We’re often told that the best medications for long-term pain are opiates but a recent study, conducted by Krebs et al seems to show otherwise.
What Kind Of Pain Are We Talking About?
Firstly, it’s important to note that they didn’t look at all forms of chronic pain but rather two specific conditions. They looked at moderate-severe back pain and osteoarthritic pain in knees and hips.
Therefore, their conclusion may not be applicable to all forms of chronic pain.
What Did They Find Out?
They took 240 patients and monitored them in two groups in a randomized clinical trial. So, half would receive an opioid-based pain treatment regime and the other half a non-opioid based one.
What they determined was that after 1 year had passed. The opioid group did not appear to be dealing with pain or experiencing less pain than those in the non-opioid group.
In short, they could not demonstrate any benefit of opioid treatments in long-term pain treatment.
But I Feel A Benefit From This Treatment!
It’s important to remember that trials like this seek an average. If you are using opioids for pain management, as long as they are prescribed by a physician, that is fine. If you feel a benefit from them, that’s even better!
What This Really Means
All this study really shows is that more research needs to be done on the topic. It’s possible that mistakes were made or the study was flawed. It’s a very small trial in the scheme of things.
However, it does mean that if you are struggling to find opioids that do help with living with pain, you might want to spread out a bit and examine more options.