Concept: Chronic pain
Because long-term opioid use often begins with treatment of acute pain (1), in March 2016, the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain included recommendations for the duration of opioid therapy for acute pain and the type of opioid to select when therapy is initiated (2). However, data quantifying the transition from acute to chronic opioid use are lacking. Patient records from the IMS Lifelink+ database were analyzed to characterize the first episode of opioid use among commercially insured, opioid-naïve, cancer-free adults and quantify the increase in probability of long-term use of opioids with each additional day supplied, day of therapy, or incremental increase in cumulative dose. The largest increments in probability of continued use were observed after the fifth and thirty-first days on therapy; the second prescription; 700 morphine milligram equivalents cumulative dose; and first prescriptions with 10- and 30-day supplies. By providing quantitative evidence on risk for long-term use based on initial prescribing characteristics, these findings might inform opioid prescribing practices.
To study the relation between rainfall and outpatient visits for joint or back pain in a large patient population.
The ActiPatch(®) (BioElectronics Corporation, MD, USA) pulsed shortwave therapy device has been shown to be clinically effective in three double-blind randomized controlled pain studies. However, the effectiveness of this device in a broader population of chronic musculoskeletal pain sufferers, affected by a variety of etiologies in different regions of the body, has not been studied.
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) and chronic neck pain (CNP) have become a serious medical and socioeconomic problem in recent decades. Patients suffering from chronic pain seem to have a higher prevalence of sleep disorders.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a promising tool for cognitive enhancement and neurorehabilitation in clinical disorders in both cognitive and clinical domains (e.g., chronic pain, tinnitus). Here we suggest the potential role of tDCS in modulating cortical excitation/inhibition (E/I) balance and thereby inducing improvements. We suggest that part of the mechanism of action of tDCS can be explained by non-invasive modulations of the E/I balance.
Mechanisms of chronic pain remain poorly understood. We tracked brain properties in subacute back pain patients longitudinally for 3 years as they either recovered from or transitioned to chronic pain. Whole-brain comparisons indicated corticolimbic, but not pain-related circuitry, white matter connections predisposed patients to chronic pain. Intra-corticolimbic white matter connectivity analysis identified three segregated communities: dorsal medial prefrontal cortex-amygdala-accumbens, ventral medial prefrontal cortex-amygdala, and orbitofrontal cortex-amygdala-hippocampus. Higher incidence of white matter and functional connections within the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex-amygdala-accumbens circuit, as well as smaller amygdala volume, represented independent risk factors, together accounting for 60% of the variance for pain persistence. Opioid gene polymorphisms and negative mood contributed indirectly through corticolimbic anatomical factors, to risk for chronic pain. Our results imply that persistence of chronic pain is predetermined by corticolimbic neuroanatomical factors.
Morphine and other opioids are widely used to manage moderate to severe acute pain syndromes, such as pain associated with trauma or postoperative pain, and they have been used to manage chronic pain, even chronic nonmalignant pain. However, recent years have seen a renewed recognition of the potential for overuse, misuse, and abuse of opioids. Therefore, prescribing opioids is challenging for healthcare providers in that clinical effectiveness must be balanced against negative outcomes-with the possibility that neither are achieved perfectly. The current discourse about the dual ‘epidemics’ of under-treatment of legitimate pain and the over-prescription of opioids is clouded by inadequate or inaccurate understanding of opioid drugs and the endogenous pain pathways with which they interact. An understanding of the basic pharmacology of opioids helps inform the clinician and other stakeholders about these simultaneously under- and over-used agents.
Current levels and dangers of opioid use in the U.S. warrant the investigation of harm-reducing treatment alternatives.
Degenerative changes are commonly found in spine imaging but often occur in pain-free individuals as well as those with back pain. We sought to estimate the prevalence, by age, of common degenerative spine conditions by performing a systematic review studying the prevalence of spine degeneration on imaging in asymptomatic individuals.
The epidemic of opioid abuse is related in part to incomplete understanding of pain-relief management, opioid tolerance, and opioid addiction. Among the prevention strategies are more widespread sharing of data about opioid neuropharmacology and opioid-use patterns.