatric disorders may improve pain relief and reduce the chance of opioid abuse in these patients.”
The researchers noted that further testing is needed to confirm whether treating psychiatric disorders early in the course of lower back pain can improve pain and function without the use of opioids or other treatments.
Back pain is one of the leading reasons people miss work and a leading cause of disability worldwide.
The Cleveland Clinic posted four things you ought to know about back pain recently. Here’s what they said.
Do you suffer from chronic lower back pain?
What remedies have you found work to address the pain?
What about osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture?